The Dunston Men

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A common denominator when it comes to YOUR Boise Hawks is the fact that their father’s were the one’s to get them started in baseball. From playing tee ball to acting as the bat boy for a major league team, these boys started out with their father’s by their side. For Shawon Dunston Jr., baseball and life are one in the same between him and his father.

While it is hard to remember where it all began, Shawon Jr. says that his most vivid memory is acting as the Giants Bat Boy for the last two seasons his father, Shawon Dunston Sr., played. “Just being there with him everyday and seeing guys like Barry Bonds do what he did was pretty special.”

In the Dunston household, baseball is life. “My dad has related life and baseball together since the day I can remember.” When it comes to Shawon Jr., Shawon Sr. tries to help out mentally whenever he can. Shawon Jr. says the best advice his father has given him is “You’re in a lose lose situation. If you go 0 for 4 then you’re not good, but if you go 4 for 4, it’s because your father played. Just play hard, you are somebody and everyone is watching, so remember everything you do, people are watching close.”

Shawon Jr. started out with YOUR Boise Hawks last season but was sent back down to Mesa. Throughout the off season Twitter and Instagram posts told the story of his fight to get mentally prepared and come back strong for 2013. “While my father helped me mentally, physically I took it upon myself to work harder, put on weight, and to be prepared and ready once spring came.” While the season is just two games in, Shawon Jr. is batting .500 and proving himself on the field already.

While Shawon Jr. will not be able to see his Dad for Father’s Day as he is coaching the Giants against the Braves in Atlanta, his older sisters Whitnie and Jasmine drove down to meet him, “he’s pretty excited about that.”

Shawon Jr. says that his father has always told him he did not have to play baseball, but, “if you want to do what I did for a living, there’s going to be sacrifices you have to make.” Missing out on special days such as Father’s Day is definitely one of those sacrifices. One of his father’s favorite sayings is “you’ll have me now, but love me later.” I think that says it all.

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ZUMBA at the Ballpark

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Who would have thought, ZUMBA at the ballpark?

This past Friday YOUR Boise Hawks hosted ZUMBA at the Ballpark with Firehouse No. 6, a community wellness center located at 1620 N Liberty St. Boise, 83704. Firehouse No. 6 offers ‘pay as you go’ programs for people regardless of age, socioeconomic and cognitive impairments.

“The Firehouse is committed to producing a well-balanced healthy atmosphere that will provide a wide range of fitness activities to meet the needs of all our clients.”

YOUR Boise Hawks teamed up with Firehouse No. 6 to “provide a fitness program for everyone, from the athlete, retiree and physically or mentally impaired individual.” We provide the venue, Firehouse provides the instructors!

Firehouse No. 6 offers a variety of classes but at Memorial Stadium they put on the ZUMBA Fitness class. “ZUMBA classes feature exotic rhythms set to high-energy Latin and international beats.”

Classes are $4.00 per session with the proceeds going to Hawks Nation Charity, which goes into funding youth sports, and Firehouse No.6 to provide scholarships and aid for those who need assistance for the various programs.“It’s easy to do, effective and totally exhilarating, often building a deep-rooted community among returning students.”

Come join us!

ZUMBA at the Ballpark Schedule 2013

May 24     6PM-7PM

May 31     6PM-7PM

June 7       6PM-7PM

June 14     6PM-7PM

For more information visit http://www.boisehawks.com or http://www.firehouse6.com.

Life and Baseball

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What is baseball? To some people baseball comes off as boring, slow and “easy,” lacking both physical contact and physical ability. To others it is just a bat, a ball, two teams and a field. To me it is a tradition. It is entertainment and family fun, and for the most part, affordable. To me it is a bat, a ball, two teams and a field but it is also the ONE sport that time CAN’T touch. There is no clock counting down time to the end of the game, it is timeless. The ball is pitched, the batter swings, it’s a hit, a strike or an out, and the round-a-bout routine keeps going. The game is played until it is all said and done. Faith, hope, blood, sweat and tears are all poured into this sport just like any other … and life.

