Kickball in the City

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Kickball Douchebags

This past Monday was the championship for the indoor kickball league I was playing in. The game was going along pretty well and was a close match between the Jingle Hoos and Kick, Flip, Repeat. It was set to be a 9 inning match and was humming along through the 8th when all of the sudden the game was halted and lots of shouting began. Many of us were confused as to what was going on until the umpire clarified; Kick, Flip, Repeat had brought beer into an elementary school (where the games were played) and was immediately disqualified and thrown out of the school.

Many of us were shocked and several people wondered how people could be so stupid. I mean really, if you can't wait an hour to drink beer you probably need to join a 12 step program. Further, it's just plain stupid and disrespectful - not to mention illegal. So this led me to coin another phrase I will use to describe this team and others like it: Kickball Douchebags.

Kickball Douchebags varies slightly from the urban dictionary definition of a douche bag, which refers to anyone you know who is a douche bag. This has to be kickball specific, so I will submit the entry here, with an example, of course:

Kickball Douchebags (noun) - 1. A person on a kickball team that is a total moron and doesn't think before he/she speaks or acts. 2. A kickball team with an indescribable idiocy, hence stupidity, poor idea of what's cool, possibly an arrogance about them. 3. A team that is a total tool of the Kash guys.

ex. Did you hear about Kick, Flip, Repeat bringing beer to a school? They are total kickball douchebags for that.

Hello, we are Kick, Flip, Repeat - tools of the Kash guys

Let me lay out the whole story though, to make it clear. Apparently this team plays in the Kash guys' DC Lightning division normally. A quick view of the Lightning site showed that this is true and the team's name last season was While You're Down There. One of their players served on the board. I guess they decided to play indoor kickball with NAKID.

My team played them a couple of times and playing them was never fun. We beat them (big whoop) but they were one of those teams that argues every call and just seemed to have a chip on its shoulder the whole season. Then at the bar they would stick to themselves. Apparently, as I have heard, they were drunk and bringing beer to all the games so this may explain their angry, antisocial behavior.

Fast forward to Monday's game where one guy in particular kept yelling at the umpire and acting like a tough guy. After the game was called because of their illegal actions, the responses were typical of kickball douchebags. First, they denied having beer. Then they stated that while they did have beer, someone had known about it the whole time and that by taking the side of the head umpire people were "on their side". Generally speaking, I like to be on the right side of the law too. Finally, one guy was pushing the head umpire, talking typical kickball douchebag stuff about wanting to fight and actually pushing the guy (who did not push back and just told them to get out). Again, the beer may explain this behavior.

So they head to the bar, declaring themselves champs despite all that transpired. Speaking to one of the people who helps run NAKID I was told that this would just be left alone as long as the kickball douchebags left it that way. But of course, they could not. They started posting things on NAKID's message board about how they are the champs and NAKID people are too weak or something to play with the Kash guys (Hi, KDB, a number of us DO!), etc. So the team was sent an email, which was passed to me:

Based on your team's display last night and wanton disregard for the law, let alone the rules of NAKID, denial of having broken the law, and subsequent threats of violence, your team has been banned from this league. This means that none of you will be invited nor allowed to participate in any NAKID events. In addition any further comments posted on our message board by your team members will continue to be deleted by the administrator. If you are happy in the league you regularly play in, then just return to it and leave it at that.

Pretty straightforward to me and would seem simple enough even for kickball douchebags to understand, right? WRONG! I was not sent all of the responses, but these two seem indicative:

Totally unnecessary - and somewhat prolific, you all were banned from WAKA (probably b/c you're lame and don't drink during games) and you banned us from NAKID, whoop'd-e-freaking-do. As if you didn't know we didn't plan on coming back again, anyway.Thanks for the good times and the ability to now say we've been BANNED FROM NAKID to all of our WAKA friends!!!

I was wondering if you could make our “wanton disregard for the law” shrimp… Oh and could you add some spicy mustard as well. So the final order should read “Based on your team’s display last night and SHRIMP wanton WITH SPICY MUSTARD disregard for the law.”

Okay, now that I (and hopefully most of you) are done laughing, let's take a look at these two responses. The first states that it's "prolific", which as we all know does not fit there, and must be referring to the league's sexual prowess. It also states that people in NAKID were banned from WAKA, which is of course, a lie. The second shows that these people really are kickball douchebags - apparently the writer doesn't understand the difference between delicious won tons and the word wanton. Amazing.

