CAPITAL DISTRICT They named themselves the “House of Six” —two college boys from Florida and one each from Louisiana, Kansas, Arizona and Connecticut, living together under one roof.
But it wasn’t a college dorm suite or a mix-and-match frat house. It was the home of two empty nesters in Rotterdam, Donna and Ed Shappy, who decided to play host family to six members of the Albany Dutchmen.
“I thought, our son’s grown and out of this house and … I love to have people in. I thought it would make the summer interesting and it certainly did,” said Donna Shappy. “My husband and I are in our mid-50s, so bringing six college guys into our home definitely made life different, but it was a good different.”
The Albany Dutchmen are a summer baseball league for college baseball players. The team attracts players from all around the country and matches each with a local host family to spend the summer with.
“The commitment is just to provide a home atmosphere for the boys and some meals. The team does feed them after each game but they’re going to need breakfast and lunch material,” said Denise Polsinelli, host family coordinator.
In return, each family gets free admission to Dutchmen games, can participate in Dutchmen clinics for free and is invited to “bonding” events like picnics or family fun days.
“We try to do other activities with the host families, so we bring them in as part of the Dutchmen family,” said Polsinelli.
Polsinelli said the team is still looking for about nine more host families before this season’s first pitch. Most families take one player, some take two or three, but few take on six like the Shappys.
“Five years ago, we had a house fire and lost a good part of our house and when we rebuilt it we put on some extra space. Two weeks before the guys were going to be coming I had been praying we would find a way to use these extra bedrooms,” said Shappy.