|Lady Chargers ‘pitch’ in to assist Memphis foe |
|Posted: Tuesday, October 5, 2010 8:55 pm |
In sports, the end result whether it be a win or loss usually receives more emphasis than the ups and downs in the journey it takes to get there. Defeating the opponent is the ultimate goal.
Pay it Forward — The Westview Lady Charger softball team, here huddling between innings at the state tourney in May, spent their time and money to aid the Carver Lady Cobras, the team they’ve beaten the last three years to advance to Spring Fling.
This past summer, however, the Westview Lady Chargers softball team decided to take an alternate route and attempt something not often tried in competitive athletics – helping the opponent.
On Aug. 20, the George Washington Carver High School Lady Cobras softball team received a very large surprise. The Memphis school was the recipient of a pitching machine courtesy of the Lady Chargers and the Martin Girls’ Softball League.
“We met Carver three years ago,” Westview softball coach J.B. Suiter recalled. “Our first meeting was a sub-state game here in 2007 when we hosted our first ever sub-state game. This past season made the third year in a row that we have played them at the sub-state level. They have a great group of kids and a very caring coaching staff. Our two teams always gather together after our games to say a prayer in the middle of the field.”
Early last season, an article appeared in The Commercial Appeal explaining about how Carver had received new uniforms, but still needed a pitching machine to be able to practice and be competitive at a sub-state level.
At a Westview softball car wash held before the state tournament, the Lady Chargers hatched the idea of working to donate a pitching machine to Carver and pitcher Shanna Chappell presented the idea to Suiter.
From there, donations were combined from two areas – the Maddie Memorial account created in honor of Madison Fagan and from the Martin Girls Softball League.
“Each year we host the Maddie Memorial Tournament where the proceeds go to this account. This account is set up to affect as many lives as we can. We had only used it for senior scholarships in the past but thought this was another great way to utilize the money. I approached Laura Taylor in the Martin Girls Softball League. She presented it to their board and they assisted with the rest of the funds for the machine,” Suiter explained.
“When JB told me the story and asked if our league wanted to go in and help buy Carver a pitching machine, my immediate response was ‘Yes.’ I then shared the information with my board and majority was a ‘Yes,’” Taylor noted.
“We, as a league, are very fortunate to have the support and sponsorship from our local businesses in order for our league to be successful, and to be able to buy equipment as we need it,” Taylor relayed. “We actually hosted a couple of tournaments this summer as a fund-raiser, and to hear the Carver story and sit back and do nothing would be selfish. We are called to give and help in times of need, and the Lady Chargers saw a team, a program with a need, and the desire to want to be better. With that said, we were thrilled to be able to contribute and be a part of this!”
Carver was speechless. They called on numerous occasions with overflowing gratitude and for Suiter and the Lady Chargers that was more than enough.
“Coach (Greg) Lewis and the school were the sole reason that the story made it to the Commercial Appeal. Coach asked if he could relay the story to the Appeal and it made front page. We were honored that their school and the Appeal found it worthy enough for that,” Suiter commented.
Suiter admitted that the response has been “incredible”. To date, he has been contacted by over 100 people and the story has made its way onto different Web sites and is being used as an example for others to follow. Carver has chosen to pass on the kindness and plans to let its rivals use the machine as well.
“We wanted to do something worthwhile for a team that displayed sportsmanship themselves,” Suiter admitted. “Our program is not just about winning but about character and leading by example. God has blessed and watched over this program and it was our way of passing it on so to speak.”