AUSTIN, Texas — It's mid-April, and Vandegrift head baseball coach Allen McGee was not expecting to be at home.
The baseball season came to a sudden stop because of the COVID-19 outbreak, so now his days are spent watching film, appearing on Zoom calls and teaching through Google Classroom.
But being stuck at home isn't so bad for the McGee family, especially when there's 11-year-old Bayleigh, 9-year-old Carmen, 7-year-old Jaxon or 5-year-old Ronny standing at home plate.
“Usually this time of the year, I never get to see my kids," McGee said. "I’ve gotten to see them more in these last three weeks than probably the last three years it seems like during baseball season.”
The McGee family starts off every day with a game of Wiffle ball.
Their home turf is quite the home-field advantage.
“We got the scoreboard, the backstop, the lines and the box that the kids painted," said McGee. "[There's] a Fenway Park replica of the Green Monster. [In] center field, we've got our grandstands. If you want to watch the game from up there, it’s a great view. Out in the right-field porch, we've got our grill going. That way you can have some food during the games.”
They've dubbed it "McGee Field of Dreams." It's a place where dreams have been answered in more ways than one.
"I knew growing up that I had always wanted to adopt a child," McGee said. "We were blessed with Ronny and Carmen. On March 19, it was the one-year anniversary that they legally became ours."
"They have taught me to be very appreciative for everything that I had growing up," he said. "And then resiliency – these kids, they’re so resilient. Some of the stuff that they've been able to overcome really has been amazing. They’ve taught us all how to be fighters."
McGee and his wife became foster parents through an organization called Starry. He said the experience has been incredibly rewarding.
"If you're scared to foster, don't be," he said. "It's such a rewarding deal not only for you, but for those kids that you're coming in contact with, helping them out through some tough times and also helping out those parents get back on their feet."
McGee didn't expect to be stuck at home during this time of the year, but he said he now considers it a blessing.
"I can't thank them enough for being in my life," he said.