By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Softball teammates, opponents and officials were shocked by the Sept 2 news of George “Shawala” Borrows, 54, being shot to death at his Purcell Estate home.
Borrows, a popular veteran softball power hitter who has represented the BVI in regional competitions, joined Storm after playing with the Pirates, Hurricanes and Blue Wings. He also played with several other teams and with Parsons in the Sea Cows Bay Village League. He played in the Pirates’ 7-4 victory over Storm in the last game of the BVI Softball Association preseason tournament on Aug 16, before the league was shut down because of the COVID-19 spread.
Borrows was 0-3 with two fly outs and a strike out against Pirates pitcher, Jason “Mad” Fonseca, in the last game he ever played. In his previous game against the Los Macarrecios, he was 1-2 with a triple.
The preseason tournament was a lead up to the association’s scheduled September 5 league, which would be its first in three years after Hurricane Irma destroyed the E. Walwyn Brewley Softball Park. The league has been postponed for a second time by COVID-19.
“Boy, it’s devastating. That one hit me hard because he’s playing on the Storm now and I struck him out in the last game before we got lockdown,” Fonseca told Island Sun Sports. “I told him, ‘I got you’ and we went on the side and just reminisced about games from years back and he told me that I was doing good. We have always been closed. That’s a great loss, not just to softball, but the whole community.”
While they’ve never played together because of the strength of his team, Power Outage’s Jamal “Lefty” Allen, said Burrows was a very competitive player, who despite his age, was a formidable hitter.
“He was an awesome player,” Allen said. “The last encounter I had with him was when he coach the Lady Hawks and I was one of the coaches with That’s Ya Problem and we had the trash talk common around sports, but he really will be missed.”
Storm’s founder Allen “Woodrow” Smith, said Burrows played with him after the Hurricanes broke up and they have played on the Pirates and now Storm and they traveled on national teams.
“One thing about Shawala, if your spirit down, he’ll help bring you up,” Smith recalled. “He was a good teammate, nice to hang with, he was a cool dude. Everything about Shawala was nice, a fun dude. All in all, he was a good batsman, hard to out, a good player, generally nice and we’re going to miss him a lot.”
Former BVI Softball Association President and current statistician and announcer Walwyn “GM” Brewley, said Borrows was a good hitter and fielder.
“He played hard. He never used to half step. He was a hard nose,” Brewley recalled. “If he’s going after something, he’d go 100%. He wasn’t just a one position player. He could play first base, he played second base sometimes, but right field was the position I think he liked best, but he could play any outfield position. I was really sorry to hear about this.”
Rhodni Skelton played with Borrows on the Apaches, Blue Wings, Hurricanes, Power Outage, Pirates and now Storm with whom he played in that Aug 16 game as well as traveling with him on national teams.
“It’s the Shawala we all know, a real fun loving guy, had a good time on the field,” first baseman Skelton told Island Sun Sports. “He was very positive, very passionate about the game. If you made a mental mistake that he really feels you should do better than that, that’s the only time you would see Shawala make any kind of emotional gesture. He’d be like ‘c’mon Skelly, you know the play was to second,’ something along those lines. Other than that, he encouraged the younger players and liked to be on the softball field—a really good teammate.”
Like Skelton, Hon. Kye Rymer also played on the same teams starting with the Apaches.
“We were a package,” Rhymer said, noting that when Smith formed the Storm and asked him to be on the team, he said Borrows also had to be there.
“He was quite competitive, he got down on me really hard because he knew my potential, he was always encouraging, one of the best players, the best teammate,” Rymer reflected. “Even when I was at DMV and played in the industrial league, he was always on my team and also played Volleyball. We also played on Parsons in the Sea Cows Bay League and we also travelled internationally on national teams including Mexico and Colombia. Everywhere I played he played, so it’s quite a huge loss to me.”
Former BVI Softball Association secretary Marieta Headley, recalled traveling with him in 2010 to a tournament in Colombia.
“His passing has left a big void in the softball family,” Headley said. “Wherever he went he had a competitive spirit that he carried. He always felt that he was invincible and you better come good or he was going to hit you out of the ballpark.”