By David Troppens
Savannah Weaver knew she had to do something.
The Linden graduate and Gaines native was attending Spring Arbor University and went to Jamaica during a three-week study-abroad trip. While there, she saw a little boy running.
“He was running on rocks and broken glass,” the Spring Arbor University graduate said. “It was sad to see. I asked the lady in charge and she said he wants to be the next Usain Bolt. It made me take a step back. It made me think how much we take for granted, especially for sports.”
It also made Weaver think about the sport she loved — softball. All her life she’d been able to play the sport she loved with great equipment, quality fields and quality coaching. She was able to play on Linden’s 2013 Division 2 state semifinal squad and went on to play college softball at Spring Arbor University.
“All you need to play baseball or softball is a stick and a ball,” Weaver said. “But we have million dollar stadiums and great equipment and we take it for granted. They have nothing (in Jamaica).”
Weaver knew she had to address what she saw and found a solution. She contacted the Jamaica Little League Baseball and Softball Organization and decided to start collecting equipment to distribute. She started with the travel team she was coaching, asking for donations of any used baseball or softball items.
“I told the families and kids about it and told my brother’s travel baseball team about it,” Weaver said. “The response was amazing.”
Weaver is collecting pretty much anything that can help a baseball or softball team — hats, gloves, pants, cleats, bats and catcher’s equipment among other things.
“The trunk of my car is full. There’s stuff in my mom’s car and in my bedroom,” Weaver said. “I never expected to get as much stuff as I have. I want the game to grow beyond the United States and have the children there have a chance to be able to enjoy the game I love.”
Anyone wanting to make a donation can contact Weaver at email@example.com.
Weaver said she uses moments she experienced in Jamaica to fuel her motivation and her team.
“I tell the girls all the time that if you think you can’t play or show up to practice that there are kids who can’t play that would love to play every day,” Weaver said.
Weaver was a four-year starter during her time at Spring Arbor. She batted. 324 over the four seasons and earned a spot on the Crossroads League’s Gold Glove team during her senior season in 2017.