As I like to say, “They say there is no crying in baseball, so how come it is the only sport that can make me cry?” You never know what’s going to happen. It is like life in that sense. First you are up and then you are down. You put your all into one thing. One moment you are cheering for the good and then you get down on the bad, but win or lose you keep going. There is no giving up; you fight until the final out, whether that is in the 9th inning or the 20th. In life it is the same, you take the good with the bad, cheer for the good times and cry for the sad but you keep going.

Growing up I loved watching my big brother and cousins playing ball, as well as my grandpap in church league ball, the oldest player on the team and MVP. It was as much inspirational as it was fun. It was something I felt like I always shared with them. At the time it obviously taught me nothing. I was just a young girl running around a ball park, but looking back is when it all hits you. The importance of being committed to something, having fun, finding the passion and pushing through any struggle that may arise.

Watching the young fans this summer brought back a million memories. For our host families there is already that connect. The memories, the players, the staff, family time, etc, they come to most all of the games and cheer on their “host sons and brothers.” For the other children in the ballpark there was a glimpse of what memories could be made. Coming to the ballpark is more than just the boys on the field or the stadium the game is being played in. I don’t want anyone to miss what is taking place at the ballpark because they are too focused on what a new stadium might be like or what a winning team feels like.

Just like my description of baseball, Memorial Stadium, as well as any other, can be described in a million ways. To some Memorial Stadium may be run down, old and boring but to others, like me, it is not what you see from the outside that matters. The stadium is like a human, the importance doesn’t lie on the looks of the outside, it lies in what is happening on the inside. The walls may be old, your seats may be in the sun, but the memories are what matter most, the player/fan interaction, the hotdog slingshot, the Kids Park, fireworks, etc. In the moment it’s not as clear, but like I said, it is when you look back that things hit you. I don’t remember what the walls looked like, how comfortable the seats were or how the field compared to others. I don’t even remember who won what game, or whether or not the team I was cheering for was a winning or losing team. What I do remember is cheering for my brother as he hit a homerun, clapping as my grandpap rounded the bases, and the forts my friends and I made in the woods around the ballpark, that is what matters most, the lifetime memories. The flaws of the stadium are not flaws at all; they simply add character to the place and the experience itself. I urge you to look past the materialistic makeup of what is around you and instead, think about what is going on inside.

Itching for the Big Leagues

YOUR Boise Hawks have had a great season here with the Cubs organization but what lies ahead is what may be on the minds of fans. Many of the boys have already started to tweet pictures of their bags packed and ready as well as talking about getting home. Where will YOUR Boise Hawks be this fall and winter or even next year? I plan to keep in touch and let you all know what lies ahead for YOUR Boise Hawks but for now I want to see what these guys are waiting for most at home.

For Tayler Scott, from South Africa, it is the food. He has been lucky enough to have his family here to support him this season but he misses the food in South Africa. “Won’t be home until December, but looking forward to the food and I’ll probably go eat first thing!” His go to food here is chicken but at home he enjoys the seafood most.

Eddie Orozco, from California, is all about family, family first all of the time. “Looking forward to seeing all of my loved ones number one. My bed. California. First thing I’m going to do off the plane is go to In n Out on my way home to see everyone. No fall ball for me just gotta show up to spring training.” Orozco loves baseball and what he does on and off of the field, but missing his family and missing out on his niece growing up is the hard part.

Rock Shoulders, from Florida, also misses family time. “I am looking forward to seeing my family the most so the first thing I’m going to do is take my dad and mom out to dinner.” He has also planned a few beach trips and possibly a cruise with his close friends.

Trey Martin, from Georgia, can’t wait to get back to family and food. “Eating Zaxby’s, Atlanta’s Best Wings. Seeing family and friends. The first thing is to beat my little brother in FIFA and I will be in the instructional Arizona League this fall.”

