Kickball in the City

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Why I love being a (sorta) adult on Halloween

It's waaaaay better to be an adult then a kid on Halloween. I can buy candy if I want it. And now no one can tell me when to stop eating it. But as a kid I never got to go to really cool Halloween parties. I am reminded of this because I have one tonight that I am sure will be great (read: 2 kegs of beer plus REAL food) and had a kickball one on Sunday that shows why kickball and adult work so well together. It also proves why I rank NAKID as my number one league. Free beer and free shots. Many drunk ass bastards. Many people making out. Some naked people. I'll give a pictorial review of the night.

ogwk9 051
Rub him and make a wish

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Many people's nightmare, yet strangely arousing

ogwk9 084
Not a costume, but piercings are always good

ogwk9 098
Any night that ends with three girls kissing has to be good!

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Needless to say, she won the contest

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How come the refs on the field never look like this?

ogwk9 107
The Shot Ski!
Reports on the message board relating the next day woes of many also help to show it was a great night. Apparently I wasn't the only one not at work yesterday.
So yay to kickball. And adult kickball. And adult kickball Halloween parties. Given having to go to bed too early, limited candy consumption, and puberty - why would I want to be a kid again?

Friday, October 27, 2006

A message from your Uncle Sam

It must be a slow news day in Knoxville. Maybe crotchety baby boomers have forgotten to take their (fill in prescription happy pills). Either that or there is nothing more pressing to write about in some people's view than dodgeball, tiddlywinks, and - you guessed it - kickball. Not just to write about them but of course to use the tried and true method of once again stomping on anything Gen Xers do.

I speak of a column by Sam Venable in the Oct 26 edition of the Knoxville News Sentinel. I won't reprint the whole column here but there are a few pieces of it I'd like to discuss. To put it nicely. It seems Mr. Baby Boomer has no problem with the above mentioned games - as long as it's played like I guess he remembers it from 1966 in some cow pasture. As he writes:

Grownups aren't content to merely play games any more. They've got to "adulterate" everything. And in so doing, they complicate and commercialize the innocent joys of simple fun.

Only in baby boomer America could the pleasures of youth be reclaimed and reclassified by adults.

No longer do you and the fellows gather over at Doc Snyder's pasture and choose sides for a pickup game with mismatched equipment. Instead, it's time for the bureaucracy to begin.

In case you've missed this recreational revolution, you may be surprised to discover there are highly organized adult associations not only for dodgeball and kickball, but also softball, baseball, volleyball and hockey, among others.

This is like listening to your old Uncle Sam who would reminisce on the days of yore about how us whippersnappers now get to watch these fancy moving type pictures. You know, they remember the days when people would just get by listening to "The Life of Riley" on the radio and like it dag nab it! Licorice whips were only a penny and you could keep yer doors open and yer windows open too. There were never any problems back then, NO ssiiirrr. Nowadays it's all "adulterated".

They listen to the Elvis, he's got some evil hips, he does.

Of course, as adults many of us have lives where we have to go to work and make a living. Or take care of kids. Some of us like to have fun too, and in that vein we search for some sort of organized leagues to play in. I don't have a network of 30 or so people I can get together with for a pickup game in the cow field for us to play kickball. Or at least I didn't until I joined kickball.

As with many things for these older people, Uncle Sam fails to see that times have changed. People don't get out and talk to their neighbors after a day's work at the office while the wife was at home cleaning and cooking. Now everyone works, a lot. Yet we are still social creatures who require interaction. So we join kickball leagues or book clubs or bowling teams to meet people. It's all setup for us so we just have to show up, play, and talk to people. We do it for fun. We don't want to play kick the can, and it's not meant for kids. So what's the problem?

In Uncle Sam's world, it'll always be Leave it To Beaver

The evil idea of sponsorships (gasp) from horrible corporate entities is addressed in this ode de the past as well. Uncle Sammy is horrified at the "...$50,000 rock-paper-scissors tournament in Las Vegas last April, complete with sponsorship from Bud Light beer and broadcast rights by the A&E Network? Lord, give us strength." Yes Uncle Sam, the world has changed, people can get sponsorships for things to help make games and fun events worth some money. Does this make the game less fun or innocent? Not for me. In fact in some leagues, not WAKA of course, these sponsorships actually help lower costs for the players. But I know that the Flower Power kids would never want to hear that (though they will sell you an original purse of their's for just $45.99) because they are above such things.

