Volume 12, Issue 3 - May/June 2010

Avocations
life beyond the auto glass business

Adrenaline Junky
Nick Muratalla, OC Glasscraft

If you talk to Nick Muratalla about his hobbies, you’d be amazed that he has time to sleep—or work, for that matter, as owner of OC Glasscraft in Tustin, Calif. But Muratalla spends his mornings before work at the beach surfing, and his afternoons playing both fast-pitch softball and biking, and, on the weekends, he participates in not only fast-pitch tournaments, but also in extreme downhill mountain-biking.

“I’m an adrenaline junky, and, if it’s fun, I’ll do it,” he says.

“Plus I do auto glass too,” he jokes.

Muratalla, a lifelong athlete, grew up surfing on a regular basis and playing baseball as well. As an adult, he began playing slow-pitch softball and was picked up by a national team. But after a few years of that, he realized the level of competition he desired was missing.

One day, while installing a windshield for a customer on a mobile job, Muratalla caught sight of a fast-pitch trophy and asked the customer about it.

“I went and watched two games, and I asked the coach if I could try out for the team,” he says. “I made the team and I’ve been hooked ever since.”

In Southern California where Muratalla lives, the fast-pitch season lasts most of the year, though the national tournament is held each year in August—when all of the U.S. states are warm enough for the sport. Muratalla’s team is quite competitive and has placed in the top five of the 72 teams across the country. He plays the role of catcher.

In addition to various tournaments throughout the league, the team practices twice a week and plays every Wednesday night during the season.

Though Muratalla describes fast-pitch softball as his passion, several years ago he discovered another pastime—mountain-biking, but not just your average mountain-biking.

“The real thrill is to get on a downhill bike and go as fast you can,” he says.

Though he loves the thrill of the downhill ride, he says it’s also great exercise.

“It really works the lungs, the torso, the arms—you’re using a lot of muscles,” he says.

But it can also be dangerous, he warns.

“I definitely don’t take it lightly,” says Muratalla. “One of the major factors is to ride with a buddy. If you go off a trail, you’re going to need someone to radio or call for help.”

He also wears protective gear—not just a helmet but also elbow guards, shin guards and a kidney guard—in case of a fall.

Muratalla mainly downhill bikes on weekends, but, during the week, he still tries to fit a ride in when he can.

“Generally in the wintertime I try to get out there every weekend, and then I ride around town during the week to keep my legs loose,” he says.

Muratalla manages to fit his other major pastime—surfing—before most people’s days even begin.

“I can go surf before the sun comes up—that doesn’t take much [time],” he says. “The surfing part is easy because it’s nearby, and you don’t need anything but the ocean.”

Muratalla, 44, has 23 years’ experience in the industry. He has three children, Brittany Marie, Dakota Rayne and Logan.

 




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