Kickball. The name conjures up images of recess - schoolyards, screaming children and bouncy rubber balls. Fun was the name of the game back then. Today with our 80 hour work weeks and Blackberries that keep us lassoed to the company Exchange Server 24/7, recess time now consists of gulping down coffee and dreaming of being back on that playground, screaming with your friends and kicking that freakin' rubber ball into orbit with the bases loaded.
Now you can.
The World Adult Kickball Association (WAKA) was founded in 1998 in Washington DC. Now, it's spread to more than 30 states nationwide, and even internationally, with teams in London and Iraq. That's right, Iraq.
The teams are all co-ed, meaning those of us who bitch and moan about not having enough chicks to hit on playing football now have another option. In fact, several relationships and even marriages have resulted as a direct result of kickball.
Lisa, 32 an Optometrist and player for The Chipwich Nation says, "You meet a ton of people playing in the league, many of which become some of your closest friends. Literally, your social calender can fill up with the various parties, birthday celebrations, and meet and greets. I even met my boyfriend through kickball - we have been together for over a year. We still play on different teams, but I love playing against (and beating) his team!"
Wilder than the games are the afterparties. Patrick, 25, an account exec at a PR agency recounts, "My favorite moment was off the field at Bar 9 when we created an impromptu slip’n slide out of tables soaked in pitchers of beer. The clothes started coming off and the people starting flying right off the tables!"
Kim, 29, an Associate Web Producer says, "There's a lot of competitive spirit on the field, but at the end of the day, we all gather at the same bar to nurse our battle wounds over some drinks, and maybe recount the craziest plays we saw that day."
We had a chance to talk with Johnny Lahane, founder of WAKA Kickball...
What are the rules of kickball?
It is like the elementary school game – the one with the big red playground ball. Play is similar to other base sports, only easier and open to all skill levels. In short, WAKA plays with 11 fielders, 5 innings, 2 base coaches, bouncies, no head shots, one base on an overthrow, forced outs, no ghost men, and bunting is allowed so get a good catcher on your team. There must be both male and female players on the field at all times.
How would a new player sign up?
Go to kickball.com, enter your zip code into the division finder on the home page and it will provide a list of all of the divisions/teams nearby.
It looks pretty intense... do you have to be really athletic?
While competition does heat up around the World Kickball Championship – WAKA is really more about having fun, making great friends and going to the best social events! Virtually no athletic ability is required to play WAKA, which is what makes it such an inclusive organization – everyone 21 and older is welcome to play.
What's the average age?
The average player is in his/her mid-twenties –though we do have people as young as 21 and as old at 60+.
For more information, check out kickball.com.