If it’s possible to have closure on a sport before the end of a season, Taylor Clark came close to it on Feb. 22.
It was Clark’s senior day, when over a dozen family members made the 800-mile trek from her native Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, to celebrate her softball career. She started both games that day, two of the nine starts she had in the shortened season, and capped the day with a two-run home run as part of a comeback win over Penn State.
It was undeniably a moment Clark and her family will never forget. Yet, Clark did not want it to be her last.
“I did consider I already had my personal senior day, but that was in February,” Clark said. “I wanted to come back because I wanted to end on my own terms with my sisters, my teammates, and end it in Oklahoma City.”
With the focus of a return trip to the Women’s College World Series, Clark chose to return to the University of Alabama for another senior season, one of seven to do so. Clark’s return is a welcome one considering she added some power to the lineup: four of her seven hits in 2020 went for extra bases, two doubles and two home runs.
Clark is undoubtedly doing all of the things every other college softball player is doing — maintaining workouts and inline school — while opining for the postseason that would be going on right now under normal circumstances. She has also solidified her plans for life after softball.
In April, Clark accepted a full-time position in the tax department of Aprio, an accounting firm based in Atlanta that was named in Inside Public Accounting’s top 100 firms. Her start date comes just a couple of months after her softball career will end, which is convenient timing but also a product of the same event that cut the 2020 season short.
In February of 2019, Clark interviewed for a summer leadership conference with Aprio, which she attended after the 2019 season. It was a two-night stay where college students toured Aprio’s Atlanta offices, went to a Braves game and did other activities with employees for them to get to know the company and vice versa; out of that conference came a few internship offers, which Clark received.
The COVID-19 pandemic cancelled that internship, but Aprio replaced that internship with a full-time job offer.
With another year of school separating her from the job at Aprio, Clark is entering a one-year master’s program in accounting after earning her bachelor’s degree in accounting. While she’s at it, she can play a year of softball with nothing to lose.
“ I was talking to (UA coach Patrick Murphy) about it, there’s no reason why me or any of the other seniors shouldn’t just play free, have the time of our lives with it,” she said. “That’s exactly what I plan to do: take advantage of every opportunity and not take a moment of the game for granted.”
Reach Brett Hudson at 205-722-0196 or firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter, @Brett_Hudson