Kickball in the City

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Is this good business?

Okay, I hate to do this because it seems like I am picking on one group, but I HAVE to: I'm pissed at DC Kickball leaders!

First, I want to say that we had a great turnout last night, the founder was there (and I actually spoke with him unlike in WAKA where there is never anyone to talk to that matters), and I had a lot of fun. And generally speaking, I LIKE playing in DC Kickball, but...

I paid $50 to play in this league, just as everyone else did. I don't know who the President of my division is any longer because now everyone is just listed as a "Board Member". The last person I saw listed as President I haven't seen at the bar for 3-4 weeks. Thus, when I have a concern I don't know who to raise it with. Some other players in this division that I play in must have the same problem:

As we all know, it rained ALOT this week. As I wrote previously, DC Kickball gave a $250 bar tab to players who play on Mondays (I guess everyone could go, but come on, everyone born in the US and 35 can run for President but that doesn't happen). I wondered why it always seems that only the rained out people get this nice benefit, apparently I was not alone, from DC Kickball Founder's Blog:

The weather has once again thwarted our efforts to play kickball. However, you can still give Mother Nature the finger by coming to Tom Tom and enjoying some beer on DC Kickball we're opening a $250 bar tab for delicious Bud Light. So come help us kill that tab and drink away our kickball and rain sorrows.

Jen said about 17 hours later: will the wednesday night players be getting a tab too? Even if the weather is good and we have to (gasp) actually playI want free beer too!

Carter said 1 day later: I don't think so (not that it's my call anyway). The point of setting up a small tab during rain-outs is to benefit both the players (who missed their game) and the sponsor bar (who is missing business). Given a limited budget, I think this is a generally a good policy, even if it isn't strictly "fair".

jen said 1 day later: that is complete crap. we're the same conference that has paid the same registratioItfees. it's a horrible policy. we should all get it or no one gets it. and how is it benefitting players? they get free didn't and didn't even have to play! i hope it rains tonight so the games are canceled.

Carter said 1 day later: What an asanine argument. Anybody could have come to Tom Tom on Monday for free. It wasn't restricted to people playing that night. This is just a textbook case of someone who is capable of literally complaining about anything. Congratulations, Jen, you've broken the I-can't-believe-they-said-that meter.

WTF?! Okay, let's take this one at a time: This guy is the FOUNDER of the league and it's not his call?! Hi, increase the amount of funds in the budget or just go buy the beers yourself. Everything that happens is his call. I hate to say this but maybe if he spent less time taking two weeks of vacation in Europe on our money he would be able to "make the call". Being a leader is about making the calls.

Next, calling a player's argument asinine and making snide comments about people hardly seems the way to treat your customers Mr. Founder. How about addressing the concern and maybe considering what people are saying as valid rather than trying to one up them on your blog?

Unfortunately this little show of disrespect of women ( I spoke to Jen, she is real and it's not me) seriously makes me rethink rejoining DC Kickball ever. You owe this player an apology DC Kickball guy, and you need to learn how to treat customers and women. I guess in DC Kickball, the customer is right, as long as they agree with the way things are.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Of regionals and rain

A few things to blog about today for Kickball Homer (yes, I know third personspeak is annoying but if Bob Dole could do it...), the WAKA regionals and what the Hell is up with Mother Nature (MN)? Plus, it looks like the kickball harmony dream is dying.

First, the regionals: Sideshow Bob reports from the regionals that games were held to a very strict 45 minute time limit, which is understandable considering the number of games to be played and the amount of time WAKA probably had the fields for... but. From a WAKA player:

Regionals were...Interesting to say the least. There were some really really good teams there, but the rules were a little rough. They kept a very very strict 45 minutes/game rule so even when there was no game scheduled for a field, they called a lot of them at 4 innings (one of ours at 4.5 innings so we didn't get last ups WTF). They also didn't allow overtime so some teams went home due to a Rock Paper Scissors loss.Of the 15 teams there, 14 were DC area and one was Richmond. I hope they realize this and move it back down to DC next year so teams aren't excluded.

WTF indeed! For those of you unaware, that means they called a game during an inning, meaning the home team did not get last ups! That is insane! Also, enough already with the rock, paper, scissors WAKA - no one wants to play for 5 innings to tie and then have games settled by that - no one. As one WAKA President put it on his message board, WAKA screwed this up EVERY step of the way - and this is the only thing that separates it from the smaller leagues. So much for the world's biggest kickball playoffs, seems like more of the world's biggest kickball goof.

