At the young age of 5 most little boys find themselves playing with trucks, digging for worms, playing make believe or watching cartoons. Yet for the Canyon View Falcon, Cadyn Clark, his childhood was entirely different. It was a life of Baseball.
Born in Cedar City but living on the east coast growing up Cadyn has had the opportunity to play baseball in a variety of locations. From Connecticut, to the Cal Ripkin facility in Aberdeen, MD, to Cooperstown and finally a place called Baseball Heaven in Long Island, NY playing in approximately 85 games a year. As for the difference playing back east coast vs. out west Cadyn makes it easy, “the weather.”
“When it comes to playing here is Southern Utah,” Cary Clark, Cadyn’s father, shares, “you find that because these kids can play year around that the talent is pretty evenly matched up with baseball on the east. The biggest difference though is that back east there are leagues everywhere. It is not hard to get on a team to play baseball in the summer.”
Knowing the importance of staying busy during the offseason Cadyn is actively seeking opportunities to improve his play going into his final year of high school sports. “I know I need to find a league to play on but I will make sure I get plenty of lifting in to get stronger and faster for next season as well.”
Heading over to play at Arizona State University, Cal State, BYU and Dixie State for various camps is a must for the returning senior. “I know I want to work on every part of my game but the part that I enjoy most is the hitting.”
At the age of twelve Cadyn was involved in travel baseball and it was then that he experienced the taste of winning a championship. “It was exciting to go through the experience of winning a championship because it was my first one.”
Remembering the challenges that come with playing multiple sports and the amount of pressure that puts on the body Cadyn recalls sustaining an injury during his freshman year of high school. “While playing basketball I had to have surgery on my foot which was really hard to deal with. You always want to be out there playing with everyone else instead of sitting on the bench. Because of that though I learned not to take anything for granted.”
“I know I want to work on every part of my game but the part that I enjoy most is the hitting.“
Cadyn has always understood that he would play baseball. Even growing up he would spend time watching games and look to pattern his own style of play after great players. Eventually he would study and mimic the style of play of his favorite player, 14x All-Star and 5x World Series Champion, Derek Jeter. “I’m a Yankees fan I love his style I think he’s a great player.”
With so many professional athletes surrounded by controversy and can serve as negative influences on impressionable athletes growing up dad takes comfort knowing that “Derek is a good player who is in the spotlight that stays out of trouble. He is not one of those high-profile athletes that is unlikable.”
With plans to serve an LDS mission right out of high school Cadyn hopes to play college baseball upon returning. With his sights on BYU Cadyn seeks to make this final year of high school baseball count.
“When I first arrived to Cedar I made sure to visit with the coaches to get to know them. During the fall [of that year] I played on tournaments with guys from the high school team to get to know them a bit better. It took a little bit of time but I would see them in school at talk to them to get to know them better and I was able to adjust to them, they are great teammates.”
Like any parent, watching your son or daughter pursue a goal or activity and achieve success is something not soon forgotten. “I am not sure though if I enjoy watching more or sitting anonymously somewhere and listening to what other people say about him,” dad says with pride.
With a hint of emotion Cary shares an experience involving Cadyn that is very near to his heart. “There is one time when he was in middle school and there was a message on the machine asking if we were the parents of Cadyn Clark because if we were they wanted to talk to us.” Cary continues, “His mom called the lady back and the lady on the phone said ‘I’ve never met your son before but I love him’ and we come to find out that he had a child with special needs that went to the same school and the kids would often make fun of him. He would come home and be in tears and really distraught. So her son came home this one particular day after being picked on but he was not is this distraught mood and asked her son what happened and her son answered, ‘Oh some kids were bothering me but it was OK because Cadyn took care of it.’” Stepping in, Cadyn Clark went against what some would consider popular and stood up for a fellow student who was being mistreated. Taking the risk and standing up for what he knew was right Cadyn not only made a new friend but also more importantly made a lasting impact on the child’s family. This type of character is hard to come by these days, but it is a part of who Cadyn Clark is.
A quote or motto of sorts by the famous NHL player nicknamed “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky, that Cadyn continually looks to as a governing principle is that, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Knowing that what he makes of himself in this will be determined by the choices he makes, the work he puts in and goals he sets for himself. Cadyn spends his time working not only to improve his sill level in sports but also to strengthen his character and ability to be of service to others.
“I have learned through sports that I need to have confidence in myself and believe that I can do it. If I don’t think that way then I am right and I wont be able to.”
When asked what it is about his son that he feels makes him unique Cary does not have to dig deep for any kind of answer. He witnesses it each time his son takes the field. “I get nervous for him, especially when he may be down 0-2 up to the plate with runs on base being down with 2 outs and he doesn’t even look nervous. He is so cool under pressure. Or even the very opposite being up one run with the bases loaded, he just stays calm and cool under all that pressure.”
Step up to Cadyn for the first time and ask the young man who he is and you learn something about his character. “I believe I am a trustworthy and kind person that does what I am supposed to do.” • HSSI