By Will Desautelle
At the Little League Baseball® World Series, a team host plays the role of a parent in many different ways for the two-week period. Each of the 16 teams is grouped with two team hosts who are responsible for making sure their team is on time to all meals, practices, and helps to coordinate every other logistical element to the World Series.
For Carol Zysset and Cherie Rogers, the team hosts for Asia-Pacific, their experience as mothers has made being team hosts at the Little League World Series a perfect fit.
“We complement each other well. We already organize everything in our families as mothers, so it comes easy for us. We’re responsible for feeding our families, getting everybody where they need to go, bringing everyone together and finding things for our kids to do,” said Mrs. Zysset. “Those are all things that we’ve already done for many years, so this has been easy.”
Despite being an ideal pairing for the team host position in Williamsport, Mrs. Zysset and Mrs. Rogers are the first female team host pairing in the 73-year history of the tournament.
Mrs. Zysset has been working as a host for the Little League World Series ever since the tournament expanded to a 16-team field in 2000, but Rogers is just working her second Little League World Series.
“This has been a dream for me. Now it’s a reality and I really enjoy it because my kids were sports-oriented too,” said Mrs. Rogers. “I have two sons, and I just love the kids here and love the atmosphere.”
Although 2019 may be the first year that Mrs. Zysset and Mrs. Rogers are working side by side at the Little League World Series, the two have known each other for many years through working together on the Pennsylvania Little League District 12 Board of Directors. Often, their children played baseball against each other when they were in Little League.
For years, Mrs. Zysset had been requesting to have more females working as team hosts because the organizational skills that mothers use for their own families can easily be transferred to the responsibilities of a team host.
When Mrs. Zysset began working at the World Series in 2000, her motive was never to break into a traditionally male dominant position just because there were no females working as team hosts. Instead, it was because she just loves being around kids and baseball. She saw it as an opportunity to be around two of her favorite things, while applying what she does as a mother to help the Little Leaguers® in Williamsport.
It’s also a physical job,” said Mrs. Zysset. “As the hosts get older, myself included, you get tired, so we need to bring new people in, and I don’t want them to exclude females.”
Mrs. Rogers is glad she has been given this opportunity and working as a team host is something she wishes to continue doing in the future. With this team from South Korea that they are hosting, she and Mrs. Zysset have also learned that the team prefers to be given small doses of information at a time rather than overwhelming them with an entire outline for each day.
“It has its challenges, but at the end of the day it’s all about the kids,” said Mrs. Rogers. “Whatever the kids need to be taken care of, we do that for them.”
In South Korea, the Little Leaguers are not used to being around females in this type of role, but they have warmed up to Mrs. Zysset and Mrs. Rogers quickly. Now the South Korean Little Leaguers are referring to them as “Uncle Moms.”
“We’re their advocate. I am representing Little League, but I’m also here so that the kids have a good experience as well,” said Mrs. Zysset. ‘We want them to enjoy every aspect of everything that’s available here.”