CCRC signed to host ballplayers again

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South Bend Cubs pitchers Wyatt Short and Jared Cheek greet their new neighbors at St. Paul's at an April 21 reception. (Photo: St. Paul's)
South Bend Cubs pitchers Wyatt Short and Jared Cheek greet their new neighbors at St. Paul's at an April 21 reception. (Photo: St. Paul's)

St. Paul's, a South Bend, IN, continuing care retirement / life plan community, once again is serving as home to players from the South Bend Cubs during baseball season.

Jared Cheek of Athens, GA, a pitcher for the Class A minor league affiliate of the World Series champion Chicago Cubs, and pitcher Wyatt Short of South Haven, MS, moved in at the beginning of April.

St. Paul's, part of the Saint Joseph Health System, hosted three players — Craig Brooks, Tanner Griggs and Carson Sands — last year. Two additional players lived at Holy Cross Village of Notre Dame, a CCRC sponsored by the Brothers of Holy Cross.

“We didn't really know what to expect last year,” South Bend Cubs President Joe Hart. “But the players had an instant, built-in family to support them all season long, and in return they provided some intergenerational experiences most of us don't ever get the chance to do. With the huge success, it just made sense for us to continue this unique partnership.”

St. Paul's held a welcome brunch April 21, where the players were introduced to the residents of the community by Hart and the team mascot, Stu the Bear.

“The success of bringing two generations together last year offered new learning experiences for everyone,” Shari Binkley, executive director at St. Paul's. “It was such a rewarding summer that it was a given to invite two more players into our community for the season. Staying connected to each other and the larger community is an important part of healthy aging.”

Since the move, Cheek and Short already have become part of the fabric at St. Paul's, according to the community. Cheek even shared his musical talents, treating a group of residents to a private piano concert.

“For six to seven months out of the year, we are far away from our families,” he said. “Being a part of this senior community doesn't make it so hard to be away from them during the season.”

He and Short are planning to give residents an exclusive tour of the baseball complex.

“After hearing about living at St. Paul's from Carson and Tanner, it wasn't a hard decision,” Short said of the move. “I was excited to become a part of St. Paul's while I was away from my family in Mississippi. I wanted to build lasting friendships that I had heard so much about.”

The residents have been busy as well, planning outings to the ballpark with their customized fan club T-shirts and tracking their new neighbors' progress on a daily scoreboard posted inside the community. They've pledged to cheer them on for the entire season.

Hart told McKnight's Senior Living that two other players, pitcher Chad Hockin and catcher Tyler Payne, will be living at the Primrose Retirement Community in Mishawaka, IN.

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