Fall ball or no fall ball these guys will be back whether it is here in Boise or with another team. I will keep you all updated from my blog throughout the offseason if you would like updates visit highheelsandhighlights.wordpress.com.

Thank you all for a great season and I look forward to keeping in touch!

-Courtney

YOUR 2012 BOISE HAWK AWARD WINNERS

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At Saturday night’s game we announced the MVP, Cy Young and Community Players of the Year. We ended up having 2 MVP’s, Daniel Vogelbach and Stephen Bruno, Cy Young, Tayler Scott, and 2 Community Players of the Year, Michael Heesch and Eddie Orozco.

Bruno and Vogelbach were fortunate enough to have their father’s here to share in the moment receiving their awards and were both happy to accept them. Bruno’s father, Steve Bruno, said that he feels very privileged for the opportunity that the Cubs have given his son.

Scott had one of the best season’s anyone could ask for and was also lucky to have his parents here to see him receive his award. He is a young player from South Africa who moved to the states, alone, when he was just 16 years old. His mother and father have been here to support him throughout most of the season. “It felt great winning it my first year with the Cubs. Couldn’t ask for a better season and I’m grateful and excited to have won the Cy Young this year.”

Elizabeth Griffin and I had the opportunity to award a Community Player of the Year award but we weren’t able to pick just one. We had 2 guys who were always willing to go on appearances, offered to do autographs and read for the KeyBank Reading Tree events. Not only were they willing to make the appearance but they did it with smiles on their face and positive attitudes. It was always apparent that they wanted to be working with the children and talking with fans! Michael Heesch and Eddie Orozco stole the hearts of many, especially one little boy, Phoenix, who I liked to call their “biggest fan” at the KeyBank Reading Tree events.

“It’s an honor to receive an award for the off the field aspect of this game because we are in a position, as players, to go out and positively influence the lives of others as well as give back to the community that is supporting us. This award shows the positive influence of my family and UCR on my life to go out and give back to the others and the community and it’s something that I really enjoy to do.” Orozco has a 7 ½ month niece at home he is anxious to get back to as well as his mother, brother, 2 sisters, a brother-in-law and a sister-in-law.

Tonight is the start of the best-of-three Northwest League East Divisional Series. We take on the Yakima Bears in hopes of winning the first series and moving forward to the final championship!

YOUR Boise Hawks are In Bloom with St.Luke’s Children’s Hospital

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YOUR Boise Hawks have been patiently waiting for their trip to St.Lukes Children’s Hospital and it finally happened yesterday. Michael Heesch, Stephen Bruno and Dan Vogelbach went to St.Lukes and visited with the children on the fourth floor. They handed out hats, baseballs, helmets, balloons, foam fingers (Bruno’s favorite) and flower arrangements that the boys put together themselves at In Bloom Tuesday morning.

Vogelbach along with Nathan Dorris, Hunter Ackerman and Rock Shoulders all went to In Bloom where they learned the proper way to arrange flowers and the importance of giving back to the community. Host mom, Diane Laubengayer, put together this fun activity and was their teacher for the day. For Shoulders the importance of this trip was “just trying to keep the children happy and hopefully giving them the strength to pull through the tough days.” While some children might only be in the hospital a short time, others are there for long-term treatment for up to a year.

The trip to St.Lukes started in the Play Room where there is an inside play area as well as a rooftop playground with bouncy balls, teeter-totter, and a play house. The boys played kick ball with one little boy and spent time with the families. Vogelbach was excited to see the first little girl come in; he immediately went for his flower arrangement and gave it to her. I have never seen a smile so big, both on the face of the little girl and on her father’s.

We also got to meet a teenage boy who has grown up in a family of soccer players. He just started playing baseball last year and is a right handed pitcher, he was extra excited to meet Heesch. His first question was “What is your best advice for a pitcher?” The response he got, “Never let yourself have a bad day, and throw strikes!”

The visit seemed to open the hearts and minds of the players, Humphrey, and the staff who went along on the visit. The children’s hospitals are close to my heart and I encourage all of you to take the time and show your appreciation for someone today!

