What the hell is the KVKL? It’s the KawValley Kickball League! I’m not sure we have an official tag line. A quick summary might be: a grass-roots, volunteer based, community oriented, locally resourced, Sunday focused kickball league with varying degrees of competitiveness. Also known as a “beer league.”Brief history: the first year the KVKL was a guerrilla-style tactic league that would commandeer park space for games on Sunday evenings. To the best of my knowledge, the creative forces behind the league were Natalie (whose last name I don’t remember) and Scott Edwards. These two former Rudy’s employees envisioned a league with friendly matches between downtown businesses. Their collective leadership lasted two seasons (2002-2003) as Natalie departed and Scott carried on alone (2004). Scott passed the torch to Kelly Corcoran one season later (2005) who then helped form the KVKL Board at the end of 2006 (Josh Hunt – first commissioner, Nick Lerner, Phil Mitchell, Caleb Skulskie/Jarrod Lynds, Jessica Meischer, Robert Coffman, and myself – Deron Belt). In 2007, the KVKL applies for and is granted non-profit status. This 2008 season begins a second led by the KVKL Board. The current board consists of Phil Mitchell (commissioner), Josh Hunt, Blake Swenson, Adina Scanland, Curtis McCoy, Nick Lerner and yours truly.
The champions: first was Teller’s in 2002. They could kick the ball harder and farther than anyone else. Early games required little else for a team to be successful. This team even managed to play a little defense. Very little. Experiencing these games was comparable to watching young kids play herd-ball in soccer. The games were poorly organized, poorly played, and fun. Some argue that this was when the league was at it’s best and least competitive. The way kickball was meant to be played, some say. When people talk about “the spirit of the league,” this season is the shining example of what they’re referencing.
The 2nd was the Bottleneck in 2003. They were the runner-up to Teller’s the previous year and quickly figured out what worked against other teams with less athleticism and organization. In this season, Jarrod Lynds built on his reputation as a premiere masher in the KVKL and is Katie Ashmore’s 1st appearance in the championship game. Bunting becomes more common (the first real evolution in our kickball league). Bottleneck’s championship game vs. Rudy’s was closely matched and had a perceived officiating blunder that some thought ensured them victory. Later it was realized (but still debated) that it was IN FACT NOT an officiating mistake, merely an misunderstanding.
In the champions that followed, the game began to change. Love Garden won in 2004. This team was largely a combination of Love Garden and GreatCheeseWood (both mediocre teams) from the previous year. This team won with defense and speed. They defeated a much more athletic and powerfully built team in Papa Keno’s. Arm strength became a more obvious advantage, and there was a distinct lack of females in the league (except for Katie in her 2nd championship game).
Jensen’s won in 2005 with a very similar style to that of Love Garden, whom they defeated in the championship game. Jensen’s old style flavor made them a fan favorite, especially amongst a certain crowd. This year the league was introduced to Robert Coffman (Milton’s fame). 2005 was also the first year of the three ladies rule instituted by Kelly Corcoran, necessary as some teams were unwilling to change on their own. Oh yeah, Katie Ashmore’s 3rd championship game.
Milton’s won in 2006, although there’s still some debate about what they actually called themselves (maybe Murder Inc.,). And Billy Construction last year in 2007. These two seasons/championships were similar in that it was these same two teams vying for the title. Love Garden changed their name to Billy Construction in ’06 and continued with their previous style. Milton’s brand was more power and defense oriented. Robert begins tinkering with lineups and testing the rules with varying degrees of success. Instituted rules allow the league to be more consistent on a game by game basis. By the way, Katie’s 4th and 5th.
There are many names and teams I did not intentionally omit. This is merely a brief overview of the league. Hopefully, what follows will be discussions about the current season, rules, team make-up and strategies, revisionist history, and the direction of the league. My proposition: if someone wants a place to chat about kickball and/or the KVKL, this might be a good venue to pontificate on such.
On this blog AND ESPECIALLY ON THE FIELD please be sportsmanlike and keep in mind “the spirit of the league” (or, SOL). The kickball GODS are always watching.