Teenager Zoë Mir spends school break coaching baseball
Zoë Mir is blessed with a such a great sense of responsibility for a teenager.
Instead of enjoying her fall break from her United States school, the 14-year-old headed to Bermuda to spend nine days on the island conducting baseball coaching sessions at two institutions that mean a lot to her.
Mir, who resided in Bermuda from 2012 until she left for George School, a boarding institution in Newtown, Pennsylvania, is focusing her attention on the island’s girls as she imparts the knowledge gained while playing for Philadelphia Liberty in the Baseball For All Nationals tournament, the largest competition for girls in the US.
Her first port of call on island was Kindley Field, where she carried out sessions for girls who are part of YAO Baseball Bermuda, an organisation in which Mir was the only girl competing in the Babe Ruth division for ages 13 to 16.
“I wanted to give back to the community because they've given some much to me,’’ Mir said.
“They've given me so many opportunities for me to continue playing baseball, and to enjoy and to feel included as part of the community.
“I want to get more girls involved in baseball so that we can continue with the programme in Bermuda and so that girls don’t feel alone in this sport.
“The sessions went really well and I enjoyed coaching the girls out there. I think they were excited with the one-on-one attention, and the individual coaching.
“I really enjoyed those, I had one-on-one sessions in the morning, followed by a group clinic, then another one-on-one in the afternoon.
“I definitely want to coach baseball and as I get older I will start looking at what’s needed to become a certified coach. I love the sport and I love educating younger children to play.
“I still haven't thought if I want to play baseball professionally, but I'm going to leave my options open.”
Before she headed back to the US, Mir also led physical education classes at Somersfield Academy, a school where she spent eleven years, taking the P2 girls through the basics of baseball.
“It was really interesting and a really good experience for me to be able to coach these younger children,’’ she told The Royal Gazette.
“It allowed me to understand and gain experience with coaching. It’s different from one-on-one with an older girl who might already have experience in the sport.
“It’s really about introducing them to the game, and getting them to have fun with it.
“It was really an eye-opening experience for me, I really enjoyed it and hope it will bring more girls into baseball.”
Mir’s return to Bermuda was also part of her role as one of the BFA captains. She is among 15 hand-picked high school-aged girls in baseball who have been selected based on their vision, drive and experience to help shape the future of girls baseball.
In August, Mir moved to the US, where there are additional coaching and playing opportunities at Philly Girls Baseball, a team coached by Erin Cooper. The previous month, she was part of a BFA Ambassadors under-15 team, which won a silver medal at the Pony Girls World Series in Japan under the mentorship of Justine Siegal.
“This is where I grew up, I chose to do my BFA junior captains project in Bermuda because this is where I learnt to play baseball,’’ Mir said.
“I want to go give back to YAO Baseball Bermuda and my school, and all the people who helped me along the way.
“It was difficult for me to leave Bermuda because this is all I've ever known, this is where I grew up. This is where my friends are and my family is.
“Going away for the first time and living by myself has allowed me to grow as a person, and as a baseball player.
“There are so many opportunities that I want to take advantage of and I'm so fortunate to be able to do that.”
Mir’s mother, Jessica Gormain, also wants to see more girls involved in baseball because of the loneliness she felt when she was the only female in a male-dominated sport.
“Zoe is helping to encourage girls on the island to stay in baseball, especially as they get older, when there are fewer girls,’’ Gormain said.
“She is giving the older girls more advanced training, giving them tips that she has learnt through her experiences overseas. She is getting training that she didn't receive here and she is able to share that with those girls.
“When Zoe was younger, she didn’t know if she could really stay with it and most girls quit around the age of 12 ,before they go to high school.
“Zoe has learnt a lot about playing baseball and coaching girls in baseball from Erin Cooper and Justine Siegal, both of these coaches are amazing women.”
Amy Winstanley, Mir’s former teacher, described her as an inspiration to the younger girls at Somersfield.
“It was great to have her come back as a former student to teach our students,’’ Winstanley said.
“Our young learners look up to her and the sessions that they had with her, they all left and told their parents how excited they were. They were telling their teachers how excited, not just about baseball, but having Zoe back at her former school.
“It’s nice that she is inspiring the younger ones, especially the girls. We need girls in sport, it’s nice to start at a young age, get them inspired young, and keep them all the way through.
“Seeing that Zoë is already playing at a higher level, we hope they can be inspired to reach the same levels.”