On sale from the people who shun material things and profits

The lawsuit does get mentioned and is a valid point, but everyone knows it's frivolous and will be thrown out. Uncle Sam ends his rant by stating that, "If Ponce de Leon were back amongst us, he wouldn't waste time searching for the Fountain of Youth. Instead, he'd climb into his local sports club's official uniform and compete against other geezers in official tournaments, complete with official rules, official travel headquarters and official prize money." Except we're not geezers, and we're not looking for the Fountain of Youth. We're just people who like to have fun. I thought that's what the baby boomers were all about, you know, free love and do whatever you want, man.

It seems odd that Uncle Sam would pick on kickball players. Maybe he just wishes he was young again and is jealous. More likely he just likes to whine. Somebody go buy him some rock candy from the corner store, will ya? He's about to tell us about that time he had to walk to school barefoot in 8 feet of snow uphill, both ways. Then he has to take his nap.

Why, back in my day we didn't have any fancy "email". You sent everything on a pony and it took a week to get a letter across town and by golly we liked it!

Blogger and Homer needed some alone time

Next time, just let me know first honey

Wednesday I had this great post I had written and found funny pictures for. When I went to publish it, Blogger was down for maintenance. Can't they warn you or something before they do that? I was ranting and raving and said some mean things to Blogger. Later I noticed that Blogger did in fact publish the post, I felt like crap. Blogger and I went out for a nice dinner and talked things out. So, today's post arrives shortly.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I don't even know what this is

I know I complain a lot about the Kash guys at WAKA and how they are the worst kickball league in the area when it comes to greed. I know I gave stated that they lie about small things like exactly where their regional playoffs are. Yes, I have been known to comment on the people that they hire and how pitiful they must be. All of it's true. It was illustrated again today.

Earlier today Sideshow Bob received the number one best party invitation ever:

Hello DC Hill Kickballers,

Here is the preliminary information on the End of Season Party:

Location:* *Exchange,* *1719 G Street NW*
Date: Saturday, November 4th*
Time: 8PM* The time may change slightly (within an hour).
The board will send out a definate time at the beginning of next week.

The Board

Michelle Vaccaro
WAKA Kickball - The World Adult Kickball Association
The New American Pastime TM
One Huge Weekend,

One Hot WAKA Experience

Join us for WAKA's
Leaders Cup W orld Kickball Championship

Nov 10-12 in San Diego, CA

I think it mainly speaks for itself, but I must comment. This was sent out by a WAKA employee, not a division volunteer. In this email is possibly the worst signature I have ever seen:

Michelle Vaccaro
WAKA Kickball - The World Adult Kickball Association
The New American Pastime TM
One Huge Weekend,

One Hot WAKA Experience

Join us for WAKA's
Leaders Cup W orld Kickball Championship

Nov 10-12 in San Diego, CA

Michelle, sweetie, run spell check. Stop using the retun key, and form a coherent thought. This is the thing that everyone sees on every email you send out! Do you work for WAKA, a travel agency, or a dating site? I'm made dizzy by the propositions just in your signature. Do I want a "Hot WAKA Experience"? A "Nov 10-12 trip to San Diego, CA"? Or to see the "Leaders Cup W orld Kickball Championship (sic)"? Whatever you need, Michelle's your chick. Woohoo!

Let's say I plan on going to this party. If I can get through the annoying use**of asterisks** for whatever reason I see that the party is from 8 until eternity (give or take an hour). And is free! This is a first in my dealings with the Kash guys. But wait, what the hell am I getting for free? What exactly is at this party? Maybe this is some kind of scam like those people who draw your name for a "free lunch" when you put your business card in a bowl. Then when you go to lunch they make you sit through some 30 minute thing for a time share or how they have the answer to your real estate dreams. I guess I'll wait for The Board to clarify, since they will "defantely" be getting back to Sideshow.

Yes, yes you can party. Right after we show you this beautiful oceanfront timeshare, in Arizona.

In any case, this is by far the worst invitation from a professional organization I think I've ever seen. You would think for $60 a season, of which 80 percent goes to overhead, they could hire people who can spell. Or run spell check. Hmm, come to think of it this may be the worst excuse for an invite I have ever gotten. My little niece's invitation to her 10th birthday party at least knew how long it would last. But of course she doesn't work for the Kash guys. Although I hear they need people...

This week 4th grade, next week WAKA employee of the month!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Why I play kickball

There are lots of sports that amateurs can play: softball, football, badmiton, etc. Most people play a sport to get exercise, get out their aggressions, or have their competitive outlet. Others play to meet people and have fun. When you play softball or football no one ever asks you why you play. They just either politely nod because they didn't really care to begin with or they ask followups. Everyone always asks "Why?" when you say you play kickball. There are some great reasons.

