On Saturday, Dexter’s Union Base Ball Club welcomed the Royal Oak Wahoos to Dexter for Union’s first home match. No, not its first home match of the season. Its first EVER. I traveled over to Dexter’s historic Gordon Hall to get a few photos of the notable occasion.
The Union captain addressed the spectators — called “cranks” — before the game.
Under the 1860s rules these vintage clubs follow, the home team is determined not by geography but by a bat toss. Whoever gets his hand on the top of the bat gets the choice.
With all the preliminaries out of the way, the game got underway. Since the game took place on the front lawn of Gordon Hall, the field had a beautiful backdrop.
After each inning, the umpire wrote the inning’s tally on the scoreboard.
The field at Gordon Hall has many, many quirks, one of which is a small drainage pond off the first base line. Naturally, in the middle of the game a foul ball plunged into the pond.
Play resumed with another ball, and eventually a clever crank managed to fish the ball out of the pond.
Here’s a good look at the cranks’ view.
When a player scored a run, he walked over to the tallykeeper and rang a bell.
After the game, the captains again addressed the cranks.
The Wahoos offered three cheers to Union…
…and Union offered three cheers to the Wahoos.
The teams then gathered around the scoreboard to commemorate Union’s first home match.
Finally, we took a few team photos in front of Gordon Hall.
With Union now up and running, both Chelsea and Dexter have vintage base ball clubs. The games are fun to watch; if you can, I’d encourage you to get out to a game this summer! It’s a great way to spend an afternoon.
As usual, the hockey playoffs started in Chelsea. And as usual, the district featured four te…uh, wait, what? The district changed this year? Gabriel Richard went elsewhere? I…I don’t know what to say. Well…okay. I can adjust.
As I was saying, the district featured
four three teams: Chelsea, Dexter, and Lumen Christi. The odd number of teams meant somebody got a bye. Like pretty much everything else in non-football MHSAA playoffs, I’m sure it was determined randomly, and Chelsea ended up getting the bye. (To be frank, though, Gabriel Richard tended to function as a bye on skates, so I’m not sure their departure changed much.) This left Dexter and Lumen Christi to fight it out to see who got to face Chelsea. I mean, not to actually fight it out, but to play hockey. Which…yeah, I guess that’s not too different.
For Chelsea hockey, this matchup is something like a Michigan fan watching Ohio State and Michigan State play each other in anything. Dexter and Lumen Christi are the Bulldogs’ most not-loved hockey rivals, so Chelsea’s ideal outcome would be one in which neither team wins and the Bulldogs get hot fudge brownies with ice cream. Sadly, nobody has found a way to make that a possible outcome of a hockey game, so one of the teams had to win. The expectation was that Lumen Christi would win, but hockey playoffs can be strange, so…here, look at the photos.
I’m including the next photo solely for my own amusement.
The gentleman behind the glass is Mike, the reporter who was covering the game for Heritage. You’ll note that he’s hard at work shooting video. Good work, Mike.
Dexter played a surprisingly good game, but it seemed like they were always a step behind on the scoreboard. For every moment like this…
…there was a Lumen Christi goal to retake the lead. (By the way, check out the water bottle in the above photo.)
Still, the pesky Dreadnaughts wouldn’t go away.
And the Dexter goalie made some great saves to keep his team in the game, perhaps none bigger than this glove save on a breakaway:
The Dreadnaughts were facing a one-goal deficit when, with under two minutes to play, they managed to get one in the net to tie the game.
And there was much rejoicing in the foreground and mourning in the background.
The rest of the third period passed without a goal, so they headed to overtime.
It seemed either Lumen Christi had found a new source of energy or Dexter had expended all of its energy: the Dreadnaughts struggled even to clear the puck out of their own zone in overtime. When you can’t clear your own zone, eventually you’re going to give up a goal. They did.
And again, there was much rejoicing in the foreground and mourning in the background.
The above photo needs a little explanation. You can see that the Lumen Christi players are excited about the game-winning goal, but you can’t see what they’re looking at. Let me clue you in: the Dexter bench is immediately to the left. And while sometimes one frame can be misleading, in this case it’s not. As they skated by, the Lumen Christi players made a point to celebrate at the stunned Dexter players on the bench. I don’t care who you are and what you just won. That’s not okay.
Meanwhile, the poor Dexter goalie was trying to absorb the loss.
His teammates joined him.
I may have fun with Chelsea’s rivalries, but in all seriousness, photos like the last two are among my least favorite photos to take. It doesn’t matter who’s in them: I can’t take joy in watching athletes deal with a season-ending loss. Those photos can be emotionally powerful, but I still don’t like having to take them.
Chelsea and Dexter met in hockey. Having won at Dexter — which is actually at Ann Arbor, but that’s a minor technicality — Chelsea was looking for a regular-season sweep of the Dreadnaughts, while Dexter was looking for the basic dignity of not having been swept.
Chelsea put together an early scoring chance that was thwarted only due to this penalty:
The resulting power play led to a goal.
