Making light of the darkness

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I thought I’d seen it all — until the field lights stayed off at the College of Staten Island.

The lights failed to turn on during Poly Prep’s baseball clash with Monsignor Farrell on April 29 — because the circuit breaker was off.

The umpires halted play with the Blue Devils leading 4–0, but they could not stop the action on the field.

There was no moping, updating Twitter, or games of Clash of Champions on players’ phones. Instead there was creative, hilarious, and purely teenage fun through the more than one-hour delay.

It started simply and quietly with a game of tic-tac-toe on a random baseball thrown between the teams in front of their dugouts. Things escalated quickly from there, thanks to an iPhone and a speaker.

And so the dance battles began!

Players lined up on opposite sides of the field and alternated crazy moves such as The Worm, The Running Man, and The Jump Rope. Then the squads battled as groups, with members doing their best Cotton Eyed Joe and Cha Cha Slides in unison.

“I’ve seen tic-tac-toe, I haven’t seen the other stuff that they did ever before on a baseball field or anywhere,” Blue Devils third baseman Daniel Baskt said.

The only time the excitement pushed the limit was when one player wearing a catcher’s mask attempted to joust another with a baseball bat. The umpires quickly cancelled Medieval Times, but that certainly didn’t send the kids back to their benches.

“It was a lot of fun,” Poly Prep hurler Tyler Wincig said. “Usually we’re not one to like our opponents, but we have a lot of Staten Island kids on our team, so we got along and had a lot of fun.”

They created a turf-war game that included baseballs, gloves, and “medics” carrying out players back to safety. Meanwhile, the adults worried about getting someone to turn the circuit breakers on so kids could continue the non-league game, which Poly eventually won 5–3.

The field slipped further into darkness as night fell. The red-and-yellow scoreboard lights grew brighter in the darkness, and the teams circled between home plate and the mound to keep the party going.

The kids played catch until they could no longer see two feet in front of them, but lights came on as players began to run out of activity ideas. With that, the memorable portion of the night ended, and the real game resumed.

“I wouldn’t see that happening with many other teams,” Poly Prep coach Matt Roventini said. “It was kind of special in that way.”

Special indeed. Now I’ve seen it all.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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