A Tale of Two Tiers

Not many players in the KVKL have the experience of playing in both the 6s AND the 1s in their career. That list of players is even shorter for players who have won The Cup and have played in the 6s. This article is covering the personal experiences and perspectives of Elizabeth Karr and Hannah Blodgett. Liz went from 6 to 1 and Hannah went from 1 to 6 this season. My boi Phil Chiles fits this criteria as well. But what is unique about Liz and Hannah, is that they both at one point played for and won The Cup with the same team, KTC.

Liz joined the league in 2016. Her sports background is track and cross country so it’s no surprise she’s one of the faster ladies in the league. My boi Eddie Munoz, her coworker and friend, introduced her to city league and KVKL. She played on the Grandstand GlassKickers/Electrikick Eels from 2016-2019. That team disbanded, and for 2021, Liz was asked by KTC to play for them. While on Grandstand/Eels, they went 0-5 in pool play each year, but were usually able to get 1-2 wins a season in rank play and with the tournament included. On her first season with KTC this year, they capped off a undefeated season going 15-0 and winning the championship in a walk off win in extra innings.

Hannah joined the league in 2009, first playing for the Ghosts. I’ll always remember Hannah as being the girl in gold shorts that would sneak up behind Paul Santos and grab his butt. She’s the reason the Diana Plate has a kickball painted in her hands and why The Cup is now gold. In 2011, she met the great Kris Marshall who let her play with his squad. She won The Cup in 2012 when the team was named Abraxas Death and Taxes. After the 2013 season, Kris gave the reins of captainship over to Hannah. From 2014-2019, Kansas Tree Care became the name and sponsor of the team. They won The Cup in 2018. After the 2019 season, there was a disagreement with how the team should be run and who should be captain. Most of the core members and the sponsor Cuinn left, while Hannah recruited her own team. She had too many people bail on her in 2021, so she gave up her team spot and just sponsored the team Home Loans. Her heart and her pride were hurt, but my boi Phil Chiles came in and offered her a spot on the Rockets which she accepted. The Rockets were in the 6s this year.

When asked what she liked most about playing in the 1s, Liz said that she enjoyed the challenge. She knew if she wanted to get better, she’d need to play with and against the best teams. The challenge of making defensive plays and getting on base was fun for her. She also liked that the team defense was way tighter. What Hannah liked most about the 1s is the attention that her and her team got from being so good. She grew up with lots of siblings, so she needed/wanted attention haha. She was always getting crap for being one of the worst players in the 1s, which made her a target, but Hannah loved that. Her favorite thing to do was yell ‘kick it to me!’. She also liked getting a rise out of players in the 1s who took it too seriously.

The main thing Hannah didn’t like about the 1s was the lack of playing time. She said you really have to have your own kicking spot to improve and get that confidence. Liz went from having her own spot kicking at the top of the lineup to having to split kick at the bottom, but she never mentioned play time being an issue. One thing that both Liz and Hannah had in common on what they didn’t like about the 1s was the pressure to do well each game. Liz’s stress levels were way higher this season and Hannah hated that they would kick players off the team in order to recruit better players. Where the opinions of these two ladies differ on is how encouraging they thought their team was in the 1s. While Hannah felt like she was always the biggest cheerleader and uplifter of spirits, she didn’t feel like her teammates reciprocated that. The focus seemed to be more on talking strategy than cheering on whoever was up to kick. This is in exact contrast to Liz’s experience on the team. Liz said they never got down on her for making mistakes and instead were always giving her tips and encouragement all season.

When asked what she liked most about the 6s, Hannah said she liked how super chill it was. Calls were rarely argued and no one got too upset at anything. Her team would cheer on every play, whether it was good or bad. And they would play all their ladies who showed up. Liz really liked that it was a lower stress group to learn how to play kickball. She said there are some good players in the 6s, so playing there still presents challenges to new players. What Liz didn’t like about the 6s was all of the defensive errors and failed hero throws that occur. When I asked Hannah what she liked least about the 6s, she said there was nothing she didn’t like. Apparently teams in the 6s drink Malort, and she said she even liked that ha.

I asked both ladies if their role on each team was different. Liz said she was a bigger presence offensively and defensively while in the 6s. She rotated between 2nd base and short stop. When kicking, her main goal was to move the lead off runner while also getting on base. When in the 1s, she was at rover where her main focus was to be prepared to back up any plays at 3rd. Kicking in general has been difficult for Liz while in the 1s, so she’s still figuring out her role on offense with the support of her teammates. Hannah’s role was basically the same. Self-appointed role to cheer the loudest and talk the most crap haha . While not being a captain anymore was sad and humbling, she did enjoy not having the responsibility of making sure players showed up and on time. Admittedly, Hannah is one of the worst refs in the league, so she wants to say ‘you’re welcome’ KVKL for not reffing at all this year ha.

Liz couldn’t pick between which team she had more fun on. She said they were both the most fun! Hannah on the other hand said she woulda made the switch to the Rockets sooner if she knew how much fun it’d be with them. Winning the KVKL championship was one of the highlights of Liz’s life so far. While Hannah will miss twerking on the trophy, some of her best memories in the 1s are tainted with how she was approached by her friends to step down as captain. Hannah unfortunately lost friends with her transition from 1 to 6. Liz seems to have had ex teammates be nothing but happy for and proud of her with the transition from 6 to 1. It’s hard to tell which one of these awesome ladies had more fun this season. I walked up to a Rocket vs Young Spine game in week 2 and I would have never guessed that the Rockets were losing by 20 because it looked like they were all having so much fun, led by Hannah. The Rockets have their own point system, so according to Hannah they are undefeated in their own world. But if you’re Liz, it had to be super fun to be on a team that went undefeated in real life.