Welcome to the first edition of the newest addition to Sundays in the Park—a little thing I like to call “Unsung Heroes, Sung: or, Simply, Player Profiles.” I’ve asked all of the captains in the league to send me the names of a couple players who are detrime—ahem, fundamental to their team, but are also players underappreciated among the league. The league has plenty of fan favorites, and fan least-favorites. But what about the middle-class, so to speak? the 99% or whatever? Well, I present to you my season-long project, “Unsung Heroes, Sung.”
COLIN FLANDERS, Mario Chalmersiziziziziziziziz
Mario Chalmersiz’ very own Colin Flanders, or as people like to call him: Flanders. (Not to be confused with Kenny Flanders of Los Matadores, though they are related, which might explain his speed.) Colin began his KVKL career with the Bulletproof Tigers last season—a team that desperately needed players last year. Not only did I play against him last year with Wildman Attack Force, but I was fortunate enough to call him teammate during my stint playing city league. He’s quick on his feet, knows the game, kicks well (thanks, soccer!), and is genuinely a solid dude. And that’s not just me talking—his captain, Brian Costello, said that. Well, his words were, “[He’s] most importantly, just a real nice guy.”
Colin is a fan of playing 3rd, especially, but wherever he’s needed is fine with him, and he’s kind of a team player (he did play with Cougar, after all). So if you see this guy out on the field or wherever, give him a cheers, offer him a Pale Ale if you’ve got one, and tell him welcome back to the league.. Oh, and his favorite thing about KVKL: the people. What’s to argue with that?
Someone get this man a drink!
Up next . . .
OWEN COX, AsteroidHead
Owen Cox, here, or as friends like to call him, Cool Owen (italics included), is in what he thinks is probably his sixth year in KVKL. And Lord knows I know that feeling—half the time I feel like it’s my 12th; others, my . . . well, sixth. It’s easy to forget. Anyway, he’s been a staple on AsteroidHead all those years, and you’ll generally find him in Center Field, or Kansas City, where he and the lovely Caitlin Dix recently purchased a house—so of course now we have what Capt. Pat Watkins and co. have always wanted: the lovely union of Dix and Cox.
Cooooool Owen’s favorite KVKL moment is perhaps what a lot of ours is: when Mick Cottin forced his amazing wife-to-be Robyn to play Catcher for an inning. And then he went all Let’s-get-married on everyone, and then topped it off by winning in the bottom of the 9th in epic-comeback-fashion As for his favorite game played—it was a big win against Los Matadores in the first round of the tournament a few years back (2011, maybe?). They followed it up with a close loss to Das Boot (which I believe was its first trip to the Final Four, after beating Sacred Sword).
His favorite jersey? Just about anything from AsteroidHEAD. Apparently I’ve missed out by not being around a season-opening tie-dye party, but it sounds pretty goddamn awesome. He loves playing against the Ladybird Harpies because they embody the spirit of the game, and his favorite part about KVKL? Well, he said it best: “[It] gives us the chance to regularly see many of our good friends on the team. Sometimes connections can be hard to maintain, but I know that every week in the summer I have the chance to get together with some really amazing people.”
There you have it. Someone get this man a Shift (New Belgium—it’s available in cans).
And then . . .
CAITLIN DIX, AsteroidHead
In 2010, Caitlin “Dix” Dix joined the AsteroidHead Art Club, but she’s been a part of the community since ’06, and she’s been there ever since. (Rhymes!) She’s played a handful of positions (3rd, SS, 2nd, P) in her years, and while I haven’t met her, just reading her answers from my questionnaire-thing really gives me an idea of, well, pardon my French, her indomitable spirit and total awesomeness. She understands genuine competition, loves the game, and loves the community. The teams playing isn’t what’s important, she’s seen some great games under the lights. “The skill level of the team doesn’t matter as long they are evenly matched. Watching a competitive match when Hobbs is full is a one-of-a-kind experience,” she writes.
She loves playing on grass—and who can blame her. AsteroidHead has dominated at South Park and Water Tower Park over the years. And like Cool Owen up there, some of her favorite jerseys have been AsteroidHead originals, in particular, “Kitten Hanging on Basketball Goal,” which if is half as awesome as it sounds, then . . . fuck yeah. As for her favorite plays she’s been a part of: “kicking it over the head of the short-porched outfielder . . . so sweet every time.” Oh, and the team’s End of Season barbeques. And I don’t know who Raelean Finch is, but once they made a cake that was “shaped, colored, and textured like a kickball, but tie-dyed on the inside,” and, well, that sounds awesome.
Much like her partner Cool Owen, the Ladybird Harpies are her favorite team to play, and, similarly, the best part about the league: you guessed it—community. That’s something we can probably all agree on. (Theme of the season!)
Somebody, get this lady a Kanbucha, quick!
Well, that’s it for now! Stay tuned—I’m here all summer! Send these three your love and appreciation, and be ready for more.