The never ending question to kickballers

The first is that it's easy. I don't have to worry about getting mashed by a lineman. I don't need the hand-eye coordination of softball. Most people playing kickball aren't trying to relive some 4th grade blacktop legend status they never knew. So I like kickball because it's easy and not as competitive as other sports.

The second is beer. Beer is a large part of the kickball experience. In fact, some people like me would argue that the real competition in kickball happens at the bar. I'm sure that many people enjoy kicking and catching the ball; but everyone enjoys the bar scene. And most people love the beer.

The third reason is the social scene. It can range from almost none (District Sports) to fill-my-calendar-for-the-season (NAKID) but they a;ll have one. Whether you go to Happy Hours, just the bar after the games, or the parties it's a lot of fun. There is no other way that I can think of to meet so many people with whom you have something in common in such a short period of time. And almost no one asks what you do!

The last is the distraction from daily life. I just found out today that I am losing my job. Sort of. My company was trying to merge with a major one and got shot down, so I am in limbo. Normally this would cause worry and fretting. Instead I can check kickball messageboards, read the gossip, and lose myself in the pointless ramblings of others. Sure there are other things that can distract you from life's crap; but few will allow you to get drunk as a cover!

Anyone need a blogger? I work cheap!

I play kickball because it's a great time and I don't have to worry about impressing people with my prowess on the field. I enjoy the people I come in contact with. Overall I think it makes my life better or at least more fun. Where else can I get the drama of high school and not have to hide the fact that I'm drinking beer? Competitive dominoes?

Ok, but do you have people drunkenly hooking up in the bathroom?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Time for a change?

While my company's computer system is down I got to wondering about last night's Game 6 NLCS game between the Mets and Cardinals. The back and forth in the series has been great. It's a true test of endurance. Football is by far king of sports, but the Super Bowl and it's playoffs lack the coolness and inherent fairness of a playoff series. After all, a few bad plays in a football playoff game, and you're done. Is this really the best way to show who the best team is? I don't think so.

All the kickball leagues I play in are run the in much the same way. Usually there is a day long marathon of games which are all "one and done". You lose, you're gone, see you at the bar. For the most part, I agree with anything that can hasten the move to the bar but I don't think I do in this case. Maybe a playoff series would be better.

Series v Beer? I love them both, Beer will wait for me

In all of the leagues I play in every team makes the playoffs. This usually means 12 or 16 teams, so I realize that having even a three game series for each round is not feasible. So I propose having a playoff series, best of three, for the championship only. Most kickball games don't exceed one hour, so you could easily fit the entire series in the time it takes to watch one baseball or football game.

This would give a better idea of who the most deserving champion is, I believe. I have seen some "World Kickball Champions" crowned because someone mishandled one bunt. Or a "Champion of the Kickball Universe" named because the pitcher was on. But what if he had to throw three games in a row? Would he be as good? Would someone else get a chance to shine? I don't know but it sure seems like a better way to crown a champ than basing it on an errant throw.

After all, Mookie Wilson's grounder in '86 happened in Game 6, so the Red Sox still had a chance. And even though they did lose the series, at least it all didn't come down to that one play. Maybe the kickball powers that be should consider that and change their format.

Bill Buckner, the patron saint of the kickball playoff series

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Missing the "adult" in Adult Kickball

People are always fascinating to me. Any time they are grouped together certain personalities tend to stand out. Others just get swallowed up by the group. Then there are those who want desperately to be more important than they actually are. Even in kickball, when why the hell would it matter?

On the NAKID message board today I read with amusement an exchange between one of the players in the league and one of the people in charge. A little background: the player is on a team that was caught soliciting non-registered players to play because they were going to be short girls last week. This is a big no-no in all of the leagues I play in (though people routinely do it in WAKA). The team was called out for it. Their opponents this past week beat them, and I guess they are bitter about losing and being called out. One of the captains posted this:

