Kicks and shots

Kicking balls is summer.

Kicking balls is summer.

This was supposed to be a story about playing kickball. I showed up for kickball. My friends showed up for kickball. The fields at Bryte Park in West Sac were filled with people playing kickball. The picture for this story even shows someone kicking a ball.

A few weeks earlier, I had spotted a banner for the World Adult Kickball Association in front of Midtown bar Aura, the official post-game drinking spot for the CA Capital league.

After a few e-mails, WAKA people invited me and some friends to play a game on their playoff night. It was a big day for the league: The winner gets a spot at the national championship tournament in Las Vegas. Some teams out on that field that day: No Talent Ass Clowns; Where My Pitches At?; Happy Hour, Red Balls & Vodka; Drinkers with a Kickball Problem.

But my friends showed up late, long after the playoff games had already started.

You remember kickball in third grade, right? The game plays a lot like baseball with outs, strikes and fouls. And, like third grade, WAKA players threw out plenty of jokes about big balls, red balls, nice balls and lopsided balls.

The big difference between WAKA and third grade, though, is that instead of heading back into class after the game to study times tables, WAKA players go drinking.

It was my kind of sport.

“A lot of 9-to-5ers come here to blow off steam,” organizer Mike said. But the crummy economy has shaved off a lot of players who can’t afford the $65 registration fee.

Mike pointed us to another field where another team was warming up. After telling the captain that we wanted to play, she said, “Cool,” before going back to passing out team drink coupons.

Some kickballers take it pretty seriously—one guy had shown up at 1 p.m. to mow the lawn used for the championship game. Zack, who broke his arm the week before, decided to play and made a one-handed catch.

Players talked about drinking. Lots of drinking. Post-game usually involves flip-cup tournaments at Aura. For now, though, everyone looked sober.

“They don’t allow drinking on the field,” said Mike, about 10 minutes before a team mom showed up with about a hundred Jell-O shots.

After waiting around for a pickup game for a half-hour, my friends took off.

I had three Jell-O shots and went home.