Next, to this damn rain - we get it MN, you are all powerful, now knock it off! My NAKID games got cancelled and yesterday for the SECOND time this season the teams playing in my DC Kickball division got free beer as a bribe to go to the bar, while I get no free beer! This seems very unfair. I understand wanting people to come to the bar, but bribing them, with my money, while I get nothing makes me sad. Yes, I could have gone to the bar last night, but that's not the point. How about giving the bar tab on a night when people WILL be at the bar (as I've mentioned the DCK turnout is usually low enough that $250 would go a long way)? That seems like it would be better. Plus, wtf is with the Tom Tom music? Last week they had some weird techno-something or other crap in there that led everyone to head over to Millie and Al's for $1 beers and jello shots by 9pm. Of course, not that the DCK leadership would know this as no one in charge is ever there on Wednesdays!

Lastly, the WAKA division I was relying on backed out citing "needing a rest and burnout". Hello, this is KICKBALL not test taking. Who needs a rest from kicking a ball for an hour and drinking for 5? More on this later as I think there was some behind the scenes drama regarding this... I will contact a few more WAKA divisions and then give up on them, as I figured they are not coming to the table - maybe they don't want harmony after all. Thanks to the several emails and comments though from readers, I know most of us do so I will keep trying.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Is the world ending?

I can't believe this may be happening... Yes the calendar read 6/6/6 two weeks ago, but the Kickball Harmony idea may actually happen - a true sign of the apocalypse is upon us!

I would like to first thank the leaders of NAKID, DC Kickball, and District Sports for all getting back to me and agreeing (I believe) to field a team for this and throw a little money on for beer. I couldn't get to the heads of WAKA, but the DC Star President has been very nice and seems like he will really work to get his division to pony up a team. So now I am looking to organize this thing. Here are my thoughts, feel free to add constructive insights:

* Reading the rules for most of the leagues they are generally the same, so that should be no big deal. I figure we take softball rules, make it minimum 4 girls and 4 guys, max 11 in the field and go from there. Maybe three fouls you're out and fouls and strikes count together.

* Either round robin or single elimination - not sure yet and would like input. RR delays drinking, but makes the games more worthwhile.

* We need refs.

* This is NOT a recruiting, league or player bashing, or any other ill feeling type event. This is for fun and to show that, Yes - we can all get along.

* Each league will need to donate at least a keg for post game drinking and a flip cup tournament. Plus one league is donating trophies for bragging rights.

* Free for players/refs/spectators.

* Thinking a Sunday (easier to get a bar) in late July or early August.

* Dress as fun/crazy as you want.

That's what I have for now. August 6 would be good I think. Thoughts from the hordes of readers?

Also, thanks again to all the leagues, I think this Kickball Kavalcade could be great!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I'm a sucker

It's true, if something cheap I almost feel an obligation to buy it. Thus I have to give NAKID props for suckering me in with their "join more than one chapter for the fall and get a discount" deal. What can I do?

I think many more people in WAKA would join several divisions if they got a discount for joining additional ones. I mean, it would be a kickball dorks DREAM - kickball every night of the week! But alas the $60-65 for each would set me back about $300 and even I think that's too much. Plus, then I would still have to pay for all the parties.

I'm not sure exactly what the discount is but I know when I rejoin I will be playing in at least two for NAKID because of this deal they offer. I guess it makes me a sucker and means it works, but I'm okay with that because I know I will get my money's worth. I hope that the other leagues will think about this and possibly do the same - that would be great.

UPDATE: As for my plan for kickball harmony, I have heard from NAKID (on board) and DC Kickball (not sure yet) and am still working on the other two. If anyone has any connections, please let me know. I think this could be great.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Kickball Harmony Proposal

I know that all of my kickball leagues are in competition with one another for players, in the courtroom, and for field space but I think I have a fun solution: All of the leagues should have a tournament against each other!

We could have a few teams from each team play, make all of the people in charge be there, and then all go and drink afterward. Of course, people would have to agree on rules, the leagues could put up some scratch for beer - but don't you think that could all be worked out? I believe most of us who play kickball just want to have fun, meet people, and enjoy our time on Earth. I don't know if it would be the best teams, a conglomeration of players from different teams or what but it sounds like a good idea to me.

We can pick some weekend day in between all of the seasons, get WAKA, DC Kickball, NAKID, and District Sports out somewhere and just have fun and then go drinking. Maybe that will solve the problems that the leagues have with one another (and hey maybe they can share some ideas). Then we CAN all just get along.