So I seem to remember when I first signed up for NAKID, that there was a checkbox I had to check that made sure I read something that went like this...In signing up for NAKID, you agree to have fun, not take the kickball games too seriously, and drink like it's going out of style. This is meant to be a FUN league (not like WAKA) and any aggression, rule dropping, BITTERNESS, bringing the rule book to the game (um... the current one, not the SPRING '06 one! LOL!) are strictly prohibited! To agree, check here: So, in keeping with the agreement, we haven't bitched about rules, we've taken certain creative license (deny, deny, deny), and we've played in fun with all of the teams in the league... even the intense ones from last season!... and have all had a great time. All was well and good in the land of NAKIDness until all hell broke loose last Sunday and rule books came out, someone brought their bitchy side to the field (along with an outdated rule book), and unfortunately, no class was exhibited, illustrated by the fact that the pitcher didn't want to pitch to the last batter because it wouldn't have mattered in the outcome of the game. They were winning by an insurmountable lead. Oh wait, I'm forgetting the TWO cherries on the top of this bitter, bitter cake...The captain RAPED Joe's ear at the conclusion of the game... AND, the team never even showed to the bar. I saw one light blue shirt and it was from last season! This is just a public service announcement to all you kickballers out there... Don't forget why we play for NAKID, and don't forget that everyone pays their dues and wants the pleasure of playing the WHOLE game and having fun doing it... no matter how bad they are losing. Oh, and if you win, shouldn't you be smiling at the end, not scowling???I'm beginning to think this league is full of people that secretly work for the IRS!Fun people... FUN! Remember what that means? I offered a solution because we aren't the only team that needs to recruit more people that will show... I have reffed a few "automatic outs/runs down" games lately and it's disappointing to both teams. Let teams recruit league wide so the games would be played out with the requisite number of players. This gives us all the chance to play a full game as well as introducing people that want to play next season to the league. Hey Joe! That means more $$$$, more free beer, and more extracurricular activities. Let me ask you this. If you paid your dues and came out to play and the other team had to forfeit because they didn't have enough players, or played but presented no challenge because they couldn't cover the field... wouldn't you feel a little cheated? You might as well have just gone to the bar. That's not what we signed up for. So if a team brings the enough people to present good competition even though some aren't on the original roster, so what? Prorate the dues and everyone will be happy. But... we will all have a better time playing (why we signed up in the first place) if the teams show with enough people (and girls).P.S. There is one team now that must start every game now one point down because a team member's brother was in town and wanted to enjoy the experience. Seriously folks! Give me a break... See, here's the thing. No one approached us and said, that will be $20-$30 for each new player to finish out the season (3 games), which would have been fine. We hadn't even made it to game on Sunday with new recruits. If we are allowed to recruit and have them pay to play the rest of the season, then why were we met with such bitterness and consternation after advertising that we needed girls? It's not illegal to add girls to the team apparently, as long as they pay to play the rest of the season. I'll throw this out there too... If someone on the Alcobolics team has a brother, sister, cousin, mom or dad, etc. that would like to enjoy our game this coming Sunday, please feel free to bring them. We won't say a word... Looking forward to the game!!!

This post was deleted a few times because apparently someone on the "light blue team" was offended, but the guy kept reposting so it was left there. Then he kept posting subsequent emails from on of the guys who runs the league. One announced he was kicked off as captain for inviting a team to break rules. Just lots of crap like that.

Part of this what makes it so funny is that no team in NAKID has had to forfeit this season, and in fact they make it so there are no forfeits so this guy is waaaaay off base. Also, part of the draw to play in NAKID is that they have rosters that are flexible so you can kick those no-shows off the team and replace them. I don't know how a captain wouldn't know this. Further, he states in another post that other leagues have teams pay a lump sum and then have players come and go as the please - registered or not. Maybe in some other area, but I have played in all of them here and that certainly is not the case.
Hi, I'm ready for kickball
Anyway, I tried to figure out what this guy's point is. You flame the team you played, try to get other teams to break the rules, and act like an ass in general and for what? No one on the message board seems to be on the guy's side. See, the thing is when you go off like a baby missing it's pacifier and you are over the age of 2, you better be right. Or at least have point. This guy has neither.

Sometimes I wonder if there really is any "adult" in adult kickball. Don't get me wrong: I enjoy acting like an idiot on a Booze Bus trip or dressing up for the playoffs - but this stuff is just stupid.

Just imagine if he was getting responses from the DC Kickball guy. What an Inferiority Complex Convention that would be. And note to the guy: if you felt unimportant or whatever before, imagine how you are going to feel now.

The shirt for dumbass kickballers

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Kickball gets political

I know it's the political season and as we wind down here to the last three weeks the hyperbole will be ratcheted up to sites unseen. I'm about ready to hear that George Allen had sex with a deer before cutting off its head and putting it on top of a cross which he burned on a black family's property when he was 10 1/2. Or that Michael Steele secretly does hate puppies and actually the one in that ad was a cat dressed as a puppy. I'm used to that. But I really don't need it in kickball.

Closet puppy hater?

