Friday, June 30, 2006

Kickball: It's Not Just For 5th Graders Anymore. It's for Drunks, Too.

Remember back when you were a kid and one of the highlights of your day was going out to the cement diamond on the playground with your oversized red ball and kicking some “baby bouncies” into the outfield for a rousing game of kickball? Remember how much fun that was? Remember how you used to think “Man, this would be so much better if I had a Jack and Coke right now?” Well, in the shadow of the Miami Skyline, where the Bay meets Brickell, every Thursday there is a little kickball league that allows you to live this dream. Without worrying about being put on time-out by the playground monitor.

You have to absolutely love a rec-league game where drinking on the field is not only allowed, but encouraged. And, unlike rec-league softball, there is little if any real athletic ability required to play kickball so lots of girls who just like to drink are guaranteed to be on your team. Some people, like our opponents catcher, take the game very seriously and actually argue calls and hustle. But most of us are content to get liquored up and throw the ball at each other. And such was the case with my team, comprised of a few friends from UM and a bunch of kids from Columbus and Lourdes who I knew from that Christmas Party.

I knew this league was not going to be serious (compared to all of the dead-serious kickball leagues around the world) when the opening email from our team captain said we needed two refs who were “preferably” sober. Yes, preferably. Not required, mind you, but it might be nice if you could cut it off at two beers. This explained a lot about our game. There are a variety of rules in this league that a sober person with a college degree would find quite confusing. Unfortunately, many people on the diamond were neither sober nor college-educated, and the first inning was spent arguing whether or not a baby bouncie was a strike but a big bouncy was not and if a runner was out if he crossed the plate before kicking. The umpires, comprised of players from other teams, actually seemed a lot more concerned with watching the girls jog by on the Bayfront and drinking their beers. And why shouldn’t they?

Me, I patrolled right field with a presence that would have made Ichiro proud, catching the only ball kicked my way and finding a nice divot in the grass for my beer. I think next game I’m just going to bring a handle of Stoli so I can look EXTRA nasty out there. Maybe smoke a Marlboro Red while I’m at it. Unfortunately while our team played pretty good defense for a group of people with exactly ZERO combined kickball games under our beer-stretched belts, we could not get a hit to save our lives. Yes, we were actually getting no-hit through three innings (out of 5) and it’s not like the pitchers in this sport are hurling Randy-Johnson-esque fastballs. We lost 6-0, but by the time the game was over we were all pretty much too wasted to notice. It just gave us an excuse to kill the beers in our coolers and proceed over to Bayside for more debauchery.

And what better way to celebrate the kickoff of a new kickball season than getting tanked at a tourist-aimed theme restaurant at Bayside (aka the only place in Miami that every person I meet on a plane that came here for a cruise has been)? The Kickballers were all noticeable by our Kickball Jerseys, but none more than our proud team. Because our shirts were bright freaking pink. That’s right, pink. In Miami, I guess, you can get away with it what with the art deco and the flamingos and whatnot, but let me tell you the team in black looked intimidating and the team in white looked tan, so I have to wonder how we looked. Especially after getting killed 6-0.

I will keep you all updated on the success of our little team. We are definitely a group of rookies trying to make a name for ourselves, and this promises to be an interesting season. Week 5, we play one of our teammate’s ex-girlfriend’s team complete with a bunch of her friends who all hate us. I think if we win that one the year will be considered a success. And if not, well, there are still four or five parties at local bars in addition to the games, so it would be hard to come out a loser. Wish me luck, and Happy Kickballing!


At 3:34 PM, Anonymous Joe said...

Thats it, I'm moving to Miami! Not really for the drinking, but for the kick ball! Bringing back the glory days of 5th grade! Or other wise known as 1990 bitches! If living in 1997 wasn't bad enough, 1990 here I come ...

At 5:02 PM, Anonymous Ben said...

There must be some sort of grade school game revival going on. Last Tuesday I was at the park and witnessed a group of people stretching and drinking, drinking and stretching. Then they went onto a tennis court, rolled up the net, and took out about 20 different sized and colored balls from a bag and played a mean game of dodge ball. They didn’t seem to hold back at all when throwing at the girl players either. They did take a 30 second brake to make sure this one girl was ok after getting pegged in the ankle so hard that it knocked her feet out from under her.

At 5:21 PM, Blogger Bad at Life said...

I too am on a kickball team here in Washington. At first, I was reluctant to join but it turned out to be an excellent decision. Nothing better than drinking and playing kickball on the national mall. But it really is an amazing excuse to drink outside. And, as such, it is a great way to meet women who share the love of drinking outside.

At 10:32 PM, Blogger Tara said...

Liquor AND sports?? (slaps forehead)..That's what sports have been missing! I think I actually liked kickball better than baseball, because I knew I could kick things with more force than I could with a tiny ball with a stick.

At 12:54 AM, Anonymous Cliff said...

Yes my friend, winning week 5 would be the equivalent of the Texas State Armadillos winning the one and only game of the season against the Texas Colts. As long as we get drunk and have fun, no other win would the way, I believe there are some tasty side plots to that rivalry as well...

At 2:45 PM, Anonymous Johnson said...

Holy shit, a kickball drinking league? Where the fuck was that when I was living in Miami?! That's about the most awesome thing I've heard about in quite a while. What's not so awesome is Neal welching on a bet.

At 2:56 PM, Blogger DrunkBrunch said...

Can't wait to hear more! NYC had a dodgeball league about 3 years ago; Ali and I and others talked about starting a team, but then we'd get drunk and forget to sign up.

Just noticed that is having a happy hour at "our bar" this weekend. It might be a sign, kids.

At 12:01 PM, Blogger minijonb said...

Dade: does your team have a fight song yet??? or is it just, "hand me another beer." =:-)

At 2:35 PM, Blogger White Dade said...

Joe - Realy, asdie form driving, what would you be missing out on?

Ben - Yeah, I tinhk we all wis hwe were just 10 again. Life was a lot simpler.

BAL - I believe the leagues started in DC. And they always seem to play in the picturesque landmark spots. Somehow your involvement surprises me not at all.

Tara - A lot of girls seem to prefer kickball. I think more of them can play and its not as competitive.

Cliff - Yes, that game will be ripe with storylines. WWE-worthy, almost.

Johnson - Yeah, I know you would have been all about it. See what you're missing?

DB - Yeah, I tinhk this would be right up you guys' alley.

Mini - Not yet. But we're working on it.

At 9:51 PM, Blogger Manola Blablablanik said...

That sounds like so much fun! Believe it or not, I actually played kick ball in the park when I was a kid. Yes I was the chubby Cubanita outsider, but it was one sport I could handle. (I do kick well, after all.)

In the island of Grenada there is a running group that calls itself "drinkers with a running problem." They basically put together "chases" ... you don't have to run actually, you just have to follow the clues on a trail, sort of like an easter egg hunt, but in a tropical rain forest. He who wins gets a bucket of beer thrown over his head, which is fine, because everyone drinks quite a few cold ones after the race.


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