The “Dodge-Ball, Mack Plaque-Style” tournament was created five years ago in hopes that it could raise funds for charitable causes and further enhance the intense but largely positive athletic rivalry between Londonderry High School and Pinkerton Academy.
But the event hit a rough patch during and directly after the fifth annual tourney, held at LHS last Friday night, March 20, on the eve of the Pinkerton vs. Londonderry Division I boys’ championship basketball contest at the University of New Hampshire in Durham the next afternoon. And in the wake of the conflict, Pinkerton has decided that it will no longer take part in the inter-school competition.
“The dodgeball tournament between our schools was an annual event for five years, but we’ve concluded the competition will not continue,” said PA spokesman Chip Underhill on Monday afternoon.
Londonderry High representatives did not respond to queries from Nutfield Publishing on the matter.
The four Londonderry High School teams swept Pinkerton’s quartet of squads in best-of-five tourney play to regain the Dodge-Ball, Mack Plaque-Style trophy, which it won the first three years of the tourney but lost to the Astro contingents last spring.
Both schools hold their own tournaments prior to the Mack Plaque-style event to get down to four teams.
After this year’s four matches were held, the two sides were preparing to hold an all-star match – as they always do – to cap off the evening of dodge-ball. But the Pinkerton athletes were upset because they thought the officials had called the boundary lines too tightly, to the Astro players’ disadvantage.
As a result, the members of the large Pinkerton contingent, including athletes and fans, elected not to play the all-star match and began to make their way, as a group, toward the exit.
Feeling the tension and fearing problems, several Londonderry High staff members kept the Londonderry athletes and fans in a section of bleachers away from the PA group, telling them they could leave once the Pinkerton fans and athletes had left.
Out in the parking lot, several Pinkerton students drove their cars wildly around the LHS parking lot – with a few “burning rubber” and creating smoky clouds in their wake – leading LHS staff members to call the police.
With the police station just across Mammoth Road from the high school, a police cruiser arrived quickly and circled the parking lot, which got the desired result of making the Pinkerton students clear out.
The LHS students were then released, but during the time the groups from the two schools were being kept apart and the Pinkerton students were exiting, there were a number of conversations among the folks gathered outside the gymnasium that the last time the dodge-ball event happened at Londonderry High there was conflict between students from the rival schools, and that trouble resulted in fights at the Nelson Road fields across the street.
Hence, concerns were raised over whether or not that might happen again this time around, and with Pinkerton and Londonderry fans scheduled to show up in big numbers at UNH the next day for the D-I title game, whether the hard feelings and upset of Friday night might carry over to Durham.
No such conflicts were reported in the wake of the initial event.