Last week several of my friends emailed me immediately upon getting an email from the founder of DC Kickball. I'll spare you the details, all of which can basically be seen here anyway, and get to the part that was... a bit much to me. This picture was at the top of the email:

Ok, I get the David v Goliath aspect of the Kash Guys suing DC Kickball and as I have stated, I am rooting for the guy - but COME ON! Dude, you're fighting for kickball freedom not the right to live in a free society. 5,000 people are not going to be slaughtered if you lose your case. And by the way, I don't think that kid was advertising for the Chi-Comms while he was standing there, as you have done for WAKA on your website. Plus, he was fighting for something completely different than Communism, you're just fighting to be WAKA Jr. It's just a tad over the top.

So this is followed up by a piece written by a former DC Kickballer on DCist that basically seeks to remind people that the case is still going on. However, the author uses some rather interesting analogies:

We're miffed that WAKA would really push this lawsuit. After all, the rules of kickball aren't any more proprietary than are the rules of Paper, Rock, Scissors. Moreover, Rabasa may have called WAKA "the Microsoft of kickball," but doesn't this lawsuit somewhat expose the fact that that's what they are? And though WAKA could probably stand to lose a few players, we've heard rumors that plenty of teams defected to DCKickball once the lawsuit became public. That seems to make sense -- after all, kickball has always tried to present itself as a fun, carefree alternative to organized sports.

Should this actually go to trial and reach the stage where it would merit a judgment, we're guessing it'll go down in American legal history alongside the hot-spilled-coffee lawsuit and the I-had-no-idea-eating-50-Big-Macs-a-day-would-be-bad-for-me lawsuit.

Ok I want to take this part by part. First, "Rabasa may have called WAKA "the Microsoft of kickball," but doesn't this lawsuit somewhat expose the fact that that's what they are?" Umm, no. Hi, Sun sued Microsoft because they accused Microsoft of forcing people to use their browser, Microsoft didn't sue anyone. Also, I'd like to state for the record that Microsoft is a kickass company that has made many people's lives easier. Plus, the guy who founded it has given billions away. I wish someone would compare the place I work to that. Bad analogy one.

Next, "Should this actually go to trial and reach the stage where it would merit a judgment, we're guessing it'll go down in American legal history alongside the hot-spilled-coffee lawsuit ..." Uhh, again, this was a woman suing a big company not the other way around. And by the way, she won that case so if the point is that the lawsuit was bogus, this doesn't work (I know the amount was lowered on appeal, but she did win). Bad analogy two.

Hot and a bad analogy

Then, "...and the I-had-no-idea-eating-50-Big-Macs-a-day-would-be-bad-for-me lawsuit." To my knowledge there is no such lawsuit, but even if there was, this is again a person suing the big guy - not the other way around. Bad analogy three.

My point is this: I think the DC Kickball founder is trying too hard. Hi, we are on your side, stop being a shmuck. Everyone knows the Kash guys want to shut you down because they fear competition. Everyone knows the lawsuit is frivolous. People would be happy to help you; just stop advertising for the people suing you.

And for Pete's sake don't make it like you're the last beacon of freedom in the world and thousands will die if you lose. It's a kickball lawsuit about money. Life will go on. Leave that crap to the politicians.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Ramblings on Friday the 13th

Today is one of my favorite days of the year - Friday the 13th. I just like it because people get all weird about it, the news covers it like it matters, and as an added bonus this year; it's the first chilly day in a long time. So, I figure today I will just put some random thoughts together about several things that I have seen, but can't really make a column about. Pretty much just unrelated kickball ramblings. Enjoy!

I love it when it gets cold outside. I know it means kickball is over (or moved indoors) but it's a nice relief from the not-to-distant 85 degree kickball days.

I know one man's trash in another's treasure, but this is ridiculous! I mean come on, I have some cleats and colored socks I wore from my first season, what they hell are they worth? Also, this guy better watch out, if the Kash guys find out he's selling a logoed t-shirt they may sue his ass.

Hey, it's vintage on Ebay!

I'm reading the DC Kickball message board the other day and come across this exchange between the founder and a player not named Kickball Homer about changing the name of the Adam's Morgan division:

Founder: I'm going to nominate a couple:
O.G. (original gansta) Division
AdMo Division
T.T. (Tom Tom) Division
Ringer Division (back in the ringer-T days)

Player: T.T. - HELL NO!!!
We are not going to become FedEx Field or Heinz Stadium!
They don't give us enough specials for that!
How could T.T. be even proposed?

