Adults get their kicks with professional league

Michael Stockinger

Remember those elementary school days when kickball was the highlight of the physical education ?” well now they’re back, but without the PE and school.

The World Adult Kickball Association, with 2,000 teams in 200 divisions in 20 different states, started its CA Capital Division in Sacramento with an open for all, practice game on Thursday at Northgate Park.

“People move from places where they had a kickball division and people have expressed interest in having a division in this area,” said Katie Loughran, the regional representative for San Francisco, who is in charge of coordinating the Sacramento division.

For those who grew up in one of those odd corners of the world without kickball, the game is similar to baseball in that it is played on a baseball diamond but uses a big red ball that you kick.

“There are a lot of similar rules as baseball except with a big rubber ball,” Loughran said.

Kickball goes for about five innings, and unlike baseball, you can throw the ball at the people to get an out.

“The games go by really fast or super slow ?” slow if you’re really bad,” Loughran said.

The game on Thursday had 10 people show up, a good turnout, said Loughran, with five people per team.

There are a maximum of 26 people to each team and 16 teams to a division.

“There are four full divisions in San Francisco, so it is definitely popular there,” said Loughran.

Unfortunately, the city turned on the wrong lights and the game was played on the grass with rubber base mats, everyone involved was very enthusiastic about the game.

“I heard about this from a friend who found a flyer off of craigslist,” said Lacy Carter, a Sac State graduate school student studying counselor education.

Players heckled the other team, laughed, joked and were happy to relive those PE days of yesterday, which created a very fun and healthy environment.

“I actually played a couple years ago,” Jim Blanke said. “That was fun and they sent out an email about this.”

“I tried to get my neighbors to come out, but they flaked. They claim they’ll come for the games,” Blanke said in between kicking.

World Adult Kickball Association is the largest “social athletic company” in the nation and after most games the teams end the night with a visit to a local pub, said Loughran.

“Because of the athletic ability of the game, we’re very social about playing,” Loughran said.

Word has definitely gotten around and many players have heard about the game from players in other areas of the country.

“A friend of mine joined in Austin, so here I am,” said Lisa Lowe, a kickball player. “I’ve never played though.”

The season only lasts a few weeks and two practice games are held as a warm-up for regular season play.

After the two practice games are held, players are required to register with the association and to pay $60 to 70 fees that cover costs of reserving fields and ordering uniforms.

The next practice game will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Northgate Park at the baseball diamonds and is open to all interested.

For more info, call Katie Loughran at (617) 460-3819 or visit the World Adult Kickball Association Web site.

Michael Stockinger can be reached at [email protected]