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The Dart: Young Vidalia boys bond over ball, outdoors events

From left, Brett Walsworth, 12, Drew Brown, 12, Alex Patterson, 12, Cade Nichols, 13, and Peyton Fort, 12, take turns fishing at an area they call “The Ditch” on Concordia Avenue. The boys throw back everything they catch.  (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

From left, Brett Walsworth, 12, Drew Brown, 12, Alex Patterson, 12, Cade Nichols, 13, and Peyton Fort, 12, take turns fishing at an area they call “The Ditch” on Concordia Avenue. The boys throw back everything they catch. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

VIDALIA — In a day and age of videogames and curling up to daylong binge television watching sessions a few rare young people still get tremendous enjoyment from being outside.

“We call ourselves the Sandlot group,” Brett Walsworth, 12, said. “We got it from the movie.”

When The Dart landed on Concordia Avenue in Vidalia Saturday, the sound of mischievous laughter from the group of four 12-year-olds and one 13-year-old was audible clear down the street.

“This is where we are most of the summer,” Cade Nichols, 13, said. “Here or at the ballpark.”

Where they are is a place they lovingly refer to as “The Ditch.”

It is a small canal that runs perpendicular to Concordia Avenue. They go there to fish and do what boys their age do, mess around.

They splash each other.

They throw rocks in the water while the others are fishing to either scare the fish or make it look like there are fish around.

And they tell inside jokes that sound like a foreign language to any outsider.

The boys include Brett, Cade, Drew Brown, 12, Alex Patterson, 12, and Peyton Fort, 12, and are usually accompanied by a few others.

They met and bonded through a love of baseball.

“We’ve known each other for forever,” Drew said.

“We’re all best friends,” Brett said.

“Except Alex,” Brett joked, and gave Alex a love shove on the arm.

On this particular day, the fish were biting early, but had since stopped completely.

But that does not matter to the boys, who get enjoyment out of simply casting out and reeling in their lines over and over again. Occasionally, they stop to marvel at a particularly good cast by one of their friends.

They would throw back the fish if they caught one anyways.

“It’s not about the fish,” Brett said. “It’s about hanging out together.”