While hanging with a slew of exceptional KVKL-ers on Friday night, we started talking about the possibilities of their teams in the playoffs and idea was tossed my way. On all the teams is there a good guy and a bad guy on the team? Does the league have heroes, does the league have villains? Is there someone you love to watch play because they truly play with the spirit of the league week in and week out? Is there someone you absolutely love to boo at game of the week to see if they crack? This week my Sundays in the Park is dedicated to the notorious and the victorious members of our league.
THE VICTORIOUS OF THE ESTEEMED KVKL
I think that every captain, anyone who has paid $2 at harbor, anyone who has bought a kvkl sticker , a hot dog at GOTW, slapped the bag, did a keg stand, tossed a t-shirt over the fence at Hobbs, made team colored jello shots, slurped team colored jello shots, worn their team t-shirt, danced with the KVKL crew upstairs, cleaned up sunflower seeds and cans at Hobbs, put together a “spirit” team for the Charity Tournament, traded koozies with others, played in four games, really are all victors in our league. We are all in this together and the more we work together as a team the greater we all can be. However there is an upper echelon of most sincere players who make us all smile, who we cheer when they wow us week in and week out.
DAN MAGUA – MURDA INC. – I’ve known about Dan’s excellence since the night his Milton’s team won the first ever championship against Billy Construction under the lights at Hobbs in 2006. That headband and white t-shirt, he catapulted his team to victory that season. Over the years every top team has recruited this stellar ninja. However Dan’s greatest quality is his loyalty. He loves the people he plays with. He works with the people he plays sports with. When the pressure is on Dan’s wears it like a cape. He is a super hero on the field, who we all can trust will in any way possible bring out the victory. This season we all got to experience Dan’s true greatness when he sailed that ball deep into the grass at Hobbs bottom of 9th 2 outs and ran the bases home to give his family the win. Dan truly is the Man.
KRIS MARSHALL – TERRE BONNE PO’BOYS – We all know about this player and his wins. He has won three of the last four championships at old Hobbs Field. However he will be the first to tell you it was his team that made it happen. Kris Marshall is a beyond talented kickball player. However he is a more phenomenal Coach. Once a summer we always seem to end up talking until the wee hours of the morning about the state of our league and the game itself. He looks at the game from so many different angles, his approach is how to become the best team at the right time. Don’t be afraid to try new positions, encourage your team to not only win, but have the most fun doing it. I knew at some point the man with the white headband would find another town to his liking, his talents deserve a world much larger than the LFK. But for right now I look forward to see the Po’Boys, like the perfect sandwich they are named for, satisfy my kickball hunger for victory.
KENNY FLANDERS – LOS MATADORES – How can one not love a bronze god? Yes his ten-pack abs, hair flowing like a unicorn’s down his back, a tan that is only heightened by his smile. Kenny is one of the fastest people across those bases. He represents his Haskell University not only in academics but in athletics. I had the pleasure of getting to know Kenny when his teammate needed support through a sticky situation a few years back. He was a superior mediator as we worked through a hairy situation all while wearing an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt. I gotta say it. This boy is the whole package and we love to watch him play. Keep it up Kenny, we also know our lil kickball family is too small for your long-term talents, but we will enjoy em as long as we can.
ABBY VESTAL – WILDMAN – If Wildman claims they are ‘Merica’s team, then Abby Vestal is their president. She plays rugby, kicks professional footballs, and pretty much does a complete shut down on defense between first and second base in our league. Half the time I hear that her father drove her like twelve hours from whatever other sporting event she was competing in across the country to get her back in time for her KVKL game. She also is a superior advocate at the Boys and Girls Clubs in Lawrence. She is currently working on a mentor program to show kids the power of positivity through good sportsmanship. Abby, you da Bomb. Thanks for bringing so much good to our league.
TROY POMEROY – RED LYON – Hereos in our league take on oh so many forms. Yes we all want to cheer for the finest athletes as they kick it over our heads or stick a catch. But we also like to cheer for the revelry. Troy is the leader of this parade. He gets the crown and the scepter. For almost a decade Troy has been uniting us on the field with a key and a two cans of beer. No matter who was just screaming at who about a call, once Troy walks on the field with two cans of beer and a key all is forgotten. Share a shot-gun together. Individuals do it, teams do it, heck even Cougar does it. Troy thank you for always remembering we are playing a kids game and we should take a moment to enjoy it. Troy and his equally saucy wife Lauren are now proud parents of Isis, so Troy can take his hey everyone let’s just have fun attitude and pass it onto his daughter.
NOW THE MOST NOTORIOUS MEMBERS OF THE KVKL…
We all love a villain. That person that you can sneer at, scowl at and hope does something so wicked you cheer in glee. These are the good people in the league we love to be our bad boys, be the wicked bitch, the enemy for the actions on the field. Here’s to the excellent athletes and players we love to BOOOOOOO.
PAUL SANTOS – LOS MATADORES – At last summers game of the week when Paul ripped off his yellow onsie to reveal more hair than a werewolf, it was Paul’s genius way to let us all know he embraces our audience distaste for Santos. He knows how to rile up a crowd. He also has a championship. When the Bagels three years ago upset the reigning champs at Hobbs it was the loudest collective cheer heard around the east side. Thanks for being cool enough to handle the ribbing, now deliver me my gluten free Minsky’s pizza.
