Irondequoit Senior Turned to Sports When Faced with Adversity
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"My dad is in prison for arson of the family home" is not among the common concerns of your average teenager.
For Irondequoit High School senior Chris Culver, that was his life two years ago. Sports helped keep him grounded.
"Baseball and basketball have kind of been my place to go. I mean it's hard off the field and with family stuff, but when I get on the field, when I get on the court, it's just sports and it's something I love to do and I always have a smile on my face doing it. It's just something I love to do," Culver said.
While he remains influential from a distance now, Christopher Culver, Sr. was instrumental in his son's early development as a baseball player.
"Since I was 3, I've played baseball ever since. It's in my family. I just love the game, just unconditional love for the game," Culver expressed.
"This is his release out here from everything that has happened to him and his family and he always has a smile on his face," said Tim Mabb, Irondequoit baseball coach.
Mabb has had a front row seat through five varsity seasons of watching Culver play ball.
"I just kind of sit back and enjoy it because I know, you know, that's it's going to be pretty quick and he'll be on his way to the next level, whatever that level may be," Mabb said.
That next level could be following through on a scholarship offer to play at the University of Maryland, or to turn pro. In the inexact science of evaluating baseball players, Culver could be picked anywhere between the third and 20th round of next month's amateur draft.
"It's just baseball to me. I don't pay attention to people who are at the game. I just try to play the game and help my team get a win," said Culver.
Through all of it, it is easy to forget all this 17-year-old has been through, but his coach doesn't.
"He's actually taken a negative and he's turned it into a positive and I can't commend him any more than what he's done. He's just a tremendous player, but he's a better kid than he is a player," said Mabb.