After watching the Boston Red Sox win the World Series in 2007, Dawson Clark finally understood the true power of baseball.
The then six-year-old remembers watching the Red Sox, and his favourite players David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia, take on the Colorado Rockies with his parents and older sister at home on a Sunday afternoon in October.
When the Red Sox won their second World Series title in four years, the excitement in the Clark household was infectious.
“I was pretty young. I didn’t have as much of a reaction as my family did. I do remember they were all pretty excited. My sister was freaking out,” said Clark, a Victoria resident.
“It was the first time I realized how much baseball influences people, how happy people get when they’re watching. That’s one of the reasons I like to play. I like to be happy on the field and like to show my personality and make other people happy when they’re watching.”
That was the beginning of Clark’s nearly decade-long passion for American’s favourite pastime.
Clark, who was already playing little league T-ball, slowly climbed the ranks and is now playing for the Victoria Eagles’ 15U AAA team.
“It’s a team sport played by individual players. The whole team has to come together and everyone does their part. It’s a slow game that you have to think about. It’s mental as well as physical,” said the five-foot-10, 140 pound, centre fielder.
Now, he’s taking his passion to the next level. Clark will be representing Vancouver Island in baseball at the B.C. Summer Games in Abbotsford, which began on Thursday.
Following three vigorous tryouts in Nanaimo, Victoria and Duncan and a month of B.C. Games coaches scouting out players from various regular season teams, Clark was selected and is a part of one of two teams from the Island that will be participating in the multi-sport games.
“I was really excited to find out I made the team. There’s so many other great baseball players from the Island. It’s just an honour to be picked for the event,” said the 15-year-old Oak Bay High student.
The biggest challenge, says Clark, will be playing with a number of new players he’s never played with before and figuring out how each teammate plays in the short period before the Games begin. But he remains optimistic he can help his team capture a podium finish.
The B.C. Summer Games are a biennial celebration of sport and community, bringing together more than 3,600 athletes to compete in 18 sports, including baseball, basketball, equestrian, lacrosse, synchronized swimming, triathlon, volleyball and wrestling.
The Games take place in Abbotsford from July 21 to 24.
Tony Dela-Pena from Esquimalt will also be competing in baseball at the Games.
For more information about the Games visit bcgames.org.