This weekend, 14 teams from Virginia and North Carolina will converge on the Day Complex in South Boston for Troy Nation’s Back to Where it All Began men’s slow-pitch softball tournament.
The tournament is held to raise money for the Troy Strickland Memorial Scholarship and other events that Troy Nation puts on.
Wayne Lowery founded Troy Nation after the tragic death of his friend and coach, Troy Strickland in July 2018. Strickland drowned while saving a girl who was caught in the rip current in the ocean near Emerald Isle, North Carolina.
On the Troy Nation website Lowery wrote “Because of Troy’s heroic act and the profound impact it had on the county of Halifax, I was compelled to create Troy Nation.” Troy Nation has been a nonprofit for around eight months now and since its inception the group has raised money to help provide for the youth of Halifax.
Fundraising events that Troy Nation has held include a car wash, creating and selling T-shirts, selling barbecue and the men’s slow-pitch softball tournament. These fundraisers have helped sponsor youth from Halifax to attend a football camp at Averett University, raising money for Strickland’s family in their time of need and helping to send a local girl to represent Halifax County at the National Leadership Program at the University of North Carolina. There also was a baseball camp that they hoped to put on this summer, but with COVID-19 they had to cancel that.
Troy Nation has been able to do all of these things in a short amount of time, and Lowery knows they will be able to do even more as they continue with their efforts.
Last year, in the first tournament that Troy Nation put on, there were six teams participating, and this year that number has more than doubled as 14 teams are signed up to play.
The tournament will begin at about 8 a.m. Saturday and will continue throughout the day and into the night with Lowery saying they hope to wrap things up by 10 p.m. Sunday will be more of the same as things will kick off around 8 a.m. and they are hoping for the championship game to end by 9:30 p.m.
Lowery says they are playing 41 games in two days on two fields so there will be plenty of softball action all weekend for fans to come and watch and support Troy Nation.
With Virginia now in Phase Two of reopening, there’s a 50-person limit on gatherings. More details on social distancing for the tournament will be released in the coming days, organizers wrote in a Facebook post.
There is no entry fee to attend the tournament, and there will be concessions available as well as a 50/50 raffle with all proceeds from those benefiting Troy Nation and the Troy Strickland Memorial Scholarship and their youth program.
“It is going to be a big day to raise money and get awareness out on us and what we do and what we are trying to do,” Lowery said.
Lowery is hoping that Troy Nation will continue to grow as time goes on and that they will be able to reach more communities.
“We want to keep growing and reach more communities and more kids and do more things, but you have to start somewhere, and we are starting right here in our hometown,” Lowery said.
Strickland was very involved with coaching and mentoring youth in sports, and Lowery wants to make sure Troy Nation continues to help carry that on. Lowery is hoping to bring tournaments to Halifax and have college coaches come out to them and give the kids an opportunity to be seen.
“We had good talent here, they just get overlooked sometimes,” Lowery said, speaking about how youth from larger cities sometimes have the advantage of being seen more than those from more rural areas.
“We want to continue to help the youth and keep them out of trouble and keep them occupied. Sports teaches a whole lot more than just playing ball,” Lowery said.
Lowery said they are in need of umpires and volunteers this weekend. Interested individuals are asked to contact Lowery at 434-471-6191.