Beyond the game: Cedric Vallieres, senior infielder

Special to the Star

Cedric Vallieres and his father packed up the car, leaving behind his Canadian roots for a new experience.

Vallieres knew no language but his first, French. It was a fight-or-flight experience when the car stopped in Clarendon.

“I opened the door, and it was just crazy how hot it was,” Vallieres said. “I was not used to it, but it’s my fourth year right now in Texas, and I love it.”

Vallieres said having no choice but to speak English to his teammates at Clarendon College, where he began his collegiate baseball career, helped him learn the language quickly. 

“It was (difficult), especially because I got here by myself not knowing anybody,” Vallieres said. “It was pretty hard and stressful, but that’s another thing I’m proud of: knowing another language now.”

Vallieres said the hardest part of the transition from Canada to Texas was missing his friends. He understood the opportunity to come to the United States was unique.

“I have a lot of friends back home that we grew up together playing baseball,” Vallieres said. “There’s not a lot of people from where I’m from that have been able to come here and play college ball at a D-1 level. You don’t see that often where I’m from, which is something I’m really proud of.”

Vallieres also played hockey while he was growing up. 

“It actually was a hard decision,” Vallieres said. “I had to choose between hockey and baseball at one point, but I’m glad I chose baseball.”

Vallieres likes baseball a "little better” than hockey. Moving to the U.S. steered him toward baseball. 

“My dream was to come to America and study at the same time as playing baseball,” Vallieres said. “Hockey—it doesn’t really go with school, which makes it harder, so it was one thing that made me choose baseball.”

David Paiz, senior infielder, is Vallieres’ roommate, He said Vallieres is one of the “most shy guys” Paiz has ever met.

However, growing up playing hockey gave Vallieres a characteristic most of his friends seldom see.

“Hockey players are known to have a big temper,” Vallieres said. “I had to work on that growing up playing baseball because it’s a different sport. It’s not all raw emotion, but it kind of helped to build on that and have a good approach.”

Vallieres’ approach to the game is not the only thing he has worked on since coming to the United States. Vallieres learns new things about the English language every day from his teammates. 

“We’ll be sitting in the living room, and he’ll be sending out a text message, and he’ll have me proofread them, and there’s always some mess-ups in there,” Paiz said. “I definitely get some jabs in there.”

Vallieres’ teammates at Clarendon College and at Texas State have helped him become familiar with English, but they also use it to joke around with him.

“They still do,” Vallieres said. “I kind of struggle sometimes with some words, but now it’s just funny.”

Follow Mariah Medina on Twitter @Mariahmedinaaa.