TYLER DRUSSELL / NICOLE CULBERTSON – HAPPY SHIRT – I had to look up Tyler’s last name today. In my phone it reads Tyler Dicktowel. Tyler is one of the most intense and knowledgeable players in the KVKL. He captains the winningest team ever in the league and well he always plays with a towel. To show their spirit a few summers ago at game of the week the players of then Pita Pit passed out “Tyler Towels.” If one can’t poke fun at what others dub “ not normal” you are not human. Tyler is actually a really good dude. Same goes for Nic. She’s also one of the longest playing pitchers in the league. Sure she gave the crowd the finger at the 2013 Championship Game before she kicked (yup I have it recorded), sure her and a lady from Channel 6 might of gotten a lil aggressive with one another this year. Watching Nic play is a blast. She knows how to work a crowd. It’s always easy to hate the ones who are the best players in the league and that is who Tyler and Nic are.
SARAH RILEY – ROCKETS – She wears a tilted truckers cap, and bites her lip ring with a vengeance before tossing you one wickedly spinning pitch. On the outside Sarah Riley is one mean mugging motherfucker of a player. I had to reprimand her a few years back for dropping a shoulder while running into first base. She just looked at me and was like, “what, I didn’t’ do that “ and proceeded to stay on first base. However what you don’t know about her is off the field she is the sweetest cat-loving vegan with an eye for photography. But when she is on the field she is the B you shouldn’t trust.
ERIN ADAMS – BASIL RIDE – There always has to be a mom in the league. She’s that one person in charge or reminding us to be accountable of our actions on and off the field. Don’t use glass, don’t forget your team is cleaning this week, pick up your stuff from the shed. That’s our Erin. She knows the rules forward and backward and she will call you out when she knows she is right. She also knows how to get on base and make all the jello shots, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love to boo her when her team (and Wiggins) take the field. It’s easy to be haters on those in charge and Erin embraces it weekly.
JOSH HUNT – SACRED SWORD – He’s been a commissioner, he cleaned up the rules in the KVKL years ago. He has no problem getting in your face over a play against his team. He also pitches the worst stink in the league. Josh has spent years making sure people hated the S-Word. He thrives on the conflict, even when the Sword tries to be the “kinder gentler” Sword, Josh takes over as pitcher and irritates the entire league. Seriously more than any other person this season people have mentioned to me Josh’ meatball pitches. Good job Josh, keep it black and evil, we prefer you and your team that way.
SHAHER IBRAHIMI – GOATS – Come on we all knew he was going to be on this list. No cute sunflower bandana is gonna help Shaher. The goats are an angry team. They head butt each other, they have a player who plays the imperial march when he comes up to kick (Carter). They shout MEHHHHHH all the time loudly just to fuck with you on the other team. Of course with all teams that have the streak of wicked there has to be one that rises to the top. Shaher is wiley. He likes to argue, he always has a point that must be made even if you agree. He also is a long-term ref who can handle the heat of an intense play and stick to his guns. You’re the man we all love to hate, so just keep maintaining ownership of that title.
SARAH MILLER – LOVE GARDEN – Who can forget those anger filled eyes in the 2011 Championship Game? Her outrageous kicking of the dirt, her chest heaving up and down as she defended her teams plays. She scared the shit outta me every time I watched her play. She was so uber-passionate for her team and had the pipes to let us all know that. Yes a severe ankle injury might of forced her to not be able to play kickball for the Squids, but really that just meant that she could be that much louder from the bench. We are gonna miss you here in the KVKL, but thanks for being a personality we will never forget Sarah.
HANNAH BLODGETT – PO’BOYs – Remember the great jello slingshot debacle of 2012? I sure do, that was when I first met Hannah Blodgett. How so much verbal rage could come out of that tiny little body, it just blew my mind. She wears sparkle short shorts and is another one of the “don’t give a fuck” what you think of her when she plays. She also helped win her team a championship last year. This of course means she has heckled the crap outta every other team she has played this year. Met her mom this summer and now I know where the saltiness comes from. Keep it up in post-season Hannah, we love and hate to see you growl.
CJ KIE / SIMON SKINNER – WILDMAN – They are the leagues two-headed serpent on the field. They just keep shedding their skin and getting more brutal. CJ is the albatross on the pitchers mound. He will take you down. If you don’t take that first good pitch you gonna be there a while. He’s in super shape he will wear you down. Simon has that leg that can take a ball to the far reaches of Hobbs, he also has enough fire in his belly to tell you that, as he runs the ball from deep center field to the pitcher. These two guys are an energy drink on crack. You know when you play them its going to be intense like a freebase jump off the freedom tower. You might not make it out alive.
MOST NOTORIOUS REF – COUGAR – BULLETPROOF TIGERS – Cougar you are the ref we all love to hate. Sure we all sing with you during the 7th inning. But as a ref sometimes we just want to throw off our baseball cap, toss it in the dirt and spit on your feet. You call em like you see it and sometimes that hurts.
When putting the list together I had a bit of a laugh because there were some people that came to mind that could be on both lists. That’s right CHRIS FORD, NICK LERNER, GEOFF WRIGHT AND JAMES FINDLEY people both love and hate you. We shall see as time passes where you end up in our hearts.
So there you go the good the bad and the ugly of the KVKL. May everyone play their asses off today, if only 32 teams could continue this week, but alas it will be down to sixteen. Stay hydrated, get to and from the fields safely and always give a hug, smile and a high five even if you lose today. This seasons losers could be next seasons champs. Keep it classy KVKL.