How Kickball Saved My Life

Friday June 17, 2016, after their Friday night city league kickball game, Arie Auxter and Megan Hawman of the D-Holes came over to begin making three hundred “breakfast” themed Jell-O shots. It was 10pm and the two women I would ultimately be competing against in Game of the Week were at my house working together to add an element of surprise and fun for our game under the lights.

Five summers ago I was going through a divorce, dealing with a failed business and was very over weight. Pretty much all around one big lump of unhappy. Sure I had my inner circle of music friends and family, but little did I know that in five years time my circle would be filled with dozens of strong, loving, there for you always women in my daily life. These are the women of the KVKL, aka the Laideez, a crew from Kaw Valley Kickball who literally without them knowing it, saved my life.

For the past five years, this is the week in Kaw Valley Kickball that has a strong female edge to it. We have the girl on girl clinic and the ladies podcast, these are events created and dominated by women but always welcome the whole league to join (even you cougar). You may know some of these KVKL-ers already, many play a huge part in the league,  but here’s how I know and love them:

Since I mentioned them already in my introduction, let me tell you a little more about two D-Holes, Arianna Auxter and Megan Hawmen. Arie (like the star sign) is one of the greatest organizers around. She gets you the balls and makes sure we continue to strive to get better each year at the Girl On Girl Action Clinic. Megan Hawmen helped bring our annual Charity Auction to next level heights. She created a database of hundred of businesses that are down to donate to the KVKL annually. The reason we raise thousands of dollars is thanks to her time in getting it off the ground years ago. Both of these women play infield for the D-Holes and they are clutch kickers when it comes to winning for their team.


gotweek 3 jello-shots

From the most fuckable team, Salvador Perez’, Mario Chalmersiz I introduce Ms. Rachna Patel. With one tilt of her trucker hat and her bright white smile, you know you’ve got a friend. She is always the first one to welcome new players, her team were some of the first to drop it like it’s hot on the replay patio, and even though she couldn’t play last season do to back surgery she willingly reffed almost every game. So good to have you back on the field this season Ms. Patel.IMG_8709

Do any of you know the name of the other most winning member in the KVKL (besides Deron belt)? Her name is Brianne Koester. She currently plays for Happy Shirt and has managed to play in a championship team all but one season of her career since 2008. We probably should just rename the championship trophy, the Koester Cup. She also happens to be entering year three of dental school and plans to work in public health. A new addition to the Happy Shirt team this year is long time player and full time contributor to the league Amber Lord Owens. All I can say about this woman besides the fact she dominates equally in kicking and defense, is if there is anything you need last minute she is the one you can count on. We forgot something at the shed, she will go grab, we short a person for the scoreboard, count her in, she’s been a super active part of the ladies podcast and girl on girl every year, we couldn’t do it without moo (wink wink).

She’s been a commissioner on the board and one of the originators of the podcasts, shout outs to Erin Adams, of Pawsh Wash. Yes she is also the one who reminds us to not bring glass to Hobbs, the one to make sure you are paying league dues on time, but Erin is always there when it comes to the KVKL. I actually have time to write this piece today because she is cleaning and organizing the shed for me today. Thanks for all you do Erin, here’s to another championship ladies podcast on Wednesday.


wearing our will there be games boots

There are a lot of women on the Goats who help out the KVKL behind the scenes. One of those women is Lauren Gall. Five years ago on a slow night at harbor when we realized a day dedicated to pushing the women in the league to learn from some of the top players in the league for one day a season could be fun. And that is how the Girl on Girl Clinic began. Another amazing goat lady (since I shouldn’t talk about all six ladies on the goats who all rule) is the one and only Sara Rock. For those who don’t know, Sara is the other half of Scott Stewart, full time KVKL organizer. She opens their home to our board at all hours of the day, and night for us to meet, and discuss for hours all things kick ball. She is very active in local charities and from what I saw yesterday has gotten good at catching balls in the outfield too!


sara rock(in) it

That deep statistical voice of the podcast the past few years is the one and only Cathe Decena. Her career began on Mad Greek (check out the all star game YouTube posted this past week) and now plays for one of this weeks GOTW teams, Kansas Tree Care. When she isn’t predicting run differentials more successfully than CJ, Cathe is kicking ass and taking names in her career for the City of Lawrence.

Where do I begin with the women of the Red Lyon? Statistically the gals of the Lyon are some of the most winning members of the league (next to Brianne and Kayla of happy shirt). Shawna is right up near the top competing in five championship games for Los Luchadores, First Blood and now the Lyon over the years. Emily and the Sarah’s (Riley and Weisel) have played in back to back championship games if ever you want to watch women dominate, just challenge any of these women to do anything and they will top whatever the challenge was.IMG_9197

There have only been two women who have been writers for Sundays in the Park. One is myself, and the other is Liz Shafer. This year she has joined the Rockets and has become one of the integral kickers for their team. She also is a mainstay on the ladies podcast, the woman who adds the humor to all those stats and helped name Thor our podcast mascot.


liz shafer knows how to hold the bag

The Ladybird Harpies are helping to bring the next generation to Kaw Valley Kickball. This neighborhood team where scoring a run was a victory, is now finding the sweet taste of success in 2016 guaranteeing them not a six seed in rank play. Shout outs to Christine Kosirog, another half of board member Matt Pryor, for also opening up your home for a few years of podcasts, and to “summer” Staci Taylor-Ahlvers, who missed her first Girl on Girl so her son youngest son could compete in Zones in diving. I love my moms in the league!


laideez pod cast 2013

My last laideez team highlights are with the Ghosts. Prior to our scoreboard, there was Katie Keating. The lady who held up the dry erase board in the stands every summer so we would know the score and how much time we had before singing take me out to the ball game with Cougar. This season she is the lady with the go-pro, filming segments of games and fanfare each week. She is also a badass camerawoman as a career, which means she can’t always make it to our kickball, games because soccer, or basketball or baseball requires her time. 2016 saw the selection of the first ever two time Commissioner, Ghosts player Diana Garcia. She is the leagues voice of reason, that person who can listen to all sides and seemingly find a way to keep us moving forward. She also is one gonna run you down pitcher for her team. Never underestimate a ghost, like their namesake, the Eldridge Hotel, Ghosts don’t burn down.

I could go on for paragraphs about all the extraordinary women in the league who do more than just show up and play. This is just a small spattering of the talent and commitment that comes from the women who play in the KVKL off the field. Most teams only play with three of us each week on the field and I give mad love and thanks for all of the women who push hard at being the best 3 outta 10 on the field each week, youre all inspirations.


girl on girl 2016