By: Kasey Barrow and Beckie Boyd
Zach Davis was one of many high school athletes from West Virginia that dream about growing up and playing sports for West Virginia University.
“I’ve grown up watching WVU sports and dreamed about it all my life. And now I’m here,” Davis said.
Throughout his time at WVU, he has used his platform for good. In a recent service opportunity, Davis was one of many WVU football players who participated in the Mini Day of Play on Sept. 23 at Mylan Park Elementary School.
Get Moving! is a campaign established to combat childhood obesity through physical activity. WVU football players are a crucial tool in making this campaign possible through the promotion of their own healthy lifestyles.
“The community gives so much to us, [we want to] give something back to them.”
The Mini Day of Play gave Davis the opportunity to be the role model that he once admired.
“All my life I’ve had adults spend time with me and I look up to them and I realize that children look up to us,” said Davis. “It’s my way of paying that back to them.”
Davis was a student of St. Mary's High School from 2012-2016, where the members of the coaching staff were influential role models.
“My coaches did a lot for me, got me to a lot of places, got my name out to a lot of coaches,” Davis said. “Really it was time and effort on both my part and their part.”
The transition from St. Mary's High School to WVU was a “complete culture change, but once you get to know your teammates and the system and the routines of the program, you’ll feel right at home,” said Davis.
The transition from high school to college was not the only challenge that Zach had to face as an incoming freshman in 2016.
“I was left tackle from my sophomore year of high school throughout...I played center a little bit, but then ironically I was a left tackle in a right hand stance. Then I made my way up here,” Davis said. “Once I got here, I basically had to learn left hand stance. But, it didn’t take long at all— really just putting time in and learning the details.”
With twelve- to sixteen-hour days, Davis puts in the time to learn by treating his role as a student-athlete like a full-time job, and he loves his job.
WVU football does not require community service for their program. However, Davis’ commitment to service opportunities inspires other players to give back.
“Once people start doing [community service] then it becomes more popular with the players and more guys want to [participate].” said Davis.
Fifteen WVU football players participated in the Mini Day of Play. That mini event leads up to the organization’s 7th Annual Day of Play on March 14, 2020. This event allows WVU football players, NFL players and volunteers to come together in hopes to provide local children with the tools to recognize the effects of a healthy lifestyle.
Events like the Day of Play are meant to benefit the children, but the players always leave with smiles on their faces. Many of them have bonded and created relationships with the children.
“[The football players] remember those kids and they love coming back to see them,” Davis said.
As a childhood development major, Davis sees the importance of making these connections at the Day of Play events, local elementary schools and the WVU Children’s Hospital.
“Being in this major has given me a new perspective on not just children playing, but [their] mental and physical development.” Davis said. “The Day of Play is the perfect example of that.”
Community. Service. Mountaineers.