The Dexter goalie took a moment to wave hello:
Oh, and he was making a save, too. Look in his glove.
As is generally the case in Chelsea/Dexter hockey games, there was plenty of hitting.
There may have been a few penalties, too.
Come on, ref. The statute of limitations expired on that penalty before I committed it. You can’t charge me with that.
One particular penalty was especially Chelsea/Dexterish. Dexter brought the puck into the zone, and a Chelsea defenseman decided to play defense. The Dreadnaught responded by putting the defenseman in a headlock, and…well, here. Take a look.
The defenseman didn’t think too much of that tactic.
There may have been a few words exchanged.
Thanks to my super-special long-range hearing — it’s my mutant ability — here’s the dialogue from that encounter:
Chelsea: I say, good sir, were you aware that your arm encircled my neck and forcibly removed my helmet?
Dexter: Indeed I was aware of this, my good man. In fact, that was my very intention.
C: I am shocked by this unforeseen revelation! What would cause you to show such disdain towards me? I thought I conducted myself quite honorably.
D: Frankly, I was offended by your deliberate refusal to grant me free access to the offensive zone. It caused me to conclude that you held some manner of personal grudge against me.
C: Why, I was unaware I had given you such an infelicitous impression! You are always welcome in my zone. Do accept my most sincere apologies.
D: Think nothing more of it! And likewise, do accept my most sincere apologies for my unseemly fit of violence. I will make an effort to better restrain my temper in the future.
C: Of course. Now, if you’ll excuse me, this gentleman in the striped shirt has requested that I accompany him to the penalty box.
D: Ah, how regrettable! His colleague has made the same request of me. Let us hope our time of separate confinement is edifying.
I make no guarantees as to the accuracy of the above dialogue, but usually I get these things right.
After the penalties were sorted out, the game continued.
In the end, Dexter’s bid for dignity fell short, and Chelsea celebrated a regular-season sweep of its county rival.
With the Chelsea/Dexter girls game concluded, the boys took the court to warm up for the second game of the evening. As the players were warming up, the student sections were preparing for their work.
What happens every year, you might be wondering? Well, here’s a hint: that’s a football player wearing the shirt. Also, the front of the shirt declared the number of Chelsea’s consecutive wins over Dexter in football. The quote appeared in the newspaper after the most recent meeting of the teams, but it wasn’t spoken to my editor as a response to a question. Instead, it was bellowed in the end zone — and within earshot of my editor — after a Chelsea touchdown.
As usual, the student sections were packed for the game.
The game started out well, but…it got lopsided. That’s all I’ll say about that.
The Chelsea students had a special plan for this particular game. If you’ve ever heard of Taylor University’s Silent Night, then you’re familiar with the plan. If not…watch this video. Seriously, watch it now. It’s one of the great traditions in sports. (Quick summary: the students pack the gym and dress in crazy costumes but remain silent until Taylor scores its 10th point, at which time they erupt. It’s fantastic. WATCH THE VIDEO.)
I didn’t shoot video of Chelsea’s Silent Night — I was shooting photos, you know — but it was a lot of fun.
Meanwhile, Dexter’s student section was up to its usual shenanigans.
As I mentioned, the game became a bit lopsided, so there wasn’t suspense like there was in the girls game. However, Dexter’s win gave them a sweep both of the varsity doubleheader and of the boys season series, so the Dreadnaughts were excited about that.
I posted the following photo on twitter with this statement: “This is a good photo. I hate it.”
Professionally, I like that photo. But personally…well, as a Chelsea guy I can’t stand seeing Chelsea lose to Dexter.
The Dexter varsity basketball teams traveled to Chelsea for another varsity doubleheader. Like last time, the girls played first.
When last we saw these teams face each other, both girls teams were undefeated, and Chelsea walked away with a hard-fought victory. The second time around, Chelsea was still undefeated, but Dexter was coming off another loss. Still, a great deal of excitement surrounded the game.
The Chelsea student section got all social media-y with its sign:
Who is #gracemartin?
Unlike the perpetually close game at Dexter, Chelsea managed to build a 10-point lead in the second half. However, Dexter found a way not just to close the gap, but to claim the lead as time wound down in the fourth quarter.
With a slim one-point lead, Dexter coach Mike Bavineau tried a different approach to exhorting his defense:
He was slapping the floor and yelling instructions or encouragement or something. I couldn’t understand what he was yelling, but I’m reasonably confident it wasn’t “I THINK (slap) WE SHOULD (slap) STOP FOR (slap) ICE CREAM AFTER (slap) THE GAME, OKAY? (slap) I REALLY SHOULD (slap) GET HOME AND (slap) FINISH MY TAXES, BUT (slap) ICE CREAM SOUNDS GOOD (slap) RIGHT NOW.” It’s very likely he was yelling something very useful and coachy.
Despite his exhortation, the Dexter defense ceded a basket and the lead with under a minute to play. The Chelsea students were excited.
