Dennis Garcia and Trent Goree in 2004. After housing Trent for three summers when he played for the Asheboro Copperheads, Goree and his family have become part of the Garcia family.
By Dennis Garcia
Asheboro Copperheads General Manager
ASHEBORO – At first, I was a bit nervous. Scared? No. Worried? Maybe a bit.
The year was 1999 and with a new Coastal Plain League team in Asheboro, players from that very first team needed a place to stay for the season. Owner Pat Brown, who with his investors purchased a team for Asheboro, had to find housing for his players for the summer. As the sports editor for The Courier-Tribune newspaper, I was in constant contact with Brown over a myriad of things, including finding host families. Brown asked me if it would be possible for me to house a player for the summer.
It’s not up to me, I remember saying. You will have to ask my wife, Kellie.
We don’t own the biggest house in the neighborhood, on our street or even on our block. But the thought of having a collegiate player staying with Kellie, me and my 12-year-old baseball-fanatic son, Chris, was intriguing. I really don’t think it took a lot of convincing before Kellie agreed to the “tryout” of having one player stay with us for the summer.
As a member of the Coastal Plain League, all of the Copperhead players are student-athletes, currently enrolled in college and participating in college baseball. All CPL players are unpaid and retain their amateur status, so host families are required to provide a clean, private place to sleep, a shower and laundry facilities. You can include that player in whatever family functions you wish throughout the course of the summer.
Brown selected Matt Brown, a corner infielder/catcher from Brevard, to stay with us. It wasn’t long before Matt became part of the family.
To say that first year went well would be an understatement. The proof of that: Steve Carter, Brent Long, Daryl Whitmer, Trent Goree, Jon Smith, Brian DeVillers and Chris England, all Copperheads players or coaches who stayed with us during the following summers. Actually, the list should read Trent Goree, Trent Goree, Trent Goree. He stayed with us for three straight summers while playing for Asheboro in 2002, ’03 and ’04.
All were great kids and fit in well at the house. While we certainly stayed in touch with most of the players for a while, time took its toll and we have drifted apart.
Except for Trent. We still can’t get rid of him.
Actually, Trent is still a big part of our family. We talk at times throughout the year and get special calls on Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. He’ll never know how good that makes us feel. He is married and living in Texas with his wife, Rachel, and two beautiful children (Emma and Stephen), one daughter and one son.
Every conversation ends the same way: We have to get out there to see you. Although we have talked to Emma and Stephen via Facetime, we have never met them and as Trent said to us just last week, “You have to come meet your grandchildren.”
Hosting players has provided so many laughs and provided so many memories throughout the years. It was an incredible experience and so beneficial to Chris as well. It is certainly something I would love to do again.
Kellie, what do you think?