The food of choice for kickball douchebags, just make sure you place the order

The interesting thing is this: these people knew they were not supposed to drink in a school. And in fact, if you go to the DC Lighting page right now the first thing one's eye is drawn to is "Rule 1.03 – Alcohol is prohibited on the field unless expressly permitted by field regulations. Note: Our field regulations don’t allow it. If you get caught with alcohol by the Capitol Police, you will be ticketed and WAKA could lose its ability to filed games on the Mall. (“This beverage sure is refreshing in an opaque cup.” Opaque means you can’t see through the cup for those of you who have trouble with words.)" So if these kickball douchebags have been drinking on the fields during games, someone may want to alert the Park Police (they play Wednesdays) to this.

Not for use is elementary schools, kickball douchebags!

I'm telling you, it's kickball douchebags like these people that make it difficult to stay in WAKA and make players turn to DC Kickball and NAKID. Have fun eating your wantons morons!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Back for Realsies

Ok, I know that I said I would be back and writing steadily around Christmas, but now I really am. And boy have I heard a lot of things over the last few months that will make for some great posts. And so, I begin.

It seems that kickball is not the only thing that the Kash guys of WAKA are exporting to the Left Coast. There is something of a kickball rebellion brewing there because, as the Kash guys influence there increases, many players become disenchanted with the horrible business practices that have taken place here in DC. Notably, according to the Awesome Helicopter Ninjas - one of the LC's premier WAKA teams, because of problems at the bar.
I received an email from one of the Ninja's informing me of some less than happy response from his WAKA rep when he dared to complain about the prices increasing at his sponsor bar again. You can read the whole exchange here, but I'll boil it down for you. An AHN mentioned that part of the reason for the raising of prices at the bar and the bar's less than great treatment of the players was due to the fact that the bar has to pay the Kash guys to get the sponsorship. The WAKA rep responded that he was wrong and that it was none of his business. The Ninja player then asked me if I had any info that may help. As always, I did.

The Kash guys, spreading their brand of unhappiness there too

The treatment of players at most sponsor bars, at least here, must have a lot to do with the money the bar pays the Kash guys. The reason I say that is because normally, if someone was promising 100-200 people to a bar on a Wednesday night - when the bar would otherwise be a ghost town - the owner and staff would be grateful. Especially if you could promise that many people for 8 or 9 weeks per season. But with these sponsor bars, especially the longer a division goes there, it seems that there is less appreciation for this steady stream of thirsty customers. Must be the money.

In DC the Kash guys charge something like $7.25 (this number comes from a WAKA rep) per player to sponsor bars. For a full division that comes out to $3016. Out of that, WAKA reps get a cut, the rest easily covers tee shirt costs. The bars get the aforementioned drunken kickballers, and frankly we are a pretty easy bunch to take care of. It's mostly just beer and food. But, we like to get it in a timely manner and there are a lot of us ordering at once. And the staff wants large tabs so they can get large tips, but we want separate tabs. And there is a lot to clean up when we leave. And we really don't go to the sponsor bar much when it's not a kickball night, and we don't really want to have parties where we drink every week. BUT, the bar does make a lot of money even minus the $3K or so they have to pay.

It's all about the Benjamins, baby

Most people feel compelled to go to the bar on the back of their shirt, so really the bar has guaranteed patronage. So they raise prices to make up for the money they paid the Kash guys. After awhile, they put the new staff on to handle the kickballers, so service goes down. If players complain they are met with "It's none of your business" statements (as the Hollywood rep posted on the message board) and things rarely improve. Players feel like they are pretty powerless and stuck with the bar. But it's not so.

According to the bylaws of divisions, they are independent entities of WAKA. So a non-board member could go talk to a bar and negotiate a better deal, not take any money, and convince players to go there. At the very least, players can drink at any bar they choose to - and if you roll up with 100 others, they will let you play flip cup. The bottom line is, it IS your business and you do have alternatives.

The treatment that players receive is DIRECTLY related to the bars being charged for their patronage. In my WAKA and DC Kickball experiences the staff has been slow, surly, and unhappy to have us there - they both charge bars. In NAKID's bar, there is certainly a different feel. While service for food can be slow, I never feel like they are annoyed that we are there - and I can always get a separate tab. Plus, occasionally they play scrimmages against us and supply the beer afterward! That has to be about the relationship the bar has with the organization.

As always, the Kash guys and their reps will be defensive when asked about money. That means you're on the right track. But for you left coasters maybe it's time for some good ol' 60s protests to get your sponsor bar to treat you right. Just leave the patchouli at home.

I smell a protest!!