GREENSBORO, N.C. – If you asked 15-year-old Kendal Clark if he was any different from other kids his age, his answer would be a swift and hard no. If you looked at the Southern Guilford High School Sophomore play a game of baseball, it would be difficult to tell Kendal only has one arm.
Kendal was born without his left arm as a result of congenital amputation, or a birth without a limb or limbs. So, the young man never knew what is was like to have the use of both of his arms. He said, he couldn’t miss something he never had.
“I knew nothing different. All I had to go from was this,” Kendal said signaling to his arm, which stops just short of his elbow.
Despite the lack of a fully functioning arm, Kendal developed a love and passion for watching and playing baseball early on.
“I like short-stopping, I can really do anything,” he said. “I play third base now and sometimes I pitch.”
Kendal plays third base for the Southern Guilford Storm. He said his teammates and classmates don’t treat him differently.
The team’s season ended 4-12, which for Kendal is not a sign of defeat, but an opportunity to train harder for the next season.
“There’s always something to improve. Hitting, fielding, arm training. You can never be the best, you have to be better.”
Kendal shrinks away from words like disabled and inspirational.
“I just saw myself as playing baseball. I never saw anything different. But, when people tell me that, I still never saw myself as an inspiration.”
He may not feel like an inspiration, but he certainly knows what it’s like to look up to another athlete.
“My favorite baseball player is probably Dustin Pedroia. Everybody doubted him. He’s a little short guy. Nobody ever really thought he was going to be anything and he turned out to be this great baseball player.”
Does anyone ever doubt him? Kendal said he’s sure of it.
“I’m always surprised when someone has a surprised reaction (to playing baseball). I don’t know why they think it’s weird. I just do it,” Kendal explained. “It’s sometimes fuel to the fire. You doubt me and I’m going to prove you wrong.”
Even though Kendal possesses an internal push for greatness, he said his mom, Kimberly, dad, Scott and even his little sister, Caroline, push him to be better every day.)
“They sometimes push me to do things even when I don’t want to just because you never know what could come of it. I think it’s great. I could be sitting on the couch instead of playing baseball.”
Playing baseball, or really, any sport without a limb is nothing new. Surfer Bethany Hamilton, lost her left arm to a shark attack, and went on to win multiple competitions. Pro baseball player Jim Abbott, also born without an arm, threw a no-hitter in 1993 against the Indians.
Kendal said he would love to play professionally one day. Right now, he’s in the middle of taking exams, preparing for his final high school years and looking at universities.