Ashley Thompson is a senior at Lawrence-Woodmere Academy. 

By Ashley Thompson
The Greene Team

Ricky Holt, 8, whisked past scores of children in the stands and on to the field while wearing his Cub Scout uniform at Citibank Park in Central Islip.

On Thursday night, he ran to the grassy baseball diamond among the players of Long Island Ducks and the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.

Ricky was part of the various groups of children who entered the field to sing the Star Spangled Banner. These groups of kids included Ricky’s Cub Scout Pack, a Nassau County day camp, and a Long Island little league baseball team.

 Like many of the children, Ricky was not only thrilled to go on the field, but just to go to a baseball game. “I started liking baseball four years ago,” says Ricky who only gets to come to a game about once a year, but feels that makes the experience much more special. He has been a cub scout for the past 3 years and was very excited for the game since he is also a Ducks fan.

Before the game began, the children nervously prepared themselves for what might be their one and only chance to stride upon the same ground used by the baseball players. Joey, 6, is part of Cub Scout Pack 326 of Smithtown and came to join his other cub scouts as they lead out in the flag salute.

Although very shy, Joey wasn’t afraid to say that he has been a Ducks fan for four years. His much more talkative friend, Ricky, was getting ready to hold the flags that seemed to be twice the size as him.

Denise, a concession stand volunteer, is a mother of four and loves seeing the little kids running around amongst the excitement of the game. She is working in order to raise funds for her church, St. Andrew’s Lutheran. She described a time when her own children were able to have the same privileges as the kids singing on the field that day.

“My kids got to go on the field and competed in a dizzy bat relay race.” The race includes a baseball bat that is placed some distance out in front of each team. Each player must run out to the bat, stand the bat upright on the ground, place their forehead on the bat, and circle the bat ten times, then run back and tag the next person in line.

Though the Long Island Baymen didn’t take part in any race, each of them were given the opportunity to stand next to a different player while they all sang the Star Spangled Banner. The Long Island Baymen, also known as the Baymen Tides, are a little league team from Lake Ronkonkoma, NY. Their uniforms may have been gleaming with the colors of the Blue Crabs, but the boys all made it clear that their hearts were devoted to the Ducks!

The members of the team were ages 11 &12 and included Robert, Brandon, Lewis, Matthew, Dylan, Brendan, Ryan, Nick, and Billy. The Long Island Baymen actually got to cheer for their teammate, Billy, since he was chosen to participate in another activity placed on the field. The boys all encouraged their comrade as he threw a football through a plastic lime green goal post before the 7th inning.
Another set of kids who got to step out on the field were 7 year olds Max and Bella. They were allowed to take part in a very amusing spaghetti eating contest arranged by Bella’s father who apparently called some of the people involved with the game’s promotion.

Unfortunately for Max and Bella, her father competed as well and so it was fairly obvious as to who would win the contest!

As the two exited the field with slimy spaghetti and sauce all over their faces, Bella’s brother, Mark, 6, told his father, “She looks like a vampire!” All three are Ducks fans and were thrilled to be able to walk on the field where their favorite baseball team plays ball. Max, whose favorite Ducks player is Gary Carter, exclaimed, “My face is sticky!” as soon as he got back to his seat. Mark and Bella’s father said that they won a $25 gift card to King Kullen and were going to celebrate the fun event by having an ice cream party.

Some other children who got a chance to entertain the audience were the kids of Coleman Country Day Camp. These kids came all the way from Merrick to sing the Star Spangled Banner alongside Cub Scout Pack 326 and the Long Island Baymen. Although they didn’t get to join the kids, two of the camp’s counselors greatly enjoyed the experience.

Nombulelo, 20 and Martha, 28, both wholly took pleasure in the event since there aren’t many similar ones where they come from. Both women ventured from South Africa and are appreciating their first trip to the big apple. “We love New York,” exclaimed Martha.

Apparently, they heard about Coleman’s counseling jobs from their friend, Pam Ross, who was a counselor for their camp back in Africa and invited them to come overseas for hers.

During their three-week stay, the two also went to a Yankees game, but say that their favorite sport is still soccer. They also said that they were very excited about the game especially since according to Nombulelo, “All our kids are rooting for the Ducks!”


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