Baseball diamonds for some harkens back to halcyon days of baseball glory; bats cracking, star spangled singing, and crowds roaring. For others, however, for others, the diamond is the home for an oft overlooked sport - Kickball.
I have gathered around me 21 teammates to craft the Strictly Business Kickball team of the Jewel City Division of the World Adult Kickball Association. That's right - WORLD. Who knew Kickball was so organized but, as they say, 30 is the new 8.
Our team is one of four in the division. Interestingly enough our division is the only one in the region and thus we are one of four teams in the region as well. I'll explain why that is interesting later but keep Las Vegas in mind.
The opening pitch of the Summer 2009 season were rolled out today and my team played in the second game of a non-traditional double-header. The first game featured the BoneCrushers-vs-Cabell Comprehensive Kickballers. The Kickballers are manned by a hodgepodge of serious kickers who have been studying technique and game video on YouTube while the BoneCrushers aren't nearly as fearsome as their name might suggest. In fact the only thing crushed today were the spirits of the Crushers who lost 5-0.
Our game pitted Strictly Business -vs- The CHAMPs. The first inning seemed to bode poorly for our neophyte team as we went 3-up 3-down. In the bottom of the first the CHAMPs got a runner on base after a booming double and then he was driven in by league president Cara after our first baseman seemed to fall asleep with the ball as a pillow.
There are 11 fielders including the pitcher and catcher and no matter how big your leg is you just can't kick a kickball as far as you think. So, with 11 fielders crowded around it can be tough to find a place to put the ball that will enable you to get on base.
At the end of 1 we were down 1 and things didn't look too promising for us. Lisa, our manager, made the call and I came in from the bullpen to provide 3 scoreless innings of masterful pitching on 2 kicks.
The subsequent innings for our offense went a little better as we peppered kicks throughout the game but by the time the fifth and final inning came around we were still losing 1-0. We were up first and if we didn't score the game would end in an embarrassing shutout.
Our first kicker, Brad, stepped up to the plate and drilled a solid single. He was followed by the top of our lineup - Mike, Joe, Megan, and Me. Mike waited patiently for his pitch and then drilled a deep fly ball to center field. The defense bobbled it and before you know it Brad was rounding third and scored easily. Meanwhile Mike was chugging in for a stand up triple! Just like that we had tied the game and we had a man in scoring position with no outs!
Next up was Joe. He saw a opening and he boomed another kick into center field it dropped in the gap between center and right and he too had a stand up triple. Suddenly we were up 2-1. Megan followed up with a short fly ball that was caught for an out. Then I was up and I kicked a nifty single just over the second baseman driving Joe in and giving us a 2 run lead. It turned out to be all we would score but it was enough.
Our reliever was called in and Tim "Soriano" stepped in and pitched a perfect 3-up 3-down inning sealing the deal for Strictly Business's first win of the season.
My entire team seemed to really enjoy themselves and overall it was an afternoon of great fun and comraderie. Next week we face off against the Bone Crushers and we will totally shift our field positions to make sure everyone is getting as much action as they want. Then, in week 3 we will be playing the only other currently undefeated team - Cabell Comprehensive Kickballers. The sports media is in a frenzy of anticipation for this battle of the titans.
I have to take the next two weeks off so I hope to return to the field with us enjoying a 3-0 season record. If we do start off that well we will be well on our way to being the number one seed in the playoffs - which, admittedly, doesn't mean much with only four teams - but if we can finish the playoffs in one of the top 2 positions we will qualify for the regional championships.
The funny thing is there is only one division (ours) in the region and the top two regional teams automatically qualify for nationals in Las Vegas in October. Thus if we can win our division we also earn a spot in Nationals. I don' know how many of our team would actually want to spend money to compete nationally in Kickball but at least we will have the option.