Founder: I proposed T.T. because it sounds vulgar when you say it a few times. Tee tee, tee tee, get it? We had a guy on my old Fockers team nicknamed T.T. He was T.T. Focker.
Besides, where's your brilliant suggestion? Or do you just like to call people out all the time?

Wow, sure makes me want to play in DC Kickball next season. I mean every time someone disagrees with this guy he has a fit. Grow some thicker skin already! Plus, hi, you're stealing OG from NAKID - be original.

People heading to California for the WAKA playoffs (I predict 13 teams show) are starting to whine on wakakickball365. There is a "Captain's Reception" that the Kash guys are putting on the night before the games. Here are the specs:

Event: Captains ReceptionTime: 7:00pm - 9:00pmDetails: Free Concert and Beer!Exclusive WAKA concert and hosted happy hour at Mission Valley Resort San Diego! Enjoy the beautiful outdoor patio and a complimentary taco bar, beer and a PRIVATE CONCERT featuring Spencer the Gardener. Full cash bar available. Must have a ticket to be admitted. Captains and co-captains are FREE but all WAKA players can join in the fun for just $25. Purchase your tickets today.

"Hi, I'm here for beer & tacos"
I have no idea who Spencer the Gardner is, but that is the best they could do? A TWO-HOUR window for free beer for $25 dollars?? Jeez, all WAKA division parties are a better deal than that for players. Most people are pissed because captains get in free. I have a solution - MAKE ALL PLAYERS CAPTAINS. There is nothing against that in the WAKA rules. I checked. Then you can all get free beer and crappy food while listening to a sucky band for a couple of hours. I mean I know the Kash guys love money, but these people are flying cross country. Of course, they will just complain and pay, so nothing will change.

I have contemplated dressing up as Santa every week for indoor kickball, but that might be a bit much. Maybe just the last game before Christmas. That would be funny. Especially if I got drunk and passed out and some little kid woke me up.

Ok, I guess that's it for this week. I hope everyone has a great weekend. I know I will, I'm heading out on a bus filled with beer to Annapolis with a bunch of kickballers so you know that will be good!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Who says you have to pick just one?

As my regular readers know, I play in a variety of kickball leagues. For some reason they are all sort of nasty about their competition. I guess it's like Pepsi going after Coke in their television ads, but it still seems a bit pointless to me. Most of the people I play kickball with couldn't care less about the business side of kickball. We just want to play. Plus, it's not really an either/or proposition when it comes to kickball.

I realize that most people have a finite amount of money to spend on fun things like kickball and so that is a factor. However, I also realize that a striking number of people join kickball, pay the money, and never show up to a single game! They basically throw their $65 (or whatever amount) away and apparently don't care. I mean, you'd think they'd at least come to get the stupid t-shirt, right? The point is, obviously the money is not all that finite if people - a lot of people - can just waste it like that.

I guess, too, their is a time factor. Most people also have a finite amount of time to spend doing leisure activities, so they may just want to choose one league to play in. However, in this area it seems like most people spend their time trying to meet other people who are like them. If I'm right about that, then it seems like joining more than one league would be the most efficient way to do that. I mean where else will you meet semi-athletic, semi-alcoholics who also enjoy playing a kid's game. Maybe Mark Foley's basement, but that's another story... and they'd all be too young.

Lastly, I guess there is the loyalty factor. As with Coke and Pepsi, and the first one you drank; there are people who probably feel some insane loyalty to the first league they joined. I call it insane because really it doesn't make any sense. Do any of these leagues have a loyalty to you? Sure you have friends and fun in the one you play with; but would you be allowed to play if you couldn't pay your registration? When you're out defending DC Kickball or NAKID to WAKA people who are shouting at you, does anyone who works for these places thank you or come over to help you? And aren't you depriving yourself, by staying true to just one league, of possibly a better kickball experience? Or at the very least the chance to hook up more?

See, she gets it!
I guess it really comes down to this, at least for me: try 'em all. One of the good things about being a kickball dork in this area is that we have several leagues to choose from. Hopefully that will make all of the leagues better, but that will only happen if many people are able to compare each of the leagues. So I hope people will do that. And I guess I'll try a Diet Pepsi today instead of Diet Coke.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Perfect Resume

There are lots of tough jobs in the country. Right now I'd put soldier in the military at the top of the list. Cops, trash guys, people who do anything related to having to be waist deep in sewage - these are timeless tough jobs. Apparently, we can add a new one to this list: WAKA Rep. The job seems easy enough from the way it is presented, but either the turnover is such or WAKA is growing so fast (this week they are back to 25,000 according to their spokesbabe) that I am constantly getting solicitations from the WAKA reps. Here is yesterday's:

Hello Kickballers,

Take your love of kickball to the next level! The World Adult Kickball Association in Phoenix currently has a need for a part time Regional Representative. An average of a 10 hour work week is required, with some evenings and weekends as necessary. You must have high speed internet access at home and be available to attend staff meetings via phone, local board meetings, games and social events. Great email communication skills and general computer knowledge are a must. Help spread the joy of kickball.

