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SEBASTOPOL - She was the only girl on a T-ball team in Forestville when it happened. The 8-year-old boy shoved the 8-year-old girl, knocking her off first base with this exit admonishment: “You’re stupid.” Those words, that shove, he might as well have used a megaphone and a bulldozer on Saja Spearman-Weaver.

“It made me angry,” Spearman-Weaver said. Eight-year-old anger, for most, comes and goes, replaced in an eye blink by the next immediate thing. Not this girl. Oh no. Saja is the offspring of Jason Weaver and Simone Spearman. They raised their daughter to think for herself. Stick up for yourself. Don’t whine. Don’t point fingers. Don’t ever accept being disrespected and devalued, especially because you’re a female.

“I have a mom who is a strong, empowered woman not known for being easily persuaded,” Spearman-Weaver said. “She knows what she wants and she doesn’t like people telling her what she should do.”

So now it’s seven years later and Spearman-Weaver is a freshman and making her first varsity appearance as a pitcher for Analy High School. The Tigers are in Eureka. It’s a playoff game. She throws a pitch and the batter sends a wicked line drive off the right side of Spearman-Weaver’s face. She hits the dirt, gets a mouthful. Blood splatters. Like she got shot by a sniper, that kind of image.

Nick Houtz, Analy’s coach and a Vietnam vet, grabs the ball for Spearman-Weaver. Thanks for your service. She grabs the ball back.

“My society expects me to stay down when I’m hit, preferably to stay out of dangerous situations, leaving the pursuit of conflict to my male counterparts. It’s a foul tendency. I snatched the ball from his weathered hand. I understood what it felt like to fight back.”

That’s part of the essay that Spearman-Weaver, now a senior and a month removed from her 18th birthday, recently sent to colleges as part of her application for admission. She has a 4-centimeter scar below her right ear as a reminder, although a picture of that was not sent as a dramatic accompaniment. She’s too busy living in the moment, confusing some, pleasing others.

The pleasing part is easy to describe and understand. She leads the SCL with a 13-1 record and a 1.22 earned-run average. She stands 6-foot-2. Her countenance is impressive without ever having to throw a pitch.

“You don’t have as much control of the game at the other positions,” she said.

She has a 4.17 grade-point average for her four Analy years, 4.33 in her junior and her senior years. She is taking six AP courses. She plays three varsity sports: softball, volleyball and basketball. She coaches young girls on how to play softball with confidence and pride, never to tolerate being treated disrespectfully.

“In the school calendar year,” she said, “I have six days in which I come home with nothing to do.”

Now comes the difficult part for some people.

Spearman-Weaver will not be playing college softball. Maybe club, rec league stuff. Maybe. Won’t even try to be a walk-on.

“I don’t want to make it my one thing,” she said. How can she not, is the assumption. When she’s this good, this smart, this responsible, this tenacious, how can she walk away? Doesn’t she enjoy the spotlight? Her ego has to feel the love, the adoration, being the center of attention. Right?

Yes, she says, to all of it. Which only confuses people all the more. America’s obsession with youth sports — vacating common sense, hovering over every thought and action, driving kids like horses pulling their wagon of expectation — finds much objection in the Spearman-Weaver household. Saja never did the recruitment song-and-dance. Never did a showcase tournament. Never saw softball as the end game.

“In part,” said Weaver, “I was the cautionary tale for her.”

Weaver, 6-foot-7, was a Stanford basketball player in the early ’90s “who helped keep the bench warm for Adam Keith.” He only played two years, a knee injury ending his career. That a professional athlete retires before 30 is another dollop of reality.

Dad offered a perspective. So did Saja’s maternal grandfather, Theodore Spearman. Grandpa was a civil rights lawyer, a county judge, a man who told his granddaughter story after story of injustice, of mistreatment to those who could not defend themselves, of those existing invisibly on the margins of life without a champion.

“He worked with Rosa Parks in Detroit,” Spearman-Weaver said of the civil rights activist, speaking in the reverential tone one might use after shaking hands with Stephen Curry.

Those Theodore stories by themselves would be captivating enough even told second or third hand. But Spearman-Weaver has much more that a detached view of racial injustice. Simone, a Piner High School English teacher, is African-American. Jason, a marketing research journalist, is white.

“Sometimes I can get by with telling people I just got back from Hawaii and was working on my tan,” she said. As much as she is an activist, she is also by intent a journalist, seeking to understand hatred to serve her better in the eradication of it.

Said Spearman-Weaver: “If there is one poisonous idea that really bothers me it’s this: It’s just the way the world is. Life isn’t fair. Get used to it.” When the racial accusations at Analy flew like a hot, uncomfortable wind in January, Spearman-Weaver responded with a long essay in the school paper, many meetings with the school administration and fellow students.

Spearman-Weaver will enter Cal this fall. Her end game is to be a civil rights lawyer like grandpa. Her glove and her bat will accompany her as well. They will remind her, if nothing else, to look in the mirror. See, the scar.

She’ll remember rising to her feet and grabbing back that ball from Nick. She’ll remember his smile. Yeah, she’ll think to herself, I want to see that smile again from people. Even if that’s all they can give me.

To contact Bob Padecky, email him at bobpadecky@gmail.com.