Randomly Reminiscing

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Sitting around the conference table last week, the other staff members and I started laughing about memories from this season, Wilson Contreras doing the Dougie, Humphrey doing the Dougie, practical jokes, etc. We talked about the walk off homeruns, the road trips, etc. I tend to give insight on the players and their lives on and off of the field, but what about HawksTown USA as a whole, players, fans and staff alike?

As I am sure it can be assumed, Jeimer Candelario, or J.Candy’s, walk off homerun was at the top of everyone’s list for the highlights of the 2012 season. At the top of my list was being dared by my boss, President and GM Todd Rahr, to call Candelario J. Candy out on the field. I did it and it stuck! For the players it seemed to be the walk off wins, road trips, and the first career homeruns for some that highlighted their season together.

Fans seemed to enjoy the walk offs just as much but two fans had specifics. According to Daniel Hart, the best part of the 2012 season was when Contreras taught the crowd how to Dougie during his post-game interview on the field, this would also be one of my highlights. For Jessica Jones it was her 4th of July proposal here at Memorial Stadium that will forever be a season and lifetime highlight.

For Thomas Wolff, one of our Ticket Sales Assistants, the highlight of the season was Coach Mark Johnson being tossed. “I like when the coach yells then goes bye bye … but on a serious note, Mark Johnson’s dedication to the ballclub has been my favorite memory. With many questionable calls by the umpires, Mark Johnson has consistently showed his support through his animated arguments to the point where he had to be removed from the game. Go Hawks!”

For others of us, it was a little girl full of energy and love, Megan Johnson, Mark Johnson’s daughter. She was only here for the first half of the season but she touched many hearts in the time she was with us here in Boise, especially Jinny Giery, Elizabeth Griffin and I. My favorite memory would have to be going down before the post-game interviews and talking to her for the last 2 innings, whether she was stealing my phone, playing with my hair or drawing on my notepad, she was a joy to be around, we all miss her.

Many of us also enjoy the fireworks. For one, we have the best fireworks in town and two it’s a great way to celebrate a Hawks win! Elizabeth loves this promotion the most. “I love the Fireworks nights! The fans love it and it is a great feeling when the show is over and they scream and clap!”

Other memories are a little less serious and a little more comical. “I liked when Elizabeth tried to see if the magnet still worked after the rain storm during Blues, Brews, and BBQ.”This would be Greg Marconi’s highlight of the season, so I will have to let you ask him more about that, it is a funny story, I suggest that you take the time to ask him for more details!

Jake Abbott, in the press box, has a different view of things. He had a few highlights including “When Casey announced Marco Hernandez as Marco Polo. Thomas doing the Hair Guitar all alone… you killed it by the way Thomas! JD getting punk’d with the North Boise Little League games on Sunday’s in the fall and Elizabeth ordering a mojito.” While two of these are self explanatory the last two may need to be explained, but again, I will let you ask about it! I am positive Jake would love to share with you.

Mike Safford, our radio broadcaster, had a tough decision. Mike travels with the team, so he had a few more memories to choose from.  “1. Sitting on the side of I-84 for six hours on our way to Spokane, 2. My trip to the Pacific Ocean in July (team is 19-10 since), 3. Eating Sweet & Spicy Wings nearly every night with Hal the Bus Driver at Applebee’s on the road, 4. – PJ calling Bill Buckner Buck Billner”

Overall Staff Favorites

“J.Candys’s walk off win.” – Staff

“Totally empty stadium, “Call Me Maybe” playing over the loud speaker, and Gregory Marconi in the press box dancing… then announcing, “Now batting, number #25, Shaun Cooper!” – Staff (ask to see the video)

“When the crowd encouraged one of our young anthem singers to keep going.” –Staff

 “Ann Hutton sharing her dance moves.” –Staff

“Jinny falling in the Diamond Club and Elizabeth’s uncontrollable laughing about it.” –Staff

“Boise Hawks Pizza Boy … Todd Rahr.” – Staff