In August 2021, Jasmine Miller was playing in the championship game of the Little League Softball® World Series alongside her teammates from Chesterfield (Va.) Little League.
Less than one month after that once-in-a-lifetime experience came to an end, the Miller family made a trip across the Atlantic Ocean to live out another unique experience in Nairobi, Kenya, where Jasmine is now using the life skills she learned in Little League® to help bring her favorite sport to her new home.
When Jasmine arrived in Nairobi, everything was new. It looked different. “So green” as she describes it. She was without her school, her friends. Her home.
But most worrisome? There was no baseball or softball fields anywhere near Nairobi. She wasn’t sure how she’d be able to play. She was concerned she would lose the sport she loved. Her Little League Softball World Series manager, Bill Fiege, says her family brought a pitching machine with them. “Anything to keep her skills sharp for the few years she is in Kenya.”
But her travels to Kenya came with fortunate timing. A local adult baseball team, the Nairobi Buffaloes, was leading efforts to grow baseball and softball in the country. Jasmine, with the help of her family, was determined to become a major piece of that and even became a key player in the groundbreaking ceremony on the first ever softball field in Kenya.
Jasmine added that she was more nervous to break the ground on that field than to play on ESPN in the Little League Softball World Series Championship but seeing her do something like this isn’t surprising to those who knew her in Chesterfield. Before she moved to Kenya, her teammates viewed her as a leader and a real representative of Little League’s Girls with Game Initiative.
“She’s just always been such a caring, charismatic young woman loved by everybody on the team,” said Mr. Fiege. “We’re really proud of what she’s doing to make a difference over there in Kenya.”
Many of those lessons came from her experience playing Little League.
“It’s bigger than softball,” said Mr. Fiege. “You’re learning lessons that will last a lifetime, from group work to communication skills, how to win, how to lose, et cetera. And she’s just taken that to the next level.”
Her mother echoed that.
“Already I see her stepping in and filling roles that perhaps a year ago, she wouldn’t have,” said Jennifer Miller. “The Little League Softball World Series really allowed Jasmine to have a sense of belief in her capabilities.”
The bond that the Miller family has developed in their new home in Kenya has never been more prevalent. It’s the same bond that Jasmine’s Little League Softball team had built back home in Chesterfield, and during their runs in Warner Robins, Georgia, and Greenville. And now, it’s the same bond they’re trying to build in Nairobi.
It’s Family. It’s Community.
The Millers say that’s part of what made the Little League Softball World Series so special. For a moment, they weren’t sure they would be able to stay for the whole run to the championship and thought they would have to leave early to get to Kenya. But, no matter what, they wanted to take in every moment.
“We quickly realized that we were going to find a way to enjoy those moments as long as the run could last,” said Mrs. Miller. “Our team was pretty much like a family with parents and the kids. It was just spectacular.”
The strength of their family has also kept them together as they’ve completed an unprecedented move across the globe. It makes Jasmine’s father, Scott Miller, who gets to enjoy a military move overseas with his family for the first time, extremely happy.
“The biggest thing that I’ve seen is just how strong our family as a whole is adjusting from moving to the United States,” said Mr. Miller. “And I’m learning with that. I’m very proud of Jazzy and Jen, and my son, Seth as well. They’ve really made me proud of their adjustment here.”
So now they’re trying to build that new family in Kenya around what they know best – softball.
It’s truly turning into their own Field of Dreams.
“If you build it, they will come,” said Mrs. Miller.