After leaving Puerto Rican home, Norwin lineman Guindin adjusts to new life

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Saturday, August 28, 2021 | 11:11 AM


Chased out of Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria in 2017, Sebastian Rosado Guindin has found a home at Norwin.

The brawny, 6-foot-2, 270-pound senior lineman is expected to be an important two-way player this season for the Knights, who are trying to return to contention in WPIAL Class 6A.

The transplanted Guindin likely will play right tackle on offense and defensive tackle or defensive end. He started Friday night’s opener against rival Penn-Trafford and tweaked his ankle but is not expected to miss time.

Also a talented baseball player, he is a left-handed pitcher who can throw in the high 80s and hit for power. He has made a verbal commitment to play baseball at IUP.

Guindin played junior varsity baseball for Norwin last spring but was impressive in limited action.

For now, he is in football mode.

“Sea Bass” is well liked around the locker room, although his teammates can’t dredge up horror stories like Guindin, who could not speak English when he came to Pennsylvania as an eighth-grader.

Also raw as an athlete then, he has learned the language on and off the field.

Now, he is a starting lineman with a mean streak who thinks Norwin is going to surprise some people this season.

“It’s been seamless,” Norwin coach Dave Brozeski said. “He’s a great kid and has a great opportunity to open some eyes. He’s a big kid, but he’s very athletic. He can move.”

Growing up in the municipality of Florida — “Just like the state,” he said — Guindin played baseball and became proficient in the game. But football was a sport he had to admire from afar.

“I always wanted to play,” Guindin said, his Spanish accent sharp. “But we don’t have football down there. I played baseball. I’m not sure which sport I like more yet.”

He never imagined a hurricane would be the driving force behind his football opportunity.

When Maria struck, his family survived, but there was damage.

“I wasn’t really scared,” he said. “But we had no lights and no (cell phone) signal for like a month. And there was not air conditioning. I slept with an open window.”

“We didn’t have a lot (of damage). There was damage in town. I would not have been able to start school for a long time (after the clean-up), so we moved here.”

Why Norwin?

“My sister (Tiffany Guindin) lives here. My mom, dad and brother came with me,” Guindin said. “We have a house here.”

Guindin said he likes the people most at Norwin, a place where he has found a comfort zone.

“The people here are all so nice,” he said.

Of course, there were challenges with his new surroundings, the greatest of which was the spoken word.

“The language. I knew some English. Just some bad words,” Guindin said. “It was rough in eighth and ninth grade the most.”

Guindin has been to Pittsburgh to see the usual sites, including PNC Park.

“I have been to a Pirates game,” he said. “Everyone back home wants to go to a MLB game. I sent my friends pictures (of the park).”

He also has taken a liking to a type of food he could not get in Puerto Rico.

“Pierogies,” he said. “I can eat two plates of them at school.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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