Monday, September 25, 2006

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 Bayfornt Park on Saturday: We figured it would be a short day of kickball and a long day of drinking.

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 Miami. With one out and a runner on second, the Orange team kicked a long fly to right which was caught by the guy playing there instead of me. The runner at second tagged and was thinking home the whole way. The throw came into the pitcher and had the runner at home beat by a good 15 feet. Throw him out and we’re the champs. The runner slid into home as the ball sailed in towards him and the whole field awaited the umpire’s call. Safe. The game was tied.

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 Orange team threw paper to cover two of our rocks and the game was over. We had fought hard all day, done what no one thought we could, and all was lost in a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. They get the trophy. They get the trip to the Regional Finals in that vacation paradise of Richmond, VA. We get a “wow, you guys played a Hell of a game” from everyone else. Like we even lost the damn game. Look, nobody beat the Pink team on Saturday, at least not at Kickball. But that did not make our loss in another child’s contest any less painful. But our Cinderella Story did not leave us completely empty handed for as we enter into this season at Peacock Park we have something that few other teams can claim: respect. And that, friends, is all any of us who kick around a red ball for fun can ask.


At 4:43 PM, Blogger alizinha said...

Wow. Reading this made me want to play kickball, which I never wanted to do, not even when I was a kid.

Sorry to hear you lost over rock paper scissors--so lame. Hope you at least got some hot sex later that night as reward for all your hard work...

At 5:24 PM, Blogger B-Brod said...

I would LOVE to see Toth cover this story. Maybe even get it up on Sport Center. Make it into an insparational sports movie - call it something like, Kicking Pink Balls - that would be great.

At 5:33 PM, Anonymous J said...

Best Day Ever. Damn that closer--what a choker!

At 6:06 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

Kickball was my favorite game to play when I was a kid. Dodgeball was a close second.
Man that brought back memories. Good times.

At 6:54 PM, Anonymous rumandpopcorn said...

Rock paper scissors to decide your championship? Awful. Although I think your team came out the winner, WD. Because now you don't have to go to the regionals in lovely Richmond, VA and tell all the other teams how you got there. "Um, well, there was a tie, and, yeah, league rules state that..."

The World Cup soccer penalty kicks and the college football overtime system think that's a retarded way to determine a championship.

At 8:47 PM, Anonymous melissa said...

Toth is too big to cover a story like that and......b-brod, that pic has got to go I will drop an elbow on you the next time I see you! It's creepy!

At 8:55 PM, Anonymous Cliff said...

I honestly can say i never thought I could have so much fun, or actually feel "proud" of what me and my friends accomplished, in the context of kickball...but something about Saturday made alot of friendships feel tighter and made alot of us feel like we were able to accomplish something neither us, nor anybody else thought we could...and I don't care if it's Kickball, that feels damn good, and that was an AWESOME day!

At 9:08 AM, Blogger copyranter said...

this is the best kickball post I've ever read. (the other one was by some hipster who was playing it ironically in Greenpoint Brooklyn. I'm sorry, but you do NOT play kickball ironically. also not too seriously. but def. not with irony. I think I'm going to do a Ken Burns-esque documentary on the subject)

At 11:15 AM, Anonymous Florida hater said...

You have an amazing ability to get your reader involved in your post W.D., nice job.

However, DC kickball is where it's at anyway. We haven't let up a run in the five games we've played this season.

At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a feeling that Rachel played the catcher when it came to kickball. There is no way her fat ass could have made it to first base. I would also guess that Rachel never got to kick the ball. No one would want to field a blazing shot from her club feet. No fair. That's like hitting a golf ball with a baseball bat.

The blog sucked and the usual WHITE DADE fans (about three of them) posted how cool his topic was. Fuck that.

At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Joe said...

Reminds me of the time on a cold night before Thanksgiving that my Turkey Bowl team lost on a coin flip to play in the championship in Husky Stadium. Results like that suck. Good read though WD. Oh, and B-Brod, I like the picture.

At 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

when you were in the Marine Corps RESERVE, were part of your duties as company admin clerk to organize kickball games in MOPP suits like in the movie Jarhead?

At 5:09 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

Wow.. I feel special being singled out by an anonymous commentor. You know you have made it when you get insulted and it isn't even your own blog.
Thanks Anon!

At 5:21 PM, Anonymous Dan Toth said...

Wow, two people are calling me out on your blog's comment section WD, so I guess I'll make my 2nd ever post! First of all, "B-Brod"... you need to come down to the 'dirty' south and along with WD, Lambert (and who is Melissa btw, memory escapes me?) and run a unique tri-athalalon. Maybe a 40 yard dash, beer pong (Lambert that's all you now Mormon), and a 3rd secret competition, with the winner taking home our station's prestigious Athlete of the Week honor... it even comes with a jacket to go along with the TV story. You think I'm kidding... try me friends! Also, I'm not to big to cover a kickball story, he'll, I went on location at a charity golf course today just to drink beers on the clock, so the old bouncy red ball is up my alley!

Signing off from the SC... DT!

At 10:46 PM, Blogger The Lone Gringa said...

I heard about the Freeballers loss. In this rendition, they were "the asshole team", and their defeat inspired comraderie in all those nearby, cankles and cameltoes be damned.

At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You know you have really made it when you get knocked up by a random guy and then have the guy leave you. Good luck collecting child support.


At 10:19 AM, Blogger angel, jr. said...

That word "cameltoe" makes me laugh out loud whenever I hear it, no matter where I am.

At 2:00 PM, Blogger White Dade said...

Allison - That's a good one

B - Kicking Pink Balls? sopunds like a fettish video to me

J - Has an Asian closer EVER successfully closed out a champinoship game?

Rachel - This is nothing like it was on the playground, tohugh.

Melissa - toth isn't too big to do anything.

Cliff - And it sound like I missed the after-party, too. So sad.

CR - An 18-hour special on Kickball? Awesome. Do let me know when that comes out.

FH - Bring it! I'd say we'll see you in Richmond, but we don't throw hand signs as well as we play.

Anon - If you don't have anytihng mean to say to me, don't say anything at all.

Joe - I vaguely rmemeber that story. Soooo lame.

Anon - Wiffle ball, usually, but I organized some MOPP kickball games too.

Toth - PLEASE send me a video of that

LG - Yeah, pretty much. Until the team that beat them got beat.

Angel - Have you seen "The Weatherman?"

At 2:00 PM, Blogger BlakeLRoberts said...

i just bought this shirt to commemorate our WIN (and by win i mean tie...)


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