Kai Cummings at bat for GFS. By Greg Starks Kai Cummings, a recent graduate of the Germantown Friends School and member of its baseball and track and field teams, will attend Mount St. Mary’s …
By Greg Starks
Kai Cummings, a recent graduate of the Germantown Friends School and member of its baseball and track and field teams, will attend Mount St. Mary’s University next fall where he’ll play baseball. You may have seen Cummings on TV back in 2014, when he played in the Little League World Series. Sadly for him and so many athletes, this year’s high school baseball season was canceled due to the Covid 19 outbreak.
“The first thing I thought was that its sad,” said Cummings. “I run track in the winter, to get ready for baseball season and get my speed up. Nationals got canceled so already I was like, ‘okay sports are kinda heading down the drain right now. It’s not looking very good, I don’t like where this is heading.’ And then baseball, the whole spring season for all sports was canceled. It was kinda the cherry on top of a very bad situation, but I used the time that I would’ve been playing to really focus on getting better for college. I focus on putting in the extra work that I can so that when we do have a season, then I’ll be ready.”
Even though Cummings has had success on the baseball field, he arguably contributes more off of it as well. He participates in a program called, Brothers for Academic and Social Enrichment (BASE). BASE is a peer mentoring club that helps students of color at predominantly white schools. It was at BASE where Cummings learned how to be a leader.
“The reason that I joined was because one of my really good friends, he was a senior that year,” he said. “He said it was a great time and he thought that I’d really enjoy it. So I joined and I ended up loving it. I saw the value that it brought and that it really made the other students that were in the club, especially me, being a freshman, it made us feel more welcomed, more safe and that we had a space just to be who we were. We didn’t have to put on a facade or anything. That was why I joined and that was why I continued to join year after year and why I eventually became a leader junior year.”
Although Cummings is extremely active in athletics, he also has a creative and artistic side, by writing and performing in plays at his school.
“For me, I read a lot of fantasy,” he said. “I’m kind of of the opinion that if you can read about anything ever, like if people can write about whatever they want, why not read about stuff that can’t really happen in the real world… and reading so much fantasy or watching so many fantastic movies, I think the skill of just knowing how to put fantasy in play was just always in my mind. In terms of the writing, whatever I would read or whenever I would watch something I would always try to think to myself, if I was the one writing what would I do, how would I come up with the characters, what kind of interactions would they have with each other? I think the continued thought of that over and over again eventually helped me put it into practice.”
If you thought his plate couldn’t get any more full, you’re wrong. Cummings also volunteers at the Penn Working Dog Center. He originally volunteered there for his junior project, but he enjoyed it so much that he elected to go back for his senior year.
“I learned a lot from working with the dogs,” said Cummings. “I learned a lot from working with people there and overall it was really just a fun experience for me. I would definitely do it again.”
Cummings has accomplished so much in his high school career that one has to wonder what he aspires to achieve in college and beyond. Cummings acknowledges that being a student-athlete in college entails a lot more competing responsibilities that he will need to learn to balance and that will be his initial focus. However, long-term, his goal is to make it to the MLB and if that doesn’t work out, he wants to become a veterinarian.
“My next long term goal, realistically, probably going to vet school, I think that’s definitely something I want to do,” said Cummings. “I just don’t know how easy it’ll be to do both, so for right now I’m sticking to just making it to the MLB. That’s the goal I’m putting the most work towards right now.”
No matter what career path Cummings decides to follow, he has a good foundation to succeed in whatever he pursues. Hopefully, the virus is under control by next spring so that he can get to play baseball. But even without baseball, Cummings is full of potential and has a diversified skill set that will take him far in life, no matter which career path he chooses.
Greg Starks is a rising senior at SCH and working as an intern at the Local this summer.