Countless issues and concerns go into serving as host of a recreational World Series tournament.
There are game schedules, umpires, weather and facilities, just to name a few.
More importantly, there are 12 teams with children and coaches who are usually visiting a community that is new to them.
That's where host families or individuals can ease the burden.
"These teams will be coming from states like Tennessee or Mississippi, and a lot of them don't necessarily have a big fan base," said Christi DeLoach, the athletic coordinator for the Columbia County Recreation Department.
The county is this year's host of the Ponytails Softball World Series for girls ages 11-12. The tournament will be held July 31 through Aug. 5, with opening ceremonies July 30.
The Dixie Youth organization has a program set up to find families or individuals to serve as hosts for teams.
Responsibilities include greeting the team members once they get into town, showing the team around the county, making sure the team has access to ice for coolers, and helping the team with laundering uniforms.
Basically, a host will help the team with whatever it needs.
"It gives a local family a chance to have contact with some folks from another state," said recreation department Athletic Supervisor Ken Warner. "With some of the ways Columbia County is laid out, the amenities are spread out. It's good to have somebody you can ask questions."
Hosts need not worry about feeding or housing team members; the county handles those aspects. As part of the bid process to get the World Series, a county must cover the cost of lodging and meals for each team.
DeLoach has traveled with Columbia County teams to World Series in the past. She said one positive aspect about having a host family is that often the family becomes instant fans.
Having gotten to know the team, the hosts cheer on their "home" team.
"They'll take you under their wing and show you a good time," DeLoach said. "It's nice to have somebody to help you out."
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