Updated: Oct 23, 2018
Veterans 57 to 92 Years of Age
Playing for the Love of the Game, Health and One Another
Playing for the Love of the Game and One Another…
Four years ago, a group of residents at the Veterans Home of Yountville started a softball team for vets, naming themselves the Mixed Nutts. Upon learning of the program, The Tug McGraw Foundation (TMF) ‘adopted’ the team, and today, it’s one of their flagship quality-of-life programs at the home. Twenty-four players make up the team’s roster, with the oldest player being WWII veteran, Bob Bischoff (at 92 years-young), who serves as the team’s ‘bat man’ and designated hitter. The Mixed Nutts play ball at the home’s historic Borman Field Stadium, wearing replica 1915 vintage uniforms that were once worn by the semi-pro team back at the turn of the century. At Borman Field, there is no fear of a strikeout. They play for the love of the game. Every week is an opportunity to get some exercise, have some fun and recapture some of their youth.
Some of the veteran players have beaten incredible odds of homelessness or war injuries, making their “step up to the plate” even more meaningful. These teammates play with purpose and heart. They say the friendships they make transcend time, and new friendships help them with the loss of their buddies who never came home from the battlefield. And for TMF, giving back to others [in this way] gives them profound purpose.
New for this 2018 season, the team drafted more all-stars including ten young adults with special needs. Practice is each Friday, with game day every Monday at 5pm. As part of TMF’s support, each resident is offered a meal from the “Snack Shack” and the opportunity to participate in weekly free raffles. This month, residents won tickets to Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s summer concert, coffee makers, pillows, watches, and even an opportunity to name a new chicken for the Brain Food Garden!
Overall, TMF’s support of the Mixed Nutts program has provided more than 2500 meals, increased exercise for 75 veterans, and delivered 70 hours+ of socialization time for veteran spectators and members of the community. With the simplicity of a bat, ball and glove, this team demonstrates why it's so important to appreciate life, encourage others and laugh while doing it!
About the Tug McGraw Foundation’s Mixed Nutts Program
Through America’s favorite pastime sport, The Mixed Nutts is one of Tug McGraw Foundation's signature wellness programs—connecting veterans with one another as well as with the greater community. TMF's mission is to educate locals about the Veterans Home of Yountville, build relationships across generations, empower residents, encourage exercise, and overall, promote a higher quality of life at the home.
Part of our objective is also to share with residents the powers of physical activity and socialization and why they are so critical to overall brain health. Exercise helps with memory and thinking through both direct and indirect means. Direct benefits of exercise on the brain include its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—which includes chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells. Indirectly, exercise improves mood and sleep, and reduces stress and anxiety. While socializing with others in a face-to-face manner, can help boost feelings of well-being and decrease symptoms of depression. Carving out time for companionship can help people feel less isolated, stigmatized and anxious.
Through the Mixed Nutts program, everyone who participates (player or spectator, young or old) is making a significant difference in his or her overall wellness.