Guts and Glory on the Kickball Field

You’re just standing there, enjoying the warm breeze as the sun shines down, warming your skin. The gentle buzz of a few beers hums through you as you wait for the pitch. The emerald green grass of the outfield sways gently beneath your cleats. You’re just happy to be standing there.

The ball launches into the air, sailing like a majestic bird which has been shot mid-flight. With a brick.

And it’s coming right at you. The fear. The anxiety. Everybody’s watching. You hold out your arms.

Your attempt at catching the ball with your face does not end well. The red ball bounces away as a teammate runs toward you to help.

Kickball hitting face

The average technique used by most of the outfielders on my team, it seems.

You’re embarrassed. Everybody’s judging you. You let the team down.

Except everybody’s too drunk to care and that was only one mistake in a series of hilarious mistakes.

Welcome to Kickball.

Wait.. people still play Kickball?

Fuck yeah they do. Thanks to Waka’s proliferation, kickball leagues are spreading faster than pre-vaccine HPV. Go ahead. Go to I bet you there’s a league near you. And if there isn’t, well, man, I don’t know, do you live in the bayou? Cause it sounds like you live in the bayou. (Sorry, been watching too much True Detective lately.)

Otherwise, chances are, there’s a league near you and it’s filling up fast. With grown adults. Well. “Adults.”

Adult with YOLO tattoo

Bear in mind, this “adult” is allowed to vote.

Soon, you’ll realize that you’ve signed up to be part of an adult playground, where men and women join together to play the playground game you knew and loved. Except you can’t throw the ball at people’s heads because now some of us are athletic freaks who could decapitate a human being.

If you think about it, Waka filled a void filling in the lives of many young adults all at once: a place to meet fellow young-ish folks and share in an activity that gets everybody outside and only vaguely makes us all look catastrophically stupid.

Because let’s face it, most of us aren’t that good at soccer.

Sure, some of the teams are fanatics. They live and die by kickball victories. Seriously. It happens. Just wait. You’ll see.

But most of us are just trying to have a good time and not embarrass ourselves.

Partying with 500 of your closest friends

One of the difficulties of post-college adult life is one many can relate to: How do I make new friends and expand my social circle? Without the forced interactions of dorm rooms and classes, it’s not easy, especially for people who aren’t as naturally charming and gregarious as I tell myself I am in the mirror every morning before breaking uncontrollably into tears.

Sure, you can meet friends at the bar. Or the library. Or wherever Cosmo says in between tips about giving him blowjobs (wtf Cosmo, it’s not that hard honestly).

Cosmo Cover

75 Sex Moves, eh? Have you tried intercourse? Guys like that.

Kickball skips all that. They throw you on a team with a bunch of other people. You’re going to have to talk at some point. So hey, you might as well have a beer. That’ll make things easier! Oh, hey, did you see that kick! That was something else!

Next thing you know you’re both sharing your life stories while you grill up some hamburgers.

Oh, wait. Did I not mention the tailgating?

Yes. We totally tailgate kickball games.

I can only speak for the league I’m in (New Haven Ivy League WUT), but since it’s on Sunday afternoons, and we’re all already hungover from our previous bad decision-making, bringing a portable grill and making some nice, greasy food to absorb all those bad choices is just one more bad choice you’ll only partially regret!

Listen. Everybody loves a good tailgate. You’re outside. You’re summoning your long lost instincts to cook things over an open flame.

Deep Frying Grill

Yep. That’s right. You can deep fry shit. While tailgating.
I’ll give you a minute to think about that.

But not everybody loves football. For instance, communists.

Tailgating kickball games let’s everybody join the fun! On our team, we all try to bring something new and exciting! If you ever wanted to make a hundred friends really quickly, pulled pork is pretty much a guarantee. It’s just like high school. You can absolutely buy your friends.

But it also is like high school… in other ways.

The premise of social interaction is extremely similar to that of college: put a bunch of vaguely attractive young people into a small area, and let the booze and hormones do the rest!

As you can imagine, there’s quite a bit of… mingling… going on between games. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But the dark side of kickball is that it tends to bring the shitty, high school sides of people. Suddenly you’ve got Mean Girls all over again, and not hilariously written by Tina Fey.

So fetch!

Stop trying to make fetch happen, Gretchen. It’s not going to happen.

For the most part, it’s not a big deal. After, high school is a closed system. You’re stuck with those assholes. Kickball? Hell, you don’t even know half the people. Nobody can “control” the social circle, per se.

But there will be drama. Holy shit will there be drama.

“Oh my god did you hear who she hooked up with? And he was just fucking that other girl two weeks ago!”

No, I didn’t hear, and no, I don’t give a shit. I hope they all used condoms and had a great time and the only people who were harmed were asking for it.

Goonies Never Say Die!

Kickball is like any other social circle. It’s full of people who are more casual acquaintances than friends. I can’t tell you how many people I smile and nod at, or even have conversations with, but I cannot for the life of me remember their fucking names.

But I know they can do the Wobble, which is strange as hell. Because like, what, are you practicing dancing specific moves in your free time? Seriously? The fuck.

Dance Mob

“So, uhhh… this is what you’ve been doing with your free time, huh?”

I have, however, made a few real friends. People who I care deeply about. Great people who I look forward to seeing every week. Who I root for until they face me, in which case I hope they collapse in an embarrassing heap.

I owe that to Waka and the kickball community in general.

And I wouldn’t trade ’em for anything.

Well, except, I guess, for better friends and a million bucks.

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