Young athletes become 'faces of coal' for a reason
WV coal companies called for a boycott on TN tourism, so the softball team wore Citizens for Coal T-shirts for the tournament.
August 18, 2009 ·
A softball team from Logan County is back after a tournament in Tennessee. Despite the boycott, the team traveled to Pigeon Forge and parents say the kids carried a message.
Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander is supporting a bill that could end mountaintop removal. Several coal companies in West Virginia and throughout Appalachia are fighting back by boycotting travel to the state.
Lisa Harvey is from Man West Virginia. Her husband is a surface-miner and her daughter plays on the 10-and-under girls’ softball team sponsored by Citizens for Coal.
Lisa says this is the first year the team has played in the Fast Pitch for Chicks tournament in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
“This trip was planned before the boycott started,” she said. “When the girls found out that there was a boycott they still wanted to go but they wanted to take a stand for coal.”
Lisa says the team took a stand for coal by playing the games in Citizens for Coal shirts.
“When the children showed up, they actually saw the faces of coal, to see what the damage would be,” she said. “I have a 2-year-old . They saw him walk around with his Citizens for Coal shirt on and it just touched them.”
Lisa says the itinerary for the tournament trip changed after they found out about the boycott.
“It would have been different,” she said. “The children would have wanted to go to Dollywood, Splash Country, go go-cart riding.”
“They didn’t do any of that. It wasn’t that they was forced not to do it, they decided not to do it.”
Her 10-year-old daughter Hunter Harvey plays short-shop on the team.
“It was ok with me because I was there to play softball, she said. “Not nothing else. Any free time I went to the pool.”
She says the idea came from most of the girls anyway.
“It was mostly the kids idea because we really wanted to go down there and show them that coal is important," she said.
The girls finished fourth in the tournament and they feel like they delivered a message to the people of Tennessee about the importance of mountaintop removal.