This is the day so many of us have been waiting for. The day we could all run out on the new field, play baseball, soccer, football, frisbee, eat hot dogs, peanuts and crackerjacks..... what a beautiful day!
The day started with the First Annual Triathlon which will be an annual event. The children who participated were from age 10 years to 16 years old. Some of them were part of a team and some did the three events as individuals - they were all winners - even the ones who didn't compete but practiced throughout the summer were better for their participation. The participants included Britny Bernier, Katie Phipps, Darya Johnson, Arianna Stefanilo, John Emery, Matt McDonough, Dennis Johnson, Zach Doughty, George Birkett, Jessica Maurice, Rory McCollum. Everyone who participated this summer in the program received a t-shirt and everyone who took place in the triathlon received a trophy.
David Hill (president of the CRC) presided over the ceremony. Some of our special guests included local baseball heros including members of our little league champs from the island, Matt McDonough, Zach Doughty, John Summa, George Birkett. Famous baseball players Stew Lacognata and Andrew Hanson spoke and Sanford Doughty threw out the first ball. We had some wonderful ribbon dancers. Steve Moriarty, Chairman of the Cumberland Town Council cut the ribbon opening up the field and 300 frisbees were given out and the children ran onto the field. (See transcript below)
Three baseball games were played. First the children then the men and finally the WOMEN! What fun!
DEDICATION & NAME
· VOLUNTEER FIELD IS A GIFT TO CHEBEAGUE TO HONOR THE MANY PEOPLE OF OUR ISLAND WHO HAVE OVER THE YEARS DEVOTED TENS OF THOUSANDS OF BOUNDLESS COMMITMENTS OF TIME AND ENERGETIC VOLUNTEER HOURS. THIS EXTRAORDINARY TRADITION OF VOLUNTEERISM HAS MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR CHEBEAGUE TO SURVIVE AND THRIVE OVER THE LAST SEVERAL CENTURIES. THIS TRADITION CONTINUES STRONGER THAN EVER TODAY.
· THE DONOR'S INTENTION IS THAT THESE VOLUNTEERS,
THEIR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN WILL HAVE COUNTLESS HOUR OF GOOD
HEALTHY FUN PLAYING ON THIS FIELD. ALSO, SHE BELIEVES THAT AN
ATHLETIC FIELD PROVIDES NUMBEROUS LESSONS FOR ALL AGE GROUPS,
ESPECIALLY CHILDREN. THESE LESSONS LEARNED CAN LEAD TO LIFELONG
QUALITIES OF LEADERSHIP, DECISION-MAKING, TEAM PLAY AND CHARACTER.
· THE LAND FOR THE FIELD HAS BEEN MADE AVAILABLE BY THE SCHOOL DISTRICT. AS WELL, A SMALL PARCEL OWNED BY CUMBERLAND WAS INCLUDED. THE CHEBEAGUE RECREATION CENTER WILL MANAGE THE BALL FIELD'S ACTIVITIES AND MAINTAIN THE FIELD WITH COMMITTED BUDGET APPROPRIATIONS FROM THE TOWN OF CUMBERLAND AND MSAD#51. THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHILDREN WILL USE THE NEW FIELD FOR RECESS AND AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES.
· THE FIELD MEETS THE REQUIREMENT OF LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL, PONY LEAGUE AND ADULT SOFTBALL. IT IS LARGE ENOUGH TO PLAY MODIFIED SOCCER, FIELD HOCKEY, LACROSSE AND FOOTBALL GAMES.
· THIS FIELD HAS IN RECENT YEARS BEEN UNSAFE AND UNUSABLE DUE TO LACK OF MAINTENANCE.
· TODAY WITH THIS FIELD OPENING, CHEBEAGUE CAN RETURN TO A VERY IMPORTANT COMPONENT OF THE ISLAND'S HISTORY - BASEBALL.
· A FACT: ORGANIZED BASEBALL HAS BEEN PLAYED HERE FOR OVER A CENTURY.
· KNOWN AS THE "CHEBEAGUES," TEAM, GAMES WERE REPORTED IN NEWSPAPERS AS EARLY AS 1892.
· BALLPLAYERS WERE OLDER TEENAGERS, MEN AND WOMEN.
