SHARK HOST FAMILIES WANTED

The Sharks are looking for host families to house the 30 players that will be coming to the Vineyard on June 2, 2014. The Futures Collegiate Baseball League and the Sharks follow the tradition of professional minor league baseball and summer collegiate baseball, i.e. looking to those special families that open their homes to the players. This is a tradition that has been going on for decades.The best way to understand what is involved being a host family is to select the following link:

Dianne Powers and her "crew"

Dianne Powers and her “crew”

http://mvsharks.com/view/mvsharks/martha-s-vineyard-sharks-host-families

The article on the website will provide you with an understanding of how to go about being a host family, who to contact and what is involved. Below are two testimonies provided by existing host families that will hopefully entice you to join this special group of Vineyarders. Without our host families, there is simply no collegiate baseball in the summer. Please help us out:

Matt Timoney hugging his host Mom Liz Burnham on host day.

Matt Timoney hugging his host Mom Liz Burnham on host day.

HOST FAMILY TESTIMONIES

Jessica Burnham (Host Mom for 3 years)

Where did you first hear about the Sharks?

I read about the team in the Martha’s Vineyard Times when it was announced there would be a Futures League team here. I think in December of 2010.

What intrigued you to become a host family?

I just thought it would be fun. Everything is more fun when you are a part of it and nor just a spectator.

How did you feel about having a stranger or two in your house?

A little nervous. Totally not knowing what to expect I guess. I wasn’t home when the first guy arrived so my daughter Martha greeted him and his dad and they went out for lunch. When Doris drove up with the 2nd one later I was home. I saw him get out of the car looking just as nervous and very young. It made me realize he was just a kid like my own who needed to be made to feel at home.

Beth O'Connor & Jonathan Chatinover and family, with their Shark players

Beth O’Connor & Jonathan Chatinover and family, with their Shark players

How did you break the ice?

Food! Stuffed shells seems to always be the first dinner at the beginning of the season. Who doesn’t like Italian food?

After 3 seasons what is the best way to make a player feel at home in your home?

Be clear and upfront about rules and expectations. Ask many questions. Show them where EVERYTHING is, i.e. their room, the laundry, the kitchen, even where plates, glasses and silverware are. It helps a lot to have a kid who is the same age as them around too.

Do players discuss with you if they are not getting enough playing time?

Believe it or not they seem to understand how things work better than their parents do! Sure, they all want to play all the time but for the most part they understand they are part of a team and that they have a roll to play. They are usually positive about other players who are having an awesome summer with great stats and sympathetic of others who are not. They do talk about wanting to be out there and hoping that they will be in the lineup etc. Of course I as a host family want to go to the ballpark and see my players on the field too.

While not a requirement do you feed the players?

Yes, whenever I cook they are invited to eat dinner. I usually ask who will be around. It is not so often now that the games are at 7pm and the dinner given to them at the park is so good. Nights off and for pitchers not travelling with the team though I do cook. I also have tons of cereal, milk, h2o, Gatorade and snacks around most of the time.

The Endicott Connection with Melissa Gold

The Endicott Connection with Melissa Gold

Do other players come over to hang out with the players you are hosting?

Yes, I love when other guys come over. I get to know them better that way. Sometimes it’s just stopping in after the beach or to pick up a guy to go out for the night. Other times it’s for dinner or to watch a game or tv show.

Do you give the players your house rules on day one?

Yes, usually over dinner. I don’t have a ton of them. Just last guy in locks the front door and text me if you are going to be late etc.

Do you stay in contact with Players from the 1st year (2011) you were a host?

Yes, somewhat. You know Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I hear from them every now and again by text. I have gotten to see one of them play a few times since then on his college team.

Does the 9 weeks of summer baseball season go by slow or too fast?

For me it flies by! I get a little sad after Fourth of July because I know the season is half over and they will be going home soon.

How do you handle the situation when the players leave at the end of the season knowing they won’t be back?

Well, I do not think of it as a “situation”. It just is what it is. There is life beyond the Sharks and baseball and I still know that person. They are usually excited to go home and see family and friends as well as getting back to school and their teams. Therefore, it is bittersweet because I know they are going off to do something fun that they love but I will miss them. Of course, sometimes you get lucky and you do get them back.


