- Associated Press - Thursday, April 14, 2016

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Most people live at retirement communities at the end of their careers.

But two of the newest residents at St. Paul’s Retirement Community - Carson Sands, 21, and Craig Brooks, 23 - are just starting their careers. Sands and Brooks are pitchers for the South Bend Cubs.

Like so many minor league baseball players, Sands and Brooks needed an affordable place to stay during this season, which started April 7. So, when the offer to stay at a St. Paul’s studio apartment in the independent living section at no charge came up, Sands and Brooks gladly accepted.

How is the inter-generational living arrangement going after a week? So far so good, according to the players and the senior residents.

“My family is about 13 hours away, and being here, they treat you like family. You’re at home. You have neighbors. It’s good to have them to talk to and hang out with,” Sands said during a welcome brunch thrown for the players Tuesday at St. Paul’s. Sands is from Tallahassee, Fla.

Joan MacHatton, 85, of St. Paul’s independent living, said she welcomes the two minor leaguers - and she gave them a tip, when they moved in last week, about life at St. Paul’s.

“I did tell them at the door that they may not get enough sleep because we’re very noisy at night. I mean, we party all the time. You never know!” MacHatton said, flashing a slightly mischievous smile. “But we’ll try to keep the noise down so they can get their sleep.

“Really, we are thrilled to have them here,” she added. “It’s so nice for us residents to have young people here. We’ll be on their side, like they’re our own grandchildren.”

Sands and Brooks are likely to find that they have “400 grandmas and grandpas to live with in a home-like environment” at St. Paul’s, said Shari Binkley, executive director of the retirement community.

“Our players are living in our independent living section. They eat breakfast with our residents. They eat dinner together. They interact with our residents. So they are becoming family on a day-to-day basis,” Binkley said.

Brooks, of Monroe, N.C., said he wondered what it would be like living in a retirement community: “But when we got here, they opened their arms to us and welcomed us in. Just all the people I’ve met here have been awesome. They want to know all about us, and we want to know about them. I can’t wait to meet more of them.”

It’s the getting-to-know-one-another period which leads to valuable exchanges of experiences, insights and perspectives among the different generations that can make this living arrangement a win-win situation, South Bend Cubs President Joe Hart said.

“Our players can give back to the residents. Obviously, baseball is a generational game. There are a lot of generational Cubs fans here, especially now with the South Bend Cubs affiliate,” Hart added. “Our players can hang out and mingle. It gives this community a chance to follow two specific players throughout the course of the season and talk to them about how they played.”

As a St. Paul’s resident and self-proclaimed die-hard Chicago Cubs fan since 1940, Russell Andrews, 84, said he is thrilled to have two South Bend Cubs players living at the community. Andrews is slated to throw the ceremonial first pitch at Wednesday’s South Bend Cubs home game against Bowling Green.

“What an honor!” Andrews bellowed, donning his new Chicago Cubs signature white and blue-pinstriped jersey with a matching baseball cap.

Two other South Bend Cubs pitchers are being housed for free at Holy Cross Village of Notre Dame, according to Holy Cross Village’s CEO/President John Mauch. Those players are Michael Wagner, 24, of Las Vegas; and Scott Frazier, 24, of Upland, Calif.

Mauch said the idea of housing the young players at local senior communities came out of a breakfast meeting with South Bend Cubs officials.

“We found out that these guys arrive in town. They have to get out of their hotel room in three days, and they have no place to stay. I remembered a program of inter-generational living that was very successful, and we talked about it,” Mauch said, noting that the no-cost living arrangement at the two senior retirement communities and the South Bend Cubs came together in about three days.

Although the players will be on the road for a good portion of this season - and either practicing or working out in South Bend, there will still be time for some bonding among the players and the residents.

And rest assured, these players already have a bunch of new fans cheering for them.

“I already have their autographs because I’m sure they’re gonna be famous,” MacHatton said. “We’ll be rooting for them.”

___

Source: South Bend Tribune, https://bit.ly/1SaTvFd

___

Information from: South Bend Tribune, https://www.southbendtribune.com


Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide