Long serving Travelodge Aussie Spirit player Mel Weaver has announced her retirement from international softball.
The utility player was the 241st player to represent the Australian Open Women’s team. She debuted at the 2007 China Series and went on to play 131 games for Australia across 21 tournaments. Weaver competed at three World Championships during that representative period
Following the 2014 World Championships, Weaver took a hiatus from the sport.
“I started my own business, bought a house and enjoyed time with family and friends,” said Weaver.
“You life is consumed by softball at an elite level from training, to games and even travel, so I took some personal leave.”
But after an extended break, she wanted to play again, due to what she says was “a burning desire to compete again at the highest level.”
Weaver returned to the National scene in 2018 to compete in the Asia Pacific Cup, World Championships and Japan Cup.
This decision for Weaver to retire now wasn’t an easy one, however, after four years away from the national program after the 2014 World Championships, the desire to focus on her career and family took precedence. The birth of her daughter and opening her own allied health business, lead to Weaver hanging up the cleats for the final time.
“Representing our country is always special, there’s something symbolic about ‘green and gold’,” added Weaver.
“Every time I put on our uniform I wasn’t only representing our country but I was also representing myself, our families, spectators and the Australian public. Trying to impact their lives in a positive way.”
“Thanks to my parents (Karen and Kelly) and my brother (Christopher) who spent many years being my loudest cheer squad and greatest critics.
“Thank you to Bernie Rooke, my ultimate coach and mentor and last but not least, my partner Aimee and our daughter Bailey who continue to cheer for me.”
Weaver’s softball career took her all over the world. She was part of the National Pro Fastpitch league with the Aussie Spirit but before that was one of the first Australians to sign a professional contract playing for Macerata and later Nuoro Softball in the Italian Softball League.
In 2005/2006 she took the leap to America and played with a travel ball team out of Chicago, the Twin City T-Birds.
Softball Australia Performance Enhancement Coordinator, Dr Deidre Anderson speaks with fondness about Mel’s time with the national program.
“Mel epitomises the importance of building a dual career path. She has been able to represent her country proudly over a number of years, whilst still completing her studies and building a successful career off the softball diamond,” said Anderson.
“I’m excited for Mel and all that lies ahead for her with her business and also her family, but have no doubt she will dearly miss the camaraderie and close relationships she has built throughout her career playing for the Travelodge Aussie Spirit.”
As a natural leader throughout her career, Weaver always understood the importance of being available and promoting the game to the future generation. Weaver leaves these words of advice for the future generation.
“Dream big. To succeed in the world of softball you need to be both physically and mentally strong, have a good work ethic and love for our game.”
Weaver leaves a legacy to the sport and the Australian softball community wishes her and her family all the best for the future.
Mel Weaver’s representative career:
- 2007 China Series
- 2007 Italy Series
- 2007 Holland Series
- 2007 China Cup
- 2009 Canada Cup
- 2009 US World Cup – Silver medal
- 2010 NZ Test Series
- 2011 NZ Test Series
- 2012 NZ Test Series
- 2012 International Challenge v Japan
- 2012 US World Cup – Bronze medal
- 2012 Canadian Open Fastpitch Tournament
- 2012 World Championships – Bronze medal
- 2013 VIII US World Cup – Bronze medal
- 2013 Canadian Open Fastpitch Tournament – Silver Medal
- 2014 Ogaki Cup
- 2014 Italian Softball Week
- 2014 World Championships – Bronze medal
- 2018 Asia Pacific Cup
- 2018 World Championships – 4th
- 2018 Japan Cup – Bronze