Sometimes an event as simple as a high school softball game can serve as a life-changing event. Just ask Terina Dye.
Dye attended the Garrett Tech at Ashley Ridge game last spring to watch her daughter Allyson play for the Swamp Foxes. What she saw stunned her.
Garrett Tech's players kept slipping, sliding and falling on the wet turf. Dye couldn't understand why until she realized the girls were wearing sneakers instead of softball cleats. She vowed that night to make sure the Falcon players would have the appropriate footwear by the 2010 season. She started contacted anyone who might have a pair of used cleats they no longer needed.
That's how Field of Dreams Athletic Charity was born. And, that's why the Garrett Tech players had new cleats to begin the 2010 season. On March 5, Dye presented the team with 20 new pairs of softball cleats. But Dye will tell you she couldn't have done it alone.
The Bishop England softball team banded together and raised enough money to purchase 18 pairs of cleats. 3n2 Sports donated cleats and provided discounts on the other pairs of shoes.
"I won't forget that night," Dye said. "They didn't have cleats, but they kept getting right back up and tried to make the best of the situation. They never quit. My heart broke for those players. I vowed that very night they would not start another season without cleats. I wanted this to be a message to all students and athletes that one person can make a difference in their school, on their team, and in their community."
Dye and Field of Dreams Athletic Charity also helped out the Garrett Tech baseball team. Her son Bryan plays for the Ashley Ridge and Summerville Shockwave baseball teams, and he, along with Aubrey Heflin of the Shockwave, helped collect 12 pairs of used spikes along with bats, gloves, catcher's gear and baseball pants. Dye's goal is to raise enough money to purchase new spikes for the Falcon baseball team in time for next season.
"The kids had no problems playing in sneakers," Garrett athletic director Bill Kerr said. "The kids don't have a lot of money to go out and buy things, and as an athletic department, we have to pick and choose how we spend our money. At first, we were kind of reluctant about accepting their offer. But it was such a good act of kindness."
"The (Garrett Tech) players and coaches just couldn't seem to grasp the fact that someone not associated with their school cared enough to do something for them," Dye said. "They just kept saying, 'Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.' "
Dye hopes to help other schools struggling to support baseball and softball teams. She would also like to help teams and players at the recreation league level who might not have the resources to even sign up to play a sport.
Bishop England coach Mark Pender wanted to help out when told of Garrett's situation.
"They wanted used cleats, but we took it a step further," Pender said. "We came up with the idea of having a bake sale. We had a few. It's good to help someone out. We have the spirit of competition, but winning a state championship, a region championship doesn't feel as good as when you help someone out."
Dye hopes the spirit of giving will spread.
"I strongly believe in community service. Giving back is so incredibly important. Everyone has a gift of some type to give. As I told the softball and baseball players at Garrett, always give back. Something as small as helping a friend or family member with homework, running an errand for someone in need, helping someone that you see needing help, but may not want to ask. They all matter and you can make a difference."