There are many, many places on this earth where Drew Wolitarsky can find peace.
Sometimes it can be on the football field with his Winnipeg Blue Bombers teammates, especially after celebrating a Grey Cup victory. Or it can be virtually anywhere as long as he has his guitar in his hands.
But on Sunday morning – not long after the club had announced a two-year contract extension for the veteran receiver – Wolitarsky was chilling at a Starbucks in Newport, CA when a call came from Winnipeg.
“It’s a beautiful spot, man. I’m good right now. So good,” began Wolitarsky, in a chat with bluebombers.com. “I’m reading ‘Jurassic Park’, the book. Truthfully, I like it better than the movie so far. It’s pretty intense. It’s scary. Michael Crichton (the author), he’s a beast. Smart dude. He was a doctor and said, ‘I want to write.’ He’s amazing.”
Scheduled to become a free agent in February, Wolitarsky admittedly couldn’t have imagined himself in different Canadian Football League colours. Understandably then, when the club made a contract offer he found to his liking, he quickly scratched his signature onto the thing.
“That would have been very odd, wearing a different uniform,” said Wolitarsky. “Heading into free agency… It was like, ‘I don’t know, man. This is my squad.’ I saw Osh (head coach Mike O’Shea) is coming back and I love playing for him. I just feel his style of coaching and his personality is something I vibe with really well.
“Dude, I’m excited. It’s a huge relief. I obviously wanted to be back and then it was just a matter of finding a reasonable deal. Then the team came through really huge. It’s pretty cool.
“I’ve met a lot of people, have a lot of friends there and have some music going on… there’s just a lot of great stuff going on in that city for me. I’ve really grown up there. It would have been really hard to leave that behind.”
A popular teammate and solid receiver – he had 33 catches for 361 yards and four touchdowns in 17 games and added eight more receptions for 118 yards in the playoffs after going 45-650-5 in 2018 – Wolitarsky was born and raised in California, but his mother hails from Montreal and he provided the necessary documentation to qualify as Canadian.
He’s found a chance to spread his creative wings off the field here, too, and has proven to be a gifted writer and an aspiring and passionate musician who has already been in the recording studio.
“I just love making music,” he said. “I love playing with people. It’s a cool language that requires no words. That’s why I like it the most… you’re able to express your inner-most feelings without necessarily having to say a thing. It’s beautiful.”
A gritty receiver, free spirit and deep thinker, Wolitarsky is one of those ‘whatever it takes’ players who can play both wideout and slotback. He’s also got an enviable ability to not only live in the moment, but appreciate every nanosecond of it.
An example that sums up his personality perfectly:
“I was on a hike yesterday with my mom and thinking back to the Grey Cup game,” he said. “I was telling her that it still seems weird that we were there and we won. I had so much adrenaline, so much focus. But I can hardly even remember the day. It was kind of like a dream, but it was so cool we were in that position, in that moment. It only happens once a year, it’s a slim moment of time to be in one place and it’s difficult to get to there. And then we were there and we won… it’s just so cool.
“Thinking back to three years ago and the first time I was in the room and hearing Coach O’Shea talk about winning the Cup, being a team and what it means… it was so cool to see that team progress and grow, myself grow in my role and progress.
“It really is cool journey, dude,” Wolitarsky added. “Football is a journey, especially at this level with people coming and going to the team, the ups and downs of a year and the length of the season. It’s amazing what you can do with literal strangers over six months. It’s incredible.”