Keystone Place at Buzzards Bay hosted the Wareham Gatemen organization Friday, August 3, for the Gatemen end of the season BBQ.
This is the first year Keystone Place has been a sponsor for the Gatemen organization. Gatemen players visited Keystone Place throughout the season to join the residents in conversation and a variety of activities.
While the BBQ was mostly dedicated to the Gatemen organization and its accomplishments from the regular season, it was also a time to recognize the strong relationship the Gatemen organization and Keystone Place had built throughout the season.
Austin Shenton, a Gatemen player, and Gloria Ternullo, a Keystone resident, pose for a photo during the Gatemen end of the season BBQ at Keystone Place. (Photo by Caroline O'Connor)
Tim Eldredge, Executive Director of Keystone Place, spoke about the relationship between the residents and Gatemen players.
“[The residents] really look forward to the times the players come over and they do the Wii bowling, play corn hole or even just sit and chat with them,” Eldredge said. “A lot of these folks have sons, daughters, grandchildren that are the players’ age and so when they can kind of relate to those people and really build relationships, I think that is important.”
Hannah Ameen, both a community relations coordinator with the Gatemen and a life enrichment assistant with Keystone Place, offered a unique perspective from both sides. Ameen stated that both organizations are like a home away from home for both the residents and players showing that they have more in common than they might think.
“These residents come to keystone and it instantly becomes their new home and become part of the Keystone family,” Ameen said. “These players come from all over the United States to the Wareham area, and are treated like family immediately.”
“I think the players really enjoy hearing the stories from the residents about their lives and I know the residents enjoy hearing about the players’ lives as well,” Ameen added.
A recent event that really seemed to strengthen the relationship between the Gatemen and Keystone organizations was Keystone Night at the ballpark. Eldredge even got the opportunity to throw out the first pitch with his daughter.
“My daughter will be three in October, so that’s a moment I will cherish forever with my daughter,” Eldredge said. “Going out there was incredible, just to see the smile on her face, and we had our residents there too so it was just beautiful.”
While that night only solidified the relationship between both organizations, it was all the community service events leading up to that night that helped build the relationship.
Gatemen players visited Keystone Place throughout the season to partake in various activities with the residents such as karaoke, cookie baking, corn hole, and even just to chat as well as many other activities.
Easton Lucas, a pitcher for the Gatemen, stated his favorite event from this past season was bingo.
“Bingo was fun,” Lucas said. “My favorite thing was probably sitting at the bingo table and I was talking to a couple of the residents and getting to know them and they were getting to know me and it was just a lot of fun.”
However, the event that really kicked things off for these two organizations was when the residents challenged the players to a game of Wii bowling.
“It was the first time not sitting in a circle and having the players go around and talk about themselves and their baseball careers,” Ameen said. “We arrived, went up to the theater room, and immediately the residents started telling the Gatemen players ‘they were going down’ and ‘they better bring their A game.’”
Jack Ralston, a pitcher for the Gatemen, enjoyed the Wii bowling event the most out of all them.
“It was a lot of fun because we got to have a little competition and the residents even talked a little trash, so that was a lot of fun,” Ralston said.
“We all thought they were going to be average at bowling and have it be an easy win for the Gatemen,” Ameen said. “After they kept bowling strike after strike I think the players realized they had their work cut out for them.”
“That moment stuck out to me because the Wii bowling competition was the connection between both the residents and the players and it brought so many memories, laughs, and smiles that day,” Ameen added.
In the end, it was all just fun and games, but it was also the beginning of a great relationship.
“I think that both the players and residents truly enjoy the company of each other,” Ameen said. “Working at Keystone part time and with the Gatemen I hear from both ends how much both the residents and players enjoy the events and how much fun they have had throughout the season.”
Eldredge spoke at the BBQ about the impact the players have on the residents and the residents on the players.
“I think it’s nothing but a positive impact the players have on the residents and vice versa,” Eldredge said. “A lot of [the residents] are baseball fans, so just to talk with these guys who probably a lot of them are going to go pro makes a difference to them. Seeing the Gatemen come in you could kind of expect some 20-year-old would not really care too much to interact in this kind of atmosphere, but they’ve all been great really.”
“This is the first year we’ve done this sponsorship and we’re definitely going to continue it as long as the Gatemen organization allows us to,” Eldredge added.
As for Gatemen baseball action, the first home game of the playoffs for the Gatemen is tonight, August 5, after a rainout yesterday evening, August 4. The Gatemen will be taking on the Cotuit Kettleers with first pitch slated for 6:30pm on Spillane Field.