Their excitement was soon tempered by a Dexter basket with only a few seconds left to play. Chelsea found itself with one last shot to win, but this time the Dexter defense paid heed to Coach Bavineau’s slaps and held firm.
And, having brought an end to Chelsea’s bid for an undefeated season, there was much rejoicing.
Yes, much rejoicing.
Ah, but the evening was only half done: the boys took the court next. Come back Wednesday for those photos.
Lincoln basketball traveled to Dexter. Obviously, so did I.
Dexter kept it close, but Lincoln ended up winning the game.
When the Chelsea/Dexter girls game wrapped up, the boys took the court. While these weren’t two undefeated teams like those that had just finished playing, their records weren’t relevant: Chelsea/Dexter games are a Big Deal no matter what.
The Dexter student section did its best Children of Yost impression during Chelsea’s introductions.
When it came time for Dexter’s introductions, they continued what seems to be a burgeoning tradition: they shut off the lights and got their WWE on with a couple spotlights and a lot of yelling. I didn’t get any worthwhile photos from this year’s intros, but they did the same thing last year:
When the intros were done and the lights came back on, there was a strange white powder rising from the Dexter student section.
You can caption that in your own head. I don’t need that trouble.
With all the pregame festivities out of the way, the players finally started doing all the running and dribbling and passing and shooting and fouling and whatnot. The gym was mostly full and the game was entertaining enough to keep the crowd loud.
Chelsea students showed up to make some noise. There were a number of CHS athletes in the crowd:
The three students in the middle play other sports for CHS. Who else plays for CHS? This crew:
That’s the Chelsea girls basketball team cheering on the boys. Yes indeed, the 11-0 Chelsea girls basketball team. As you can tell from the photo, they made plenty of noise.
One of Chelsea’s signs got all scientific:
Hey, remember what I said about basketball referees standing in front of me?
I guess an arm is better than a back. That’s progress, right? But if any of you happen to be working on some sort of invisibility device, I’d suggest testing it on basketball referees who like standing in front of me. Please? Thank you.
Dexter lead nearly the entire game, but Chelsea wouldn’t go away: Dexter pushed its lead to double digits a couple times, but each time Chelsea managed to bring it back down. Still, the Bulldogs couldn’t quite take that final step of gaining the lead, so Dexter got the win.
Both teams — boys and girls — will face each other again later in the season.
Being close neighbors and similar towns, Chelsea and Dexter tend to be heated rivals in high school sports. Over the past few years the football rivalry has been…uh…slightly one-sided, but in the same time frame the basketball rivalry has been anything but lopsided. This has helped the basketball games draw large — and loud — crowds, making the games even more fun.
On Friday the teams met for the first of their two yearly meetings — in a girls/boys varsity doubleheader. The evening started with the girls game, and it had plenty at stake: both teams came into the game 10-0. It was a game befitting the combined 20-0 record, as the teams spent nearly the entire game separated by no more than four points.
The Dexter student section showed up and made an effort to distract free throw shooters:
As it was a low-scoring game, there were plenty of solid defensive plays. This particular play later in the second half was a big stop for the Bulldogs:
Yeah, that shot never got anywhere near the basket.
Though the lead was narrow, Chelsea held it for much of the second half and got the win to improve to 11-0.
Come back soon for photos from the boys game!
Dexter hosted Ypsilanti.
Just as Skyline had a better team than Chelsea, so did Ypsi have a better team than Dexter. The game went much the same way. This photo…
…is not a photo of a Dexter layup. It’s a photo of an Ypsi block. There might have been a few of those.
The Dexter student section has been unusually sedate this year, but it had a solid presence for this game:
Dexter has a decidedly more interesting mascot than my good friends over at Skyline:
If you’re a naval buff, you might be distressed that they spelled it Dreadnaughts and not Dreadnoughts. Why did they do that? I don’t know. I’m from Chelsea, remember? We don’t understand that town over there to the east.
(Seriously, though: if you know why it’s not spelled with an O, enlighten us!)
Referees have a difficult job, and they take more unnecessary abuse from more people than even those nattily-dressed London soldiers who have to stand perfectly still no matter the absurd things tourists do. They should get more respect than they do. (Referees, I mean.) Having said that: come on, basketball referees. Stop standing in my way already.
That shot is okay, but it would’ve been doubly okay had the referee not gone all Stripey McBetterDoorThanWindow on me. I know the referees don’t base their position on the annoying photographer in the front row, but sometimes it seems like they do. Basketball referees of the world: your backs are not unusually photogenic. Please stop placing them in front of my camera. THANK YOU.
The Dexter basketball Christmas tournament wrapped up with both Dexter teams playing in the championship games. First up was the Dexter women’s team facing South Lyon.
Dexter won the game to win its own Christmas tournament. Actually…it might be a holiday tournament. Whatever. I’m calling it a Christmas tournament.
Oh, right. Dexter won.
The men’s championship game featured Dexter and Saline.
Saline wasn’t feeling cooperative, so it didn’t let Dexter sweep its own tournament.