For most, college may seem like a cookie cutter experience that begins when you graduate high school and ends four years later. For better or for worse, the COVID-19 pandemic has not only challenged student-athletes on the field but has created new paths for them off the field. Christian (CJ) McCarthy has continued to find the positive in every situation, regardless of what the world has thrown his way.
CJ McCarthy is a junior outfielder on SUNY Oswego’s baseball team. The Pawling, New York native is a finance major and a nutrition minor with aspirations of being a chief financial officer when his time on the baseball diamond is over. While the pandemic has impacted all of our lives in what seems to be a negative light, McCarthy has seen it as a blessing in disguise, which has given him the opportunity to not only fine tune his baseball skills but grow and mature as a person.
“Yeah, COVID makes it seem like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel sometimes, but I know it will end, and I have to come out stronger because of it”, McCarthy said. Through the pandemic, McCarthy took the initiative to secure an internship with Prep Baseball Report for the summer of 2021. PBR is a nationwide baseball scouting service where he will work on the business side of baseball and learn skills on how to manage payrolls and budgets. McCarthy’s internship with PBR seems to be a match made in heaven, where CJ will get to merge his love for baseball with his passion for business.
McCarthy has also grown a real passion for nutrition and fitness throughout the pandemic, and now that he’s living off campus this year, he’s been able to help his teammates reach their potential as well. “CJ is like a nutritionist around here. He knows so much and has taught me a ton about what we put in our bodies”, said Jared Kwicinski, a friend of McCarthy. McCarthy was also a voice of guidance for one of his teammates who lost over 50 pounds in the offseason. They worked out together every morning at 8am and cooked together in the kitchen. “I just like helping people… I want to see my teammates succeed and live healthy lives even outside of baseball”, said McCarthy.
The pandemic is not the only time McCarthy has faced a bump in the road. During his freshman year, CJ suffered a shoulder injury which sidelined him for the duration of the season. With no surprise, McCarthy would come back the following summer and had a batting average north of .400, earning first team All-League honors in the Hudson River Collegiate Baseball League; a premier summer baseball league in Upstate New York. Finding success on the field was nothing new for McCarthy, even when sidelined due to injury. In high school, McCarthy was tabbed as a Pre-Season Underclass All-American. Anthony Van Fossen, a pitcher on the Oswego Baseball Team said, “CJ is a five-tool player out there. We’re lucky to have him on our team, and he’s one of the toughest guys to get out as a pitcher.”
With McCarthy being sidelined in 2019 due to injury, and missing 2020’s season because of the pandemic, CJ is looking to be a big impact player for the Lakers in 2021. “I’m just excited to help the team no matter what that looks like. With so much uncertainty about whether our season this year would be cancelled or not, I’m just happy to be back on the field with the team”, McCarthy said.
For McCarthy, overcoming an obstacle is seen as an opportunity to grow. “I’ve always looked at adversity as a chance to better myself”, and whether it’s injuries or a pandemic, McCarthy has always come out of a hurdle with a new drive and passion to any direction his life’s taken him. Whatever curveballs life throws at him, time, and time again he’s always found a way to come out stronger on the other side.