Dianne Powers (Host Mon for 2 years)

When did you first hear about the Sharks?

Jess Burnham and I work together and during the inaugural year (2011) she asked if I was interested and I didn’t think I was at that time. I did offer to temporarily house one of the coaches and possibly his wife, but permanent housing was found.  I went to a couple of games that year but not with the idea of getting as involved as I am now.

Nik Campero and Cheryl Sashin

Nik Campero and Cheryl Sashin

What intrigued you to become a host family?

Again, I can thank Jess Burnham.  During that inaugural year she frequently shared stories and experiences with being a host family.  It was apparent that she and her family were having a great time, sharing their home and lives with the players.

How did you feel about having a stranger or two in your house?

I was a bit nervous about a week before my first ‘boys’ arrived. I live alone and have for many years and was hoping that I had not made a mistake opening my home to 2 players.  That concern evaporated almost immediately which was a good thing since I ended up with 4 players my first year and 4 again this past year. I am looking forward to 4 more this year….it seems to be a number that works well for me and the house. My family, some of who thought I had lost my mind that first year now asks if there are home games on the schedule during their visits.

I am sure the players feel awkward being a visitor in a strangers house. How do you break the ice?

Food – the magic ice breaker. You get to know people fairly quickly sharing a meal or two. That and the dogs.  I have 2 large dogs who are very much apart of the house. I try to make sure that anyone coming to my home is aware that they will be living with the dogs, and it seems to have worked well.

Now that you have been a host for 2 baseball seasons, what is the best way to make a player feel at ease in your home?

Well…I think just being myself and encouraging them to treat this as their home.  I want them to be comfortable so we go over where everything is in the house and I encourage them to let me know what questions they might have.  Before they arrive I try to ask them what kinds of foods they like and have some of that available when they arrive.

Beth & Amelia Tessmer with Corey Laliberte and Mike McFerran

Beth & Amelia Tessmer with Corey Laliberte and Mike McFerran

Do players discuss with you if they are not getting playing time?

I have not had that experience.  Most of our conversations are about how they played in a certain game, what’s going on with their favorite major league teams, etc.

While it is not a requirement to feed the players, do you feed them?

I do not cook for them most mornings, but I do make sure there is food for their breakfast (cereals, eggs, etc.) and they do a great job fending for themselves when they get up.  Last year, with the earlier start of games, we had more dinners together after games than this year.  We did eat dinner together when they had an off night.  I always made sure there was something they could ‘heat n eat’ when they had away games….they were always hungry when they got home from those games.

Do other players come and hang out with the players you are hosting?

Yes and I have had a great time getting to know them as well.

Do you give the players your own house rules on day #1?

We do go over what the hard and fast rules are right away (there are not many of them) and as situations arise, if it bothers me I tell them right away.  Both years I have felt that the players respected and appreciated their living situation.

Do you still stay in contact with players that stayed in your house from the first year (2012) you were a host?

I hear periodically from a couple of the guys from 2012 and 2013 season along with a couple of the players who did not live here but came over quite often.  I hope we will continue to stay in touch.

Does the 9 weeks of the summer baseball season go by slow or too fast?

Too fast, way too fast.  I have enjoyed being a host family more than I ever could have imagined.

How do you handle the situation when the players leave at the end of the season knowing they won’t be back.

As you get to know each player, you hope that they will return for another season, and some do.  I have started both years with the knowledge that it was 9 weeks and then they would be off to going back to school.  All I hope for is that they had as great a summer as the dogs and I had and that they stay in touch. I think it is harder on the dogs; they look for them for a couple of days but then settle back into their regular routine.


Opening Day (Wednesday June 4th vs. the North Shore Navigators), which traditionally is Little League & Babe Ruth Day, is quickly approaching. All games will be played @ 7:00 PM. This game is followed up with a game against the Nashua Silver Knights who the Sharks defeated in the 2013 championship round) on Thursday June 5th.

Season reserved seats are still available for $150 and $300 for three seasons (get one season for free) or purchase a Sharks Nation reserved seat for $1,000 for three seasons, which includes food at every game plus other gifts.



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