With week 1 in the books KVKL kickball is officially back, rolling along stronger than ever. I didn’t get a chance to see many games this week, as we played the 5:30 game and I reffed the game immediately following ours, but week 1 always seems to be an excitement filled weekend. Players and spectators alike are thrilled to get back out in the pre-summer heat and participate in a little kickball. I don’t know if it is my age catching up with me, out-of-shapeness, or a combination of both, but for me personally the sun really took its toll. By the time the GOTW was over I was exhausted and happily found my way home after several hours of exhilarating kickball. After a riveting opening weekend, we’ve already entered the All-Star break with division races as close as ever. No team is more than one game behind! Okay not really. But seriously this week off stuff is killing me. Fortunately for me and a bunch of other people who stayed around town for the holiday weekend, there was plenty kickball to be played without the need for scorecards, refs, or city officials.
By blind luck and a few predicted lopsided games, I correctly picked 14 of the 16 games played in week 1. Of the two that I missed, I listed them both as the top two competitive games of the week. The GOTW was a good battle back and forth by two good kickball teams – Asteroid Head and Dirty Mike and the Boys. In the end Asteroid Head held onto a small lead and eked out the victory. This was definitely a big game for both teams moving forward because they are likely, in my opinion, to end up with close records at the end of division play. As for the second game I picked incorrectly, Los Matadores pulled off a surprising win against Das Boot, a pre-season favorite to make a deep run. I didn’t hear much about the actual game, but I got an ear full from Mr. Santos during the GOTW about how big of a nobody-dork-loser I must be to pick against a team managed by him. Sorry I missed that inning and a half of the GOTW ya’ll, Santos was scolding me. I mean, can you believe that of all 16 games played each week I actually have to pick a winner and a loser? This week I bet everyone wins. If you lose don’t get mad at me. It’s not my fault. From the looks of it, Los Matadores may go undefeated this season, if and only if, they can simply learn to play by the rules. I heard they had a bit of a problem and all that gloating around and chest puffing by Mr. Santos may have been all for not. You see, Paul, this is a game I like to call, “Don’t Mock the Man with the Microphone”. Seriously though, Los Matadores will be a team I will keep my eyes on. Definitely a big win(???) and if the win is taken away, a good confidence booster no doubt. Boot, what the hell happened in this game? I’ve seen a pretty potent offense out of Das Boot the last couple of seasons but they only managed three runs in week 1. We’ll have to see if they make some strategic changes for week 2 and get back to business as usual.
In other news, I’d like to briefly address the issue of no grass field use this season. It’s likely that I’ll get myself in all sorts of trouble for even writing this and have to deal with Big Brother, but such is life. Somebody’s got to do it right? From what I remember in the pre-season discussion we voted to essentially nominate ourselves for playing on grass or avoiding it all together. I didn’t realize that everyone would have to go without. From what I remember the poll was split about 50/50 on those who like it and those who oppose it. I still don’t fully comprehend the fact that we have completely eliminated grass fields. I personally enjoy playing games on the grass fields because it’s a change-up from the monotony of dusty, heat-radiating, baked dirt fields. Kickball is certainly modeled after baseball (or softball, which is modeled after baseball) and one of the beautiful things about baseball is that the different ball parks create different atmospheres and host their own challenges because of the structure of the parks. Grass fields for kickball are no different. Running is different. The way the ball rolls across the ground is different. The ball doesn’t get dusty and slippery. These differences are all good things in my opinion. I have a lot of kickball memories that involve specific teams I’ve played against. Personally, I’d prefer those memories to go a step beyond that, to the tune of: