With soft spots for youth and sports, and an almost finished basement, my family of four took the leap this summer and invited two Martha’s Vineyard Sharks college baseball players to live with us.

Since everyone asks, I’ll tell you first: We don’t have to feed or chauffeur them and we don’t get paid. As former competitive athletes we have stayed with host families during tournament travel and just wanted to pass on the good will. I had heard prior host families’ testimonies about having “summer sons” who later sent wedding invitations or tickets to see them play for the White Sox. I didn’t know what to expect but figured the players would use a separate entrance and we would probably catch a game or two. We are blessed with a full life and were not looking for anything in return.

We scrambled to build a shelf, order window shades, and cinch up lingering projects so Alan and Tom, both rising seniors at Florida Southern College, would be comfortable. After posting a few requests on the MV Stuff for Sale Facebook page, we received a bed, microwave and mini-fridge from generous Islanders.

On move-in day, I laid down the law: weekly chores, no smoking or guests. Yet, an hour in, we actually had to ask the players to stop calling us ma’am and sir. Instead of spending time at the bars (like some of us did during our Vineyard college summers), they began logging serious hours at the YMCA and showing up early to batting practice for extra training.

Family life has been enriched. The day starts with some great role modeling for my children—how many college kids cook veggie omelets? Forget T. Berry Brazelton, my new parent technique is: “Alan makes his bed.”

Yesterday, when my younger son was learning to tie his shoes (tears, tears, tears), I pointed to the Sharks’ example of how much practice it takes to get good at something. Alan also gives free Spanish lessons when asked. And do you know how many petty arguments go out the window when you have an audience? No more, “Come on, Reid, it’s your turn to take out the compost!”

My biggest hesitation was the lack of privacy. But, let’s face it, parents have no privacy. And it’s been a blast to introduce them to local eats like Katama oysters and raw milk. We’ve watched Jaws, played 100 whiffle ball games and seen our Island through fresh eyes. We’ve bonded fast as roomies do — someone in the family even added a column to our Summer Bucket List: “Things to do with Alan and Tom.”

We have a few weeks left to explore Chappy, jump off the bridge and fish.

The players have also educated us on the finer points of Instagram and Snapchat. Did you know you can get a snap-streak going after 60 consecutive days? This means a relationship is solid.

Halfway through this summer, we found ourselves inviting their families to return for the playoffs (fingers crossed) and offering the players an extension on their stay.

I'm not going to lie, my favorite moment was after Tom carried my heaviest bag down the Lambert’s Cove path and then offered to watch my kids at the beach so I could lie down.

We have surprised ourselves by using our complimentary seasons tickets to attend at least one game a week. During games we miss, my youngest son insists on checking the score throughout the night. During one game, I confessed to another host family, “We couldn’t do this again. These guys are the best.”

The woman responded, “I say that every year and I have been doing this for six years. They are all great.”

I will admit, I love a full house. I have dreamed of having a bed and breakfast, exchange students, fresh air fund kids and foster children. But I’ve never stepped up until now.

It’s easy to forget that giving is one of the most enriching things a person can do. The giver winds up wealthier for it. Here I am, with more basement projects finished, more in touch with my dreams, and so excited to bring my sons in their Sharks T-shirts to see two great guys play ball!

Host families are still needed. If interested contact Russ Curran at 508-508-813-0380 or russ.curran@mvsharks.com.