Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton are continuing to raise awareness about the traumatic death of their son, Trayvon Martin.
Trayvon, an unarmed 17-year-old, was shot and killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, then 28, in Sanford in 2012. Zimmerman claimed self-defense and was found not guilty for second-degree murder in July.
Tracy looks to family, friends and hobbies to help cope with his loss and keep the fight alive for Trayvon.
Last weekend, he visited Tallahassee for a memorial softball tournament at James Messer Park. Teams from across the southern area, male and female, competed to take home the trophy.
Rather than picketing and protesting, Tracy chose a nonviolent way to alert people of his family’s situation: softball. What began as a hobby to keep him off the streets has stuck with him for 25 years and led him to meet some of his closest friends.
“Once you get older and you’re not in the pros, you have to find some type of recreational activity to keep your mind stimulated,” said Tracy, whose family and friends are also active in softball. “Softball is a big-time stress reliever for me, especially dealing with my situation.”
Many supporters came to watch Tracy play. Supporters of all ages stood along the fence hoping to get a picture of him.
“Everybody wants to take pictures, which I don’t have a problem with,” Tracy said. “It’s just part of the process we’re dealing with, but it can get exhausting. But coming out here seeing all the people that I know, people I haven’t seen in six, seven, eight years, it’s just very relaxing.”
One supporter, Tyrone Comer, said, “It’s good to see that even after the verdict, he is still out here representing for his son.”
The players on the memorial team, Old Image, were made up of Trayvon’s friends and family as well as Robert Jackson’s. Jackson was 36 when he died after having a heart attack on the softball field nine years ago. The team wore uniforms with pictures of Jackson on the front and Trayvon on the back.
Gary Welch, Tracy’s teammate and close friend, met Tracy more than 20 years ago.
“We were playing softball against each other and he was awarded MVP for his team, and I was awarded MVP for mine,” he recalled. “We were both recruited from that tournament to play for the Blackhawks, and that’s when we met.”
Welch stood by Tracy’s side throughout this troublesome time.
“I felt like it was my purpose to meet him 20 years ago so I can be here for him now, post trauma,” Welch said. “It just brings joy to me seeing him out here playing, doing something we both love. “
In October, Tracy and his teammates will again play in honor of their loved ones in the softball championship tournament in Tennessee against 59 teams.