By Stubby Clapp Well I guess to start things off I will introduce myself. My name is Stubby Clapp and I was born in Windsor Ontario, where I grew up in Remington Park, playing as many sports as possible during any given year. I currently live in the USA after meeting and marrying my wife (Chastity) of 6 years while playing AAA ball for the Memphis Redbirds. I have two boys, Cooper 4 and Cannan 1 ½, that are the light of my life. My parents and siblings still reside in Windsor and they are my roots to Canada and a big part of my support system.
When I was asked to write this blog I was honoured to do so because of the gentleman that the request came from Bob Elliot a long time friend, sports reporter and author of “The Northern Game,” has not only treated me well through my career as an athlete but has been one of the most fair and respected reporters throughout Canada when it comes to telling a story. So in these regards I have accepted the challenge to keep you as family, friends and fans up to date and in touch with what it’s like to be in and around the Olympic atmosphere, as a participant and as a fan. I do intend to visit some other sports and disciplines to see our athletes achieve at the highest level possible in sports!
On that note since I have the right to write what I feel, I would like to take the opportunity to thanks some people that have been pivotal and supportive of my career. First of all, my wife and kids who have been with me through the best and toughest of times over the past six years, for their sacrifice of time, because my job takes me away from home anywhere from six to eight months a year. Thank you to my parents for raising me in a loving, caring and nurturing home, providing me with the opportunities to pursue the sports and education that I needed in order to chase my dreams! Thanks to all of my coaches, counselors, and teammates for the advice given, games played, lessons learned and good times had along the way. A special thanks goes out to the staff in Lexington for the help they have given me in trying to prepare for Beijing! “Banger, hope your arm is going to be ok!” And last but certainly not the least a great big thank you to the personnel involved from the Houston Astros, for reconsidering and giving me the opportunity to chase down this one last dream!!
Just to give you a little more history into my sports background, it all started a young age, following my dad to softball fields and hockey arenas. As a young boy, I used to wait at the refrigerator with the door open, early in the mornings to catch my dad going to hockey practice. If I missed him I would sit there with a broken heart and wait until he got home. They used to let me skate around the perimeter of the ice while they were warming up, and it was these five minutes of practice that I lived for at that age. I discovered the love of baseball by following my dad across Windsor, to all the local softball fields. I could sit here and name every park and describe the location and set up of each complex as if it were yesterday. It’s amazing to me how vivid the mind can be when you’re remembering things that were fun in life. I remember my dad and all of his buddies taking time to play catch with me before their game. Of course it was fun to them because they wanted to see how long of a fly ball I could track down or to see if they could get me to dive into a mud puddle from the last night’s rain. Without any hesitation I would take off running and try to run down a fifty yard softball pass, or take the bait and swan dive into the puddle trying to keep the softball from hitting the water. Things like this are what made me fall in love with sports.
I’m sure your wondering how I got into such competitive baseball, and why I never played hockey. Well just for the record, I never preferred one over the other, and actually there was a third sport that really hit home with me and that was football. The only real reason I stuck with baseball was because at a pivotal time of my young career I had to make a choice on what was going to pay for more of my education. After playing three years of Junior B hockey for the Windsor Bulldogs, I was faced with the decision to take a leap of faith and go to a baseball Academy in Montreal, Que. Here I was going to specialize in baseball and school was somewhat secondary. This meant that I had to give up hockey. At a staggering 5’8’’ on skates, and weighing in at an immense 150lbs soaking wet, I decided that my future in hockey might be limited due to the lack of accuracy for scoring and the amount of time I spent in the penalty box for fighting. So it was at this time I parted with the thoughts of playing in the NHL and chased down my dream of playing for my country in the Olympics through baseball. When I was 12, I was a bat boy for the USA National team at the World Junior Tournament that was held in Windsor, over at Mic Mac Park. This is where I fell in love with the idea of wearing my countries uniform on my back. At the time I wore a USA hockey jersey that I had for some reason, and would shag in the outfield for them and chase down there bats as fast as possible. I didn’t understand the significance of the tournament but I new that it was a big deal for them to represent their country and it was cool, and this is what I wanted to do when I got older! So when it came to making the final decision of giving up hockey at a competitive level, it came with new ideas and refocusing of dreams and what I really wanted to do with my life!
Represent my country in the Olympics is what I ate, breathed and slept for 13 years before I actually got the chance to do so in the 2004 Summer Games in Athens. Along the way in those thirteen years there was a lot of ups, downs and loop to loops, but some how, some way, I managed to find myself right where I wanted to be in August of 2004 and now soon to be back there again on August 8, 2008. At the opening ceremonies of another Olympics representing our country of CANADA! OH what a feeling!
Now that you know a little bit about me and my passion, I invite you as family, friends, and fans to share your responses and questions to my day to day life as we go forward towards Beijing 2008 Summer Games!!!!!!!!
Who’s coming with me!
Stubby Clapp Houston Astros Hitting Instructor CooperReese Childrens Boutique cooperreeseboutique.com Owner