One of the many Bahamian prospects to acquire opportunities and education through baseball, Crachad Laing delivered an inspiring message to others looking to follow a similar career path.
“I never played one inning of professional baseball, but I consider myself a success and my opportunities continue to expand,” Laing said at the Career Path To Athletic Success Forum, “Baseball saved my life.”
A product of the Junior Baseball League of Nassau, Laing finished high school in the United States at the Perkiomen School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia. He then attended Bluefield State College where he played four years at catcher and infielder before he graduated with his degree in Civil Engineering.
“Just like a lot of you I wanted to go away to school and I wanted to play in the pros. Eventually I did get a chance to do that but it didn’t happen for me when it happened for everyone else and that can be very discouraging, but I stayed the course,” he said.
Laing has now returned to Perkiomen as a Physics teacher and Assistant Baseball Coach.
“People would ask why I was so happy and always smiling, it’s because at every stop on my journey I generally loved where I was at. My dream was to play baseball in the U.S and I had a chance to do that. I went to college free of charge. I know my parents couldn’t afford it and that was the reality of my situation. Prior to going to school I wanted to settle. My goal was to be a bellman at Sandals resort like I did the summer before. At the time I didn’t know I was settling because I wasn’t exposed to much,” he said, “Make the most of each opportunities. I spent one year at Perk and I stayed in contact with my coach all throughout my collegiate career. It opened another opportunity for me. In March 2016 I was prepared to come back home and work, but another opportunity opened up for me. My former coach at Perk lobbied for me to accept a teaching position and I recently got accepted into the Applied Physics program at NYU in addition to the teaching and coaching post. Baseball completely changed the trajectory of my life. Who am I to be a kid from the Bahamas destined for so much more. I already beat the odds so I plan to keep on beating the odds. Sometimes our definition of success is so superficial and there are so many avenues of success through baseball. If it wasn’t for baseball none of this would have been possible for me. I always respected the game, I always loved the game and it has paid amazing dividends for me.”
It was during his junior year at Bluefield State when Laing said he came to the realization that his ultimate dream of professional baseball would have to take a backseat to the opportunities he would be able to grasp academically.
“My goal growing up was always to be a pro baseball player. There was even a point in time when I was thinking about leaving college to come home and sign but some point you have to realize what you’re good at,” he said, “I was a good baseball player but there are so many other qualities and characteristics other than baseball that I thought would have made me great.”
Laing said that while he serves in his current Position, he seeks to grant as many opportunities as he can to deserving Bahamian student athletes with a similar dream.
“That’s what I ultimately want to do. I was like many of the young players sitting here looking up to these guys in the pros. I was once a kid sending emails to coaches trying to get an opportunity and now I’m able to call shots on that. It’s surreal. I want to be able to create that same opportunity for other young Bahamian players at my institution because I want to assist them in achieving their dreams in any way I can.”