Kickball in the City

Monday, April 30, 2007

Variety is the spice of kickball life

Most people would not want to eat one kind of food, or even different food from the same place, every day forever. While initially it may sound like Heaven to eat 5 guys all day every day or dine at Citronelle for the rest of your life; eventually it would get boring. And those are examples of things that are excellent. Imagine if you kept going to a crappy restaurant for eternity - how much would that suck? This brings me to this week's open letter to the people who ONLY play in the Kash guy's league:

To Whom it May Concern,

I know that many of you have played with WAKA for many years, as I have. In the last few years a few new kickball leagues have popped up in the area and seem to be growing fairly well. For the most part they are less expensive, get better bar, deals, and one in particular is a much more social event oriented. And many people who play in WAKA, including me, have tried them out - they are fun!

The reason for this letter is to those of you who really care about making WAKA, or whatever league you are in, better. Being a kickball dork I read wakakickball365 fairly regularly and often see people complaining about things they'd like to see WAKA change. Like bar prices increasing or the cheap-o rubber bases they have to use. However, when someone from WAAR or NAKID or some other group posts a response they are met with either silence or disdain from WAKA loyalists. So do people just want to bitch and moan or do they want to effect some change? I fear it is the former.

Also, I wonder where this loyalty comes from? Certainly the Kash guys are only loyal to your dollar bills. After all, aside from a few empty promises by WAKA reps to bring things up to "WAKA central" what real change has occurred? For goodness sake, they won't even give returning players a tiny $5 discount for playing for more than one season! And many of us have worked for free to help them make money, yet we are never considered in anything - except for money collection.

The only thing that gets the Kash guys loyalty

My point is that by playing in more than one league during a season, or alternating between a few, wouldn't you broaden your horizon and possibly get a better experience? Or some ideas to being back to WAKA? Why is it that leagues that have been around for less than half the time WAKA has can afford to not charge for any parties (and have them last 6 hours!), use real bases, and/or charge less? At the very least you would widen your circle for potential friends and hookups. And you may even find you like one of the other leagues better.

This is all a multi-million dollar corporation can afford?

In the end I just don't get why many players are willing to pay more, get less, and put up with people who love WAKA treating them like crap (as in this exchange on a message board). I still play in WAKA but exposing myself to these other leagues has certainly made me see that many of the things I thought could make the league better are feasible and happening elsewhere. The loss of revenue will probably be the only thing that will get the Kash guys' attention, maybe it won't, but at least you'd know. Plus, let's not forget the hookup potential increasing. So why not try one, you may like it?

Kickball Homer

Friday, April 27, 2007

What the Hell is everyone's problem?

Now that all of the leagues in the area are into the swing of kickball, it's time for me to get back to writing a few times a week - and stepping up the bitchiness of posts. This week, though, I reserve most of the vitriol for the increasingly annoying National Park Service.

Almost all of the leagues I play in play on the National Mall. It's free, first come first get, and a great place to play. I have been playing kickball there for a long time. This past weekend though I saw something I haven't before.

Several softball and kickball teams were engaged in games when a Park Ranger approached. He was friendly enough, but telling us that we could not play where we were (and have been) and would have to leave. We all pointed him to the people in charge. After a short conversation we were told that it was true - our fields had to be picked up and moved immediately.

It seems, from what I could gather, that there is some rule that the irrigation side of the Mall (between 17th and Constitution, the second fields) are not allowed to have any sports played on them. The Ranger - Harry - stated that this has been the case for TWO YEARS! This was a shock to many of us, as we have played there (as has softball and football) many times over those years. Annoying, but okay, if they are going to start enforcing it so be it.

This brings me to Thursday. I have a division that plays in the same area on that day. Fields were setup and we were all playing. Several Rangers and officers passed by. No one said a word to us nor the softballers playing on these very same fields. Nothing, nada, zip, zilch. That pisses me off.

Can you play here? Apparently it depends on the day of the week

Odds are that some group of asshole tourists got upset and complained to the Parke Service Sunday. One group came by and complained loudly, "Where am I supposed to walk? You people have cones everywhere." Hey, genius, try the SIDEWALK! I guess they then complained and thus the uncovering and selective enforcement of this rule. Just what I need, another reason to hate tourists.

Hi Idiot Tourists, the long cement things are for walking

What is the deal with the Park Service though? Guys, either everyone enforces the rule or no one does. you can't have it so that some people can use field space - especially on less crowded playing days - while others can't. Or can you? After all, according to the Park Police no one is allowed to question anything, right?

Once again, displaying their charm

Also, let me note this too: I was playing with NAKID on Sunday and of course a Kash Guys division (Monument) had to set up their fields right on top of the ones we were playing on. ours had been up for hours and some jagoff actually said. "We've been here for three years". What a douche! And in reality, you haven't. Monument used to play on the Ellipse - not that it matters. More typical WAKA crap.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The real world hits kickball...again

Unfortunately tragedy and real life issues strike in all walks of life, and kickball is no exception. This past weekend one of the members of a kickball league I play in passed away at the young age of 30. Reports vary on exactly what the cause is, but it is just a really sad smack of reality in a game most people play to help avoid it.

I think it's kind of trite to say that the guy in question, John Leonard, was taken at too early an age, but it's true. He was a fun guy who embodied what kickball was about; whether it be kicking a game winning grand slam or dressing up as a keg for a Halloween party. it certainly is a great loss to the kickball world.

I especially want to send out my deepest sympathy to his fiance, a kickballer, and his parents. I have to imagine it's every parent's worst nightmare to outlive your children. They should know though that he helped to make many people's lives better in the short time he was with us.

There will be a happy hour soon to raise money for the scholarship fund in his name, which I will post here when the time comes. To borrow a phrase from the newsletter tribute to him:

God Bless you John. Hope you're beating Saint Peter at one-on-one flip cup right now.