HENRICO, Va. — Robert Gyurjan says he is fortunate.
And he is … if good fortune means driving 500 miles from home and paying for a hotel room where you can work late into the night on a computer keyboard.
"i'm lucky enough that I can work remotely," Gyurjan said while watching his son Sam and his teammates practice on the baseball field at Hermitage High School outside of Richmond. "i brought two monitors and a laptop, and once the day's activities are done, I log on and I work at night to keep up with everything."
Robert Gyurjan is part of a large group of parents and other family members who made the trip to the Old Dominion State for the 13-year-old Babe Ruth World Series.
On Thursday night, Sam Gyurjan and the Pittsfield Babe Ruth All-Stars will play in the championship semi-finals against the winner of Wednesday's game between Fargo, N.D., and Manassas, Va.
Thanks to its 3-1 record in pool play, Pittsfield Wednesday was enjoying a bye through the first round of bracket play and a day off.
For most of the parents — the ones who are not able to work remotely — the trip south has meant more than a week off from work.
"Everyone has different jobs and different situations, but Pittsfield, as a community, has been so supportive — wanting us to come down here and do well," Jessie Fried said. "And parents have to be down here in order for that to happen."
It has happened twice in about a month's time for the Pittsfield parents, who stayed down in Trumbull, Conn., for the New England Regionals (July 22-27) and again in Virginia for the World Series, which got underway on Wednesday, July 10, and concludes with Friday's championship game.
"That's a lot of hotel rooms," John Mullen noted.
"And it's a lot to plan at the last minute for people with jobs and kids that we all like to really schedule in advance," Fried continued. "But we felt like this could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the kids, so you move things around and juggle and make things work."
Most of the parents' day jobs, of course, are not the kind that can transition to remote work. John Mullen, for example, is an operating room nurse.
"My boss basically gave me a week off at a tough time to take off," he said. "It's rough. But some of my co-workers covered some of my shifts, and they were able to give me a few days off."
Missy Ferris jumped in.
"Everyone has been just: 'What do you need? What can we do to help? What can we do to get you there?' " Ferris said.
She is one of three educators among the parents, so summer travel was somewhat easier to fit into her schedule. But she is thankful for the time off that her husband's employer was able to give Ed Ferris, who on Monday morning was "pitching in" by throwing batting practice to take some of the pressure off the team's coaching staff.
Whether it is organizing team outings or chauffeuring the players to and from games and practices or giving full-throated support from the stands, the Pittsfield Babe Ruth families are integral to the team's World Series run.
And that includes the family members who could not make the trip to be here in person.
"Some kids are left home because they have other commitments," Fried said.
"Siblings haven't gotten enough credit," Ferris continued. "Some of them have tagged along for every tournament and have been there to support their siblings. Others have not. Our daughter is home because she plays football, and she can't miss practice. She stayed home with her grandparents.
"It's the family support, and family becomes a village. And the community support has been great."
The team's fan base extends all the way back up the eastern seaboard to central Berkshire.
"There's people who, I'm sure, haven't watched a youth baseball game in years, but now they're into it and they're watching it and commenting [on social media]," Ferris said.
"My mom has been watching our dogs for the week and watching the games," Fried added.
And for the ones who did make the nine-hour drive and checked into the hotel for a nine-night stay? It was worth every minute.
"Between eating and fuel prices ... and it's just exhausting to sleep in a hotel room," Gyurjan said. "You're not in your own house, sleeping in your own bed. It takes a toll on everybody.
"But they're already in the top four teams in the United States. So anything else is a bonus after this. They already accomplished what we thought they would."
iBerkshires.com's coverage of the Babe Ruth World Series is sponsored by General Dynamics.
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