by Andrew Rudanksy
East Hampton has had a surprisingly long tradition that brings artists and writers together, not to talk shop, but to play a game. Starting in the late 1940s a group of artists and a handful of writers chose East Hampton to play a few friendly softball games. As their group expanded, the tradition became yearly and the group divided into teams--a mix of artists versus writers. As the writers joined, rules began to come into play and the softball game became a competitive affair--less leisure and more fun challenge. For spectators, it was a phenomenon. Famous artists and writers were not at their desks or canvases, but at the bat--swearing and shouting and running.
In 1968, the ragtag group whose members came and went challenged each other for a more serious purpose. Their game raised the money that would cover the legal costs of two artists who had protested the Vietnam War. From then on, these matches became about charity and fostering a sense of community for those who more often than not felt they had no permanent place. The games began to attract everyone--including celebrities of all kind. Over the years, big names like Christopher Reeves, Alec Baldwin, Christie Brinkley, James Lipton, Lori Singer, Jay McInerny, Dustin Hoffman, Kurt Vonnegut, George Plimpton, and John Irving have been among the players. In fact, the game has expanded to include those of many different talents. Athletes, actors, sky writers, composers, singers and many more have spent the day on the East Coast among writers and artists.
via Artists vs. Writers
This year the game takes place in Herrick Park
on Saturday, August 20th.
Batting practice begins at noon and the official game start is 2 p.m. Suggested donation is only $10 and benefits three different charities. This year’s causes are the East End Hospice, the East Hampton Day Care Learning Center, and Phoenix House. The East End Hospice takes care of the very ill and assists families who have lost loved ones. The East Hampton Day Care Learning Center is a wholesome and safe environment for children and supports single parents and working families. Phoenix House is one of the nation’s leading substance abuse and drug treatment organizations whose efforts have helped thousands.
To learn more about the game’s history, the charity organizations it will be contributing to, and its sponsors, check out the official site
. To see the line-up of players and be kept up to date, join the game’s Facebook group.