Please submit your resume and cover letter of interest to:

Keep on kicking!

This got me thinking, "What would the ideal WAKA resume for a rep look like?" I mean the real ideal one, not the one the Kash guys would say they want. One based on my and several other players experiences and the hiring practices of the Kash guys to this point. People like the people they are and have hired in the past. I think I found it and I'd like to share:

Kickball Homer
1234 Main St
Anywhere, USA
(202) 555-5555
To obtain a position where basically I don't have to do anything. I work from home and send out emails one or two days a week and then go to a bar if I feel like it. Also, a position with upward mobility that would allow me to do more of the same.
Highlights of Qualifications
  • Like to make puppies cry
  • 157 on math portion of SAT
  • Years of drinking experience
  • Able to make people's lives more difficult with little effort
  • Often referred to as "Quintessential Company Person"
  • Never question authority
Work Experience
Aug 2006 - Sept 2006, Food Services Specialist - Long John Silvers
  • Mopped floor
  • Fried several foods
  • Overcharged customers for food
  • Yelled at customers when they questioned value meal prices

January 2005 - March 2005, Barista - Caribou Coffee

  • Hung out with friends
  • Overcharged customers for coffee
  • Made fun of customers
  • Made coffee

June 2004 - Aug 2004, Camp Counselor - Lake Chopamipinga

  • Started kickball but lost interest and never went to any games
  • Scheduled no social events
  • Overcharged kids for everything from going to camp to breathing
  • Yelled at the kids a lot when they question camp guidelines
  • Wasted a lot of space

April 2000 - January 2004, Lab Assistant - Dharma Labs

  • Pulled wings off flies just to watch them suffer
  • Did lots of medicinal marijuana to test how many brain cells it kills
  • Overcharged customers for all of our services
  • Sent out press release allowing people to use the theory of relativity


2000-2006, University of Phoenix

BA in Psychology


  • Lazy Ass of the Year, 2000-2006
  • Fuzzy Math Champion, 2006
  • Abu Ghraib Top Torturer, 2004
  • Company Man of the Year, 2000, 2004

Special Notes: While I realize there are several gaps in my resume while I was attending UoP, well, math is hard. Additionally I do have a doctor's note that dictates that I cannot work more than 8 hours in a given week and none can be consecutive. I hope this does not hurt my chances of getting this great job.

References available upon request from:

Jeff Spicoli, SpongeBob Squarepants, and any of the fine profs at UoP

The flood of applicants with this sort of resume should be immediate. I'm sure the Kash guys would be happy to hire more of the same of what they already have. WAKA reps make things much more difficult for the people who actually make WAKA work - the volunteers on the board; thus torture is a good background for any potential employee. WAKA reps don't get paid much but then, based on my experience and those of many others, they don't do very much either. So really, anything they do get is like money for doing almost nothing - sorta like the Kash guys themselves.

That doesn't seem to be a difficult job at all, maybe my resume has a shot.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

At least someone gets privileges

I remember an American Express ad campaign that featured the "Membership has privileges" slogan as its centerpiece. Being in kickball can kind of be like that. When you go to the bar with a bunch of other sweaty alcoholics after games and people not with the league try to infiltrate their is an immediate "they are not one of us" mentality that takes over. It's good in some ways, it keeps the unwanteds off of the females and it helps to give people a sense of belonging. Not so good because it is often the genesis of beer muscle fights. But what other privileges are there?

Well, cheap beer is one. Due to the vast amounts of crappy beer consumed, kickballers get a nice reduction in pitcher prices at most bars. Usually there are food and rail drink specials as well. DC Kickball and NAKID have also gotten some non-rail drink specials.

Cheap or free parties three times a season is another. It's nice to be able to pay either nothing (my preference, as NAKID does) or little (as WAKA and DC Kickball do) and be able to drink for usually 3-4 hours. Non-members always have to pay more. So that's another privilege.

