The Greatest Kickball Game in Miami History
We weren’t supposed to be that good. We lost our fist two games and hadn’t beaten a team with any experience until the last game of the year. Sure, we’d played better as the season had gone on, but there were teams with their names embroidered on their shirts out there for chrissakes. Teams that made female teammates cry when they made baserunning errors. Surely the stupid kids in Pink would be out of the tournament and drunk by 4, right? That’s why we brought a generator and DirecTV to
But that’s why they play the games. Dispatching our first two opponents was not exactly a major chore. The first team consisted of kids who apparently used to play the game at Fat Camp and the other was made of people who appeared as if they last played kickball sometime during the Eisenhower administration. But the third round looked to be our demise. If all went according to form, we were to play the Freeballers, last season’s defending champs who, in addition to having their own team flag and being ranked 14th nationally, had embroidered Kickball shirts and practiced fielding bunts in-between games. They had beaten us earlier in the year about 612 to nothing, and greeted us at the postgame handshake by saying “Welcome to the league,” instead of the customary “Good Game.” Well, when the underdog Yellow Team, known more for their postgame dance-offs than their kickball, upended the Freeballers (who I later found out were big fans of the blog) in the quarterfinals, every single person in the park rushed the field to celebrate with them. The Evil Empire was vanquished and it was anybody’s tournament to win.
Riding high on emotion, the Yellow team came to face us a mere 30 minutes after we had dispatched team AARP 10-1. We were sweaty and tired and our best player was already suffering from heat exhaustion. And the shit talking was endless. Our girls and their girls did not stop jawing at each other for the entire game, with the phrases “Cameltoe” and “Cankles” being shouted from sideline to sideline for the better part of an hour. This entertained the vast amount of spectators we had, since we were the last semi-final game. Our prospective opponents in the Finals, the undefeated Orange Team, were there scouting their opponents. All the losing teams were there too, most of them highly intoxicated. But the game was not as competitive as the female trash talking, and we easily defeated the Yellow team 5-0. And so it was on to the Finals.
No team had ever won four games on their way to the championship. Meaning no team seeded lower than 4 had ever advanced this far. We were seeded 6th. We had given up 2 runs all day, and despite being covered in sweat and totally sober, we made our way to the field in front of the Hotel Intercontinental for the championship game. Our opponents had won 14 games in a row and would have won the championship the previous two seasons except they all got drunk before their first game and lost. Both times. This time they would not make the same mistake. So it was the overachieving Pink team against the regular-season champs in a winner-take all championship. Nobody, including most on our team, figured we would win this one. As one of our teammates said in his pregame pep-talk “All we’ve beaten so far are some fat kids, some old people and a bunch of loud Cubans. We still suck.” How inspiring
What was inspiring was us going out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning. I even had a 2-run single to knock in the second two. Unfortunately, due to my subpar fielding, I gave those two runs back two innings later by not getting to a deep fly ball in time. We took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the sixth and final inning as the sun set on Downtown
League rules dictate that if the game is tied the title is determined by Rick Paper Scissors. Fortunately, like most of you, our league president felt this rule was extremely gay and we agreed to play one more. Which was scoreless. So we played another, and we scored in the top half of the inning thanks to a great hustle by our pitcher who had missed the game-winning throw, and a sacrifice fly by yours truly who couldn’t field a key fly. Redemption is great, isn’t it? So we took our slim lead to the bottom of the inning, where out beleaguered closer could not close and gave up one run which was not nearly as dramatic as the inning before. Exhausted, drenched in South Florida sweat, and emotionally drained from what can only be called the greatest Kickball game in Miami history, the teams were finally forced to decide this hard fought title by Rock, Paper Scissors. I thought maybe a winner-take all game of foursquare would have been more appropriate.
Our three players and their three met at midfield among literally dozens of spectators and players. Flashbulbs were popping as both sides threw One, Two, Three, Shoot. The first two, as all RPS games go, ended in inconclusive ties. But on the third and final throw, the