2012 Annual Memorial Day Stickball Game in Rowayton, Connecticut

Stickball
After the Rowayton Memorial Day parade, my friends and I headed to the Community Center field where we play our annual stickball game. Growing up, we played every day in the summer. Now, this is the only day we play all year. The perfectly lined oak trees have slowly disappeared (kind of like my hair), and the field has been turned into a dog park. Nonetheless, it’s still the highlight, as the old-timers take on the young guns. Of course, we’re not that young and the old-timers aren’t that old. Just a few years separate the teams.

This year, our fun was interrupted by the Norwalk Police who were called by a couple of dog lovers in the park. They didn’t think we had the right to play our game since it’s now a dog park. The craziest part is that they’re from Mamaroneck, New York and that the police were going to side with them even though we have been playing this game for last 40 years.

A few of us were not going to budge. “Nothing is worth getting arrested for,” one of the cops said to us. But it was to me. We confronted the man about why he had to call the police and take them away from more important duties. He was silent. He was wearing a Switzerland T-shirt and had a strong accent. Although he told me he was now a US citizen, he clearly had no idea how important stickball is to people born and raised on the East Coast.

Fortunately, one of my teammates called the fire chief and the commissioner of Rowayton who both fought on our behalf and we won the most important argument that has ever come up on this field.

The game resumed and the ‘old timers’ beat us in the bottom of the 9th (which is really the 6th) with a walk-off homerun but when one of them tried to rub it in later at a BBQ by asking “Who won the stickball game?” we yelled back “Rowayton!”

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9 Comments on "2012 Annual Memorial Day Stickball Game in Rowayton, Connecticut"

  1. Love the stickball pics but a little disturbed by what appears to be a policeman questioning the event. Doesn’t he know this is a 30 year old tradition? lol

  2. Bob "Tiger" Rose. | May 29, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Reply

    As one of the original founding fathers of the game, it is great to see the tradion of Rowayton stickball live on both for the sport and the sense of defiance that lead to its beginning. Me, my bother Tom and some guys from our neighborhood played against the Diamandis guys (Pete and Christie) and their buddies in an annual stickball event modesty called the stickball World Series. This best of seven event started in 1969- I remember this because our games were timed to allow watching the Mets on their run to a different kind of World Series. We played our original games in small lots near our homes but were kicked out for bouncing home runs and errant throws off people’s houses, next we moved to Rowayton Beach where we soon kicked out for excessive cursing, after that we played a season at the Bell Island lot but were thrown out for a strange sweet smoke that always seemed to emanate from our games (we had gotten a little older). The following year we found home…the Library Field…the game had caught on by then and we played pretty much everyday in the summer and fall. Along the way were plenty of great plays and long home runs into the street and yards…and there more than a few bumps in the road with authority…music too loud, dog walkers and Frisbee players who challenged our right to play and again that strange smoke that seemed to always be around. But we would move no more! The Library Field was ours and we weren’t moving. Glad to see that spirit alive…maybe me and some of the real old guys will comeback and give the youngins a little run for their money one day

    • Hundredbacklinks | May 30, 2012 at 5:58 am | Reply

      Hey Tiger,

      That’s great history and thanks for taking the time to post it. I’m sure the gang would love to have you out — I know I would.

    • Desmond Hussey | June 1, 2012 at 9:47 am | Reply

      Tiger: Great memories from a true founding father. I was not at the game because I was in Virginia with three other old and distinguished stickballers: Stephen Irwin, Rob Carroll, and Chris Keaney (whose brother Joe was enshrined in the inagural class of the RSL Hall of Fame, along with Tiger.)
      Stephen was celebrating his retirement after 34 years in the Air Force, so got to thank many servicemen and women (Chris is a Marine) in person. I heard about the out-of-towners calling of the police and imagined the scene if Joe Keaney and Tiger Rose had been there. We might have broken a bat.
      Maybe we can get Joe, Tiger, Tommy, Pete D, Lance, and some other “originals” there next year. I’ll make sure an orthopedic surgeon is on hand. And a chiropractor.

  3. Love the story (and the pictures), John. Troubles me, though, that someone would actually call the police over a harmless game of stickball. Don’t these people have better things to do with their lives. Ugh! Despite the rude interruption, glad to read you all had a thoughtful Memorial Day and, in the end, Rowayton was the winner. Cheers!

  4. I’m older and mellower now, I’m sure if i was there everything would have been fine….maybe next time I’m in town I’ll stop by the field, I have photos:)…..anyhoo those were the best times

  5. I just sent an email to Richard Moccia, the mayor of Norwalk, requesting he recognize the RSL and their ability to play at the Community Center field for at least that one day a year. Although I’m not and never have been a Rowayton resident (although my wife was), and I personally have not played in this game for many, many years, I find it extremely disturbing that this event should receive any level of intolerance. Hopefully with the mayor’s approval there will never be another incident like the one which occured this year. I will let you all know if and when he responds.

  6. You have proven once again that it is not what you know but who you know is more important in life.

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