As I sit here this morning, I have just read the headlines in the paper about the host family shortage for the Babe Ruth World Series.
It saddens me because I have been a ''host mom'' many times. And each experience was better than the one before.
I was terrified the first time in 1990, unsure how it would work out, especially because I have three children of my own. But upon the arrival of my three boys from inner city Oakland, Calif., my doubts were erased.
They were as terrified as I was. I could see it in there eyes, so as most moms do, I swallowed hard, smiled, gave them a hug, and reassured them that it was going to be great. And it was.
They were 13 years old and a long ways from home. Sure they kept me hopping, but I was laughing and loving every minute of it. Since that time, we have been to their homes in California. We still keep in touch with them.
So my career as a host mom only expanded after that. In 1997 we had two boys from Weimer, Texas. And then, believe it or not, in 2000, one of the boys, Matt Targac returned to Jamestown as a Jammer. We got the call from him wanting to know if he could stay with us. We were just so excited, but he got here and was quickly traded to the Kansas City Royals. We were so disappointed.
Babe Ruth 13-Year-Old World Series
Host families adopt the players for the duration of the tournament providing meals, lodging, transportation, entertainment, cheerleading and tons of tender loving care. For an application, see Page A-7. For more information, see www.jamestownworldseries.com.
Then in 2005 we traveled to Austin, Texas, to attend his wedding. We are still in touch with him.
In 1995 we had players from Moses Lake, Wash. It was love at first sight with my Ben Kayser. Such a great kid he was and he got along so well with my own son. Ben was the winning pitcher and what a celebration. His parents, Jerry and Rhonda, and his sister, Mindy, were in town for the entire time and so we met them as well.
They treated us like we were his family and they still do. Ben left here to go to college in Illinois and played baseball. He graduated and went into the Army. We went to his wedding in Clearwater, Fla., and sat at the family table. Shortly after that he was deployed to Iraq. His mom and I cried the same tears and had the same worries. We did hear from him regularly through email, and when we did not we would immediately get in touch with Rhonda, or his wife, Betts.
He is now a captain and is stationed in North Carolina and has two of the most beautiful daughters, Grace and Bella. We hear from him or Betts or his parents regularly.
I know that if Ben could make it back here he would. He often asks if this is the year of a world series. So you see, Ben's heart is still here.
I guess what I want to say to all MOM'S out there is, ''go for it.'' Open your home up to some young boys who are as unsure as you are and they might just capture your heart. You see, the community sees things in dollars and cents, but to me the love you receive in return is what really makes sense.
That is what Babe Ruth Baseball is all about to me.