However, in looking over the three main leagues in DC one should have a huge advantage over the others in privileges - via partnerships - than the others. I speak of course of the Kash guys and WAKA. One of the major draws for belonging to a "national organization" is that they usually offer far greater benefits than smaller competing places. This should especially be true if the organization going to charge you more to belong to it. But that doesn't seem to be the case.

Looking over the Kash guy's sponsor list I see Mikasa, the guys who provide their kickballs. That sponsorship doesn't make the kickballs any cheaper to buy through WAKA. In fact, if you buy a WAKA kickball in a store it's actually cheaper than buying it on their website. No privileges there. Game Time Travel is another sponsor. Any looking on Expedia or Travelocity though will usually get you cheaper rates than they (called Lame Time by some 'ballers) find you. Not much of a privilege.

Next I find Umm, ok. I click on it and you have to fill out a form to find out what the discount is. I'm sure Shonika is a fine person, but this seems like those damn faxes I get incessantly offering me great discounts if I buy through them instead a real Cingular dealer. Shady to say the least. I'm not sure much cheaper than if I negotiated a deal on my own. And actually, it doesn't tell you what she actually does on her site. Creepy privileges there. Last there is someone named Amy Walsh who has a company named Kickball Media Works. I have no idea what she does. I think they bought from her and promised to giver a link. Only privilege is for Amy there.

Oh yeah, there is also Miller Light, the sponsor beer in DC. Well, we all get privileges from that one, as I mentioned before.

I thought about this because I got an email from a WAKA rep that sent me a flier:

I thought, "Well, this is something". Except it only works if you are going with someone. It will save me $5, which is a beer and a tip. Beggars can't be choosers though so it's okay. Then I went on the Lindy Promo website and found their flier:

Hmm. Okay, so if I go alone and use the Lindy flier I save money and I can pre-register and not have to wait in line. I wondered why this part was left off the WAKA flier. Then it dawned on me: Use the WAKA flier, that Kash guys get a kickback. Register online and save yourself some time and money and they get nothing. Same thing with Shonika, they get a cut. I called Game Time, same thing there too.

At least they stayed true to the beer sponsor and removed the Bud and Bud Light logos from the flier, though they are still pimping a competing beer. I wonder if this will impact the amount they get from Miller Lite next year...

I don't begrudge the Kash guys making money, but how about negotiating sponsorships that actually benefit customers too? Like some place to be cleats or knee high socks. I have detailed before why they can't get national sponsorships with Nike, et al. but something with all of their alleged kickball might would be nice. What's the sense of playing more money to be a "World Kickball Champion" if you can't at least get something out of it?

But then, the Kash guys do get theirs. I guess our membership does get privileges - just not for us.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Beer makes everything better

I have to say that I don't really think of kickball as a sport but rather a game. Some people may dispute this and that's fine but I think there is a fine line between the two. In sports, teams generally stay pretty angry with each other or have grudge matches that build up over time. A game is just, well, a game. It ends and it's over. I was reminded of they kickball is just a game again yesterday.

I played in one game where all was going well and we were on our way to spanking the team we played. Not much controversy throughout the game (except that the refs kept tossing a football around during the game). The last inning though the team we were playing started getting heated. They were saying stuff to my captain and acting like jerks. I assumed it was frustration due to losing.

Later my friend was officiating a game where one of the teams questioned all of his ball/strike calls. foul calls, everything. I know a little about baseball and I know that those calls are judgment calls, and the same is true in kickball. Yes, there are general parameters, but each ump has their own zone that they call. That's just the way it is. But this team was relentless and just kept hounding the poor guy.

I realize that during a game everyone gets competitive and angry and whatnot, and that's understandable. I think that what people have to remember though, is that umpires do not get paid in kickball. They are just players - and not like everyone else - they are willing to stay later or arrive earlier to take the inevitable questioning of their calls and name calling that accompanies this joy. It's for this reason I believe that people who are willing to be head refs throughout the season should play for free.

This will insure better and more consistent officiating and at the same time make it better for the masochists who are willing to do it. Also, they should get at least a pitcher of beer each week at the bar. Again., I mean this for the head refs, not just everybody. I think that would be nice. To my knowledge no league in this area does that now.

Thankfully, the teams who were being loud and overly obnoxious on the field yesterday recognized that they were being dumb. The team we played apologized to my captain, to which he said thanks and he didn't take it personally. And the team whining about the umpire came up to him after the game and admitted they were being jerks and apologized. And that was the right thing to do in both cases.

That's why going to the bar after games is so important. Beer has a great effect on clearing ones mind when it comes to being overly competitive in kickball. Boo sports grudges. Hooray beer!