Am I dreaming or is anybody with me?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Ranting and Raving

Ok, so Kickball Homer's in a bad mood. No life lesson here just a few things I have seen or done over the last week and have to comment on:

- Kickball Homer gets slammed by DC Kickball for saying the bar turnout is weak there. However, I was at the bar last night and it peaked at 67 people! Out of 200, wtf?! How 'bout some leadership to get people to the bar?

- Why the HELL do grown men fly kites? On my NAKID Sundays there is almost always at least one grown man flying a kite. I don't understand this crap. Get out of the way and go do something important, or at least drink beer.

- Kickball Homer still mad that I would have to go to Annapolis and Miami with WAKA team to have any serious playoff games.

- 67 people at the bar last night and the bartender tells me we blew through all of the Bud Light they have on tap for the DC Kickball special price. WTF?! Sounds like they had one keg upstairs for us and the rest downstairs, where they charge full price, for everyone else. I understand this from a business standpoint but that sucks for us.

- What the Hell is with all of the WAKA divisions having End of Seaon parties at My Brother's Place? I mean they are charging us $15 for all we can drink - THAT'S THE NORMAL DEAL ON SATURDAY'S AT MBP?! Where the Hell is the rest of my money going?

- NAKID finally gets good music this week after people harping about it all season - now if they would just fix the bathrooms at the Ugly Mug.

- Last, my team almost had a girl play last night who is not registered with out league. While I appreciate the rule bending to help us win if we had needed her (thankfully we did not) I don't like this. I paid $50 and if the other people can't get enough of their team to show up, some random chick should not be allowed to play for free. They should have to forfeit, that's the rules.

Ok, that's all for now, sorry about the whining but I'm in a bitchy mood today. Anyone else?

PS Again we got linked to the Post Express online. Woohoo!

Friday, June 09, 2006

And then there were 2

So Kickball Homer proves clairvoyant as the decision by one of my leagues. WAKA. falls flat on it's face. They had 6 regions setup across the country for those "hard core" kickers I guess they thought they could get money from. Now, they had to shut down all but two due to a lack of interest.

I got all of the Kickball Today updates telling my team to "Hurry and register" before time and space ran out. That this would be the "biggest kickball tournament ever" as if we cared about that. As the deadline approached I chortled, knowing they would never fill and knowing too that they would extend it and lower the registration "deposit". The deadline came and went and sho 'nuff I got the email: We've extended it just for you but hurry! And it's half the price! Um, aren't things that are popular usually MORE money after the deadline passes?

So my team again says, "Please it's kickball we joined to drink" and passes. Now we find out that 2/3 of the regionals are shut down. What a shock! Poor WAKA will make only $3,000,000 instead of 4 or so. I ranted against this already so I won't waste time rehashing all of that, but suffice to say that KH knows it's stuff. So, my WAKA season is cut short my damn near a month for a tournament that 2/3 of the people couldn't care less about. GREEAAATTT! Thankfully my other two leagues are here and I can just keep playin'.

PS Congrats to Sideshow Bob for getting in the Washington Post!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Going Pro?

It's been said before -- and I'll say it here again. Kickball IS NOT just a kid's game. Kids play soccer and football too. Yet no one gawks in amazement at the grown ups playing these games on The Mall. Clearly, kickball hasn't yet gained credibility as a serious sport. You can probably blame a little bit of that to the "I play kickball for beer" mentalilty of just about every player.

Now is the perfect time for the sport of kickball to grow up and get serious.

Let WAKA be that organization that does it. Players of all ages can join WAKA to play serious, competitive kickball. Tournaments, sponsorships, national reach, codified rules -- WAKA already has it all. Players have even started their own power ranking poll. Competitive players are asking for a division of champions or at least offering divisions that are competitive and recreational (lots of kickball leagues around the country already do this.) To quote one player:
... there are a lot of teams out there that like to play and play hard. Instead of having those gung ho teams play in divisions mixed in with teams who are just there to drink, win or lose, they could all be in one division where night in, night out, it's about making a push for regionals/nationals.

WAKA focuses on raising the credibility of the sport of kickball and everyone wins. Serious players don't have to mix with us riff-raff who would drink -- win or loose. And we don't have our fun time ruined by teams who argue every call and could care less about meeting and mingling.

And for the players who just want to play, meet and drink before and after the game and go to work hungover and try to forget about the hookup from the night before, they luckily have other kickball options. There are plenty of people out there who just want to have fun and can do without the high-level of competition. In fact, they are perfectly happy playing just a kid's game.