· FOR THE CO-ED GAMES IN THE EARLY DAYS MALE PLAYERS WORE KNICKERS AND FEMALE PLAYERS WORE STARCHED WHITE DRESSES AND LARGE BOWS.
· IN 1907 AND OFF AND ON INTO THE 50'S THERE ARE PICTURES OF MEN ONLY TEAMS IN BASEBALL UNIFORMS. IN SOME ERAS THE UNIFORMS WERE NOT THAT FORMAL.
· BALLFIELD LOCATIONS HAVE BEEN:
OPPOSING TEAMS AT VARIOUS TIMES WERE FROM CLIFF, LONG,THE ARMY ON DIAMOND, BAILEY'S ISLAND, SOUTH FREEPORT, HARPSWELL, YARMOUTH AND, POSSIBLY, FORT WILLIAM.
· IN 1892 NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS REPORT THAT THE "CHEBEAGUE BASEBALL CLUB" PLAYED SOUTH FREEPORT ON CHEBEAGUE. NAMES MENTIONED WERE WESLEY BATES, HERMAN SYLVESTER & WILLARD HAMILTON.
· AROUND THE TIME WHEN THE EAST END POINT WAS DIVIDED INTO HOUSE LOTS OR SHORTLY THEREAFTER, CHEBEAGUE BOASTED TWO TEAMS.
THE EAST END TEAM WAS COMPRISED OF MANY HAMILTONS AND A FEW OFF-ISLAND MEN, WHO WERE PAID A SMALL STIPEND AND GIVEN ROOM AND BOARD IN RETURN FOR RAISING THE ODDS OF A WIN.
THE WEST END'S TEAM WAS KNOWN AS THE DEER POINT TEAM. THERE IS NO RECORD THAT THEY HIRED PLAYERS. THEY DIDN'T NEED TO. THEY HAD PLAYERS SUCH AS GEORGE HIGGINS, ERN ROSS & CHARLES TRAIN WHO WERE SAID TO HAVE BEEN SEMI-PRO MATERIAL. TRAIN WAS A "RIGHT AND LEFT HANDED PITCHER."
FOR A NICKEL THE PLAYER'S FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS BOARDED A FISHING SCHOONER AND FOLLOWED THEIR TEAM TO OTHER CASCO BAY ISLANDS AS WELL AS FREEPORT, HARPSWELL AND YARMOUTH.
IN LATER YEARS FISHING BOATS REPLACED THE SCHOONERS AND INTER-ISLAND BASEBALL BEGAN AGAIN. EVENTUALLY THE TEAMS MERGED AND CHEBEAGUE HAD ONE TEAM.
WITH THE OPENING OF THIS FIELD, BASEBALL AND ALL SPORTS CAN BEGIN. EVEN INTER-ISLAND BALLGAMES OF ALL SORTS MAY BEGIN ANEW!
GOEFF SUMMA - COACH OF CUMBERLAND'S WINNING LITTLE LEAGUE TEAM WITH 4 CHEBEAGUE ISLAND PLAYERS ON THE TEAM.
ANDREW HANSEN, GREELY HIGH SCHOOL '97 AND PRINCETON UNIVERSITY '01 BASEBALL STAR. HE STARRED ON THE GREELY HS '97 STATE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM AND WAS A TOP SCHOLAR AT GREELY, AS WELL.
PLAYED 4 YRS AT PRINCETON. LED PRINCETON IN HIT, HOMERUNS AND RBI'S. HE WAS ALL IVY, MVP AND TEAM CAPT HIS SR. YEAR. HE WON PRINCETON'S SPORTSMANSHIP WAWAR AND WAS 1ST STRING ACADEMIC ALL AMERICAN, HE IS AN SPIRING MAJOR LEAGUE CANDIDATE.
GREG SMITH, PRESIDENT OF SUBURBAN LITTLE LEAGUE, WHICH INCLUDES CUMBERLAND, NO YARMOUTH AND CHEGEAGUE. THIS LITTLE LEAGUE ORGANIZATION WAS CITED WITH AN AWARD FOR 50 YRS OF CONTINUOUS PLAY THIS YEAR.
STU LACOGNATA --REPRESENTING BILLY SWIFT, MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER, STU WAS 4 yr. TEAMATE AND COLLEGE WORLD SERIES PLAYER WITH BILLY.