The rules were simple: kick the ball and run fast. Games ended when the recess bell rang, and final scores were often debated with little, if any, resolution.
Many of those same kids have grown up and are reliving their youth in Oklahoma Citys World Adult Kickball Association (WAKA). With competitive and social leagues, theres something for men and women, old and young, said James Speegle, OKCs league commissioner.
But, Speegle admitted, kickball is not like other recreational sports, especially softball.
Softball players are frustrated middle-aged men trying to recapture their athletic glory days. Kickball is for everyone. Its hard to take yourself too seriously, he said. Its hard to strike out regardless of the number of beers youve had.
OKC has 34 teams in its competitive and social kickball leagues with nearly 1,500 players. That is a drastic change from the handful of teams that played when leagues formed with 150 players just over 3 years ago.
For Clayton Raasch, a member of a top competitive team, kickball is a throwback to his youth.
Its a blast. Its a game you grew up playing. Its fun and competitive. I look forward to playing each week, he said.
Team names include the unprintable and the printable: Balls and Dolls, The Big LeBALLskis, Kickin Nuggets and others. Remember, these are grown-up kids playing kickball and naming their own teams.
But dont get the wrong idea. Like other amateur athletes, kickball players slide into bases and make acrobatic catches that sometimes warrant a spot on ESPNs Top 10 Plays.
Raasch, a former high school football player, still maintains a competitive streak despite reaching the ripe old age of 25.
Once you play, youre hooked on it, he said.
Stacey Hawthorne, a kickballer in her free time and communications director for Arts Council OKC by day, recalled her teams first game this summer: We got killed 20-1. We came out with beer bongs and over-celebrated before the game, but we had a good time. Then, we went to the bar and totally redeemed ourselves by winning flip cup, she joked.
The best thing about it is the social
aspect. Its a neat and fun idea. You get to drink some beers outside,
laugh and kick some balls. Its friendly competition.
some, that might be true. But for a few teams, its serious business.
The winner of the competitive league receives an automatic invitation to
play for the Founders Cup in Las Vegas. Speegles team won the spring
league title and heads to Vegas next month to battle other champs from
around the country.
Where to go
Having grown tenfold since coming to town, OKCs kickball teams are playing in just about any part of town several nights a week. The competitive league,
known as OK Capital, plays on Tuesday nights at Douglass Park, 901 N.
Frederick Douglass Ave. The recreational league, Social Lights, plays on
Friday nights at Stars and Stripes Park, 3701 S. Lake Hefner Dr. A
third league, OK Crimson, has started in Norman.
the school playground games, there are rules to follow. Eleven players
are on the field, and at least four must be of the opposite sex.
Competitive teams play five-inning games while the social league games
are seven innings.
Teams play eight games each season spring, summer and fall plus playoffs.