The match began unassumingly with both sides lacking in numbers and the stakes were hardly high. The options when playing at Revere have been traditionally either kickball or wiffleball and until this point, the staff had never won at the former and the troupers had never won the latter. Would today’s kickball match prove an upset? I took the camera and went to see for myself.
Since this site is an athletic field, the amenities were surprisingly complete with a chain-link backstop, sand baselines, empty Chaquita Banana boxes for the bases, and a standard red rubber ball found on playgrounds across the United States. At the start of the game, there were only a handful of players on each side and the staff rotated through a lineup organized by birthdays. It wasn’t long before I zipped the camera inside its case and joined as well. Quickly, the sides were evenly matched.
My first time stepping up to the plate, I immediately noted my footwear; goofy and eternally grimy Crocs that have I have worn with unyielding loyalty since Greensboro. Those around me were similarly equipped with flip-flops or sneakers; one person on tent crew was wearing steel toe boots. Pitcher (and Smirkus trouper) Alyson Mattei served the ball with a bouncy roll that wobbled and bounced its way towards the plate. I swung and my ankle connected with the rubber. It flew low in a shallow curve straight into the waiting arms of Anna Partridge, awarding the staff the second of two outs. There were other more remarkable feats of athleticism, agility and dumb luck. As the game wore on, it became apparent that it had been awhile since either group had last played a game on a concrete lot or playground.
If the jugglers didn’t have the fielding ability, they sure had the hand-eye coordination to compensate. There were many foul balls and too many errors to count. Sports were clearly never a strong suit for either the troupers or the staff. This was evidenced by the shouts and groans from the sidelines such as:
“RUN! No, OTHER WAY!!”
“Don’t stop! Keep running!
Ultimately, the staff managed to save face with a final score of 24 to 11. The dinner bell announced the end of play and both teams lined up to slap hands, telling one another in mumbled unison “Good game, good game, good…” Then we all walked back to the “pie car” together, where the cooks were serving breakfast for dinner. A very good evening, by my standards.
These kinds of occasions are important. As a staff, we have plenty of opportunities to relax and enjoy each other’s company. But fun occasions with the entire troupe are something extra special.
“It’s why we do it,” Artistic Director, Troy Wunderle said. “It’s all for fun and everyone needs it.”
Evan Johnson, Communications Intern