Kickball Makes a Comeback
Author: Thomas Wharton
A familiar friend is back on the scene. It is small, red and rubber, and it is bouncing toward you faster than you think. It is kickball, and leagues are sprouting up all over. However, these are not for the little ones. These leagues are for adults. The whimsy of the old schoolyard favorite is bringing back fans of all ages.
Kickball is a nearly perfect sport for the older set. There are no worries about speed, muscles or the lack thereof. The red ball is the great equalizer. The most fanatical health club freak has just as much chance of scoring a run as the huskiest barfly. The playing field is further leveled by the encouragement of many league officials for players to meet and greet the competition in the parking lot before games for some friendly tailgating.
The addition of beer and alcohol is not the only difference between the elementary school game and the adult version. Playing off of the belief, or hope, that most participants have been drinking, the directional running pattern on the base pads switches in random intervals. This makes for interesting situations. If a player runs to the wrong first base, he or she is permitted to run straight across the infield to get the correct one. This play leaves the person wide open to be hit with the ball and ruled out.
Yes, the old gym teacher rule, “No shots to the head,” still applies. Yet, the ball has been known to get slippery, and people have been known to be hit in the head with a red ball of hilarity.
The kickball diamond hijinks are not finished there. If a player gets his whole leg into a kick and does make that elusive homerun, then the next time up, he has to kick the monster ball. This has nothing to do with Billy Bob Thorton or Halle Berry, but plenty to do with a giant three-foot diameter rubber ball. Some are able to adapt, but most wind up falling down trying to kick it. With these kinds of prospects, it is not implausible to say that someday you might see Hank Williams, Jr. singing, “Are you ready for some kickball?”