Congress Street Shuts Down for Three Hours While Local Kids
Play Game of Stickball – (Portsmouth, NH) –
9 year-old Cal Blomquist stares in menacingly. Cal is the biggest of the neighborhood kids and the best pitcher by far. Catcher Pete Wedeman puts down two fingers (the curve).
Cal spits, shakes his head, and continues to stare.
Wedeman puts down four fingers (the change).
Cal shakes it off.
“Gimme the heat!” batter Timmy Robinson squeals impatiently.
Cal smiles and punches his glove, “You got it buddy.”
Cal hurls the neon green tennis ball towards home plate like a lightning bolt. Timmy closes his eyes and swings with every ounce of energy in his body, falling hard to the ground. The ball connects with a sharp plop and soars majestically over the roof of North Church, just to the left of the spire. Fair ball. Homerun.
Hundreds of spectators storm the makeshift field on Market Square as Timmy Robinson rounds the bases. Timmy’s team greets him at home plate with cheers, hugs, and noogies. The team hoists Timmy onto their shoulders while the crowd chants in unison, ‘TIM – ME, TIM – ME, TIM – ME.’
This was the site at Market Square last Thursday as the East-Portsmouth ‘Awesome Dudes’ defeated the West-Portsmouth ‘Rockets’ 7-6. The two teams arrived in the square at 12:45 P.M. and quickly assembled their field. Motorists were baffled as the kids began to stretch and take batting practice on the street in front of North Church. The first pitch was thrown at 1:00 P.M. and the heat was on.
Police were called in, but soon realized the significance of the game, and kept their distance. “We arrived on the scene and quickly recognized the gravity of the game,” said Police Chief Steven DuBois in a post-game interview. “The Rockets/Awesome Dudes rivalry will go down in history. It’s the stuff of legend.”
Motorists began reluctantly shutting down their vehicles once police starting painting faces with their respective team’s colors. “They should have closed down this street (Congress St.) to traffic years ago, it’s clearly better suited for pedestrian traffic and stickball,” DuBois continued. “Who the hell doesn’t love stickball?” Following the completion of the game and ensuing parade, most vehicles were abandoned or overturned.
Local businesses took to the streets as the game took on a ‘fair atmosphere’. The Portsmouth Health Food Store offered free organic smoothies to the Rockets, while Breaking New Grounds backed the Awesome Dudes with double-fudge cookies. 30 businesses in total took to the street.. “Why the hell didn’t we didn’t do this sooner? I love stickball!” a shirtless spectator shouted from a rooftop perch.
The crowd of spectators grew to several thousand as the game reached the ninth inning. Dover resident Ben Troy who hit the massive traffic jam en route to a pedicure had this to say, “This is literally the most fun I have ever had, in my entire life.” Ben and most other spectators could be seen weeping at the end of the game just as little Timmy Robinson rounded the trashcan lid used as third base, capping off the most exciting event this reporter will ever see.
- George Fakeface
Photos are courtesy of Tina Marney. You can view the rest of her work here, www.tinamarney.com
The lineup for the 2013 festival
Brett West (MA)
Jonah Tolchin (NJ)
Dan Blakeslee (MA)
Guy Capecelatro III (NH)
Anthony Caligagan (France)
People Skills (NH)
Rick Rude (NH)
Happy Jawbone Family Band (VT)
Fire Tower (NH)
Moonlight Nightgown Squad (NY and NH)
Art by Sam Paolini, Ryan Harrison, and Joel Kutylowski
– along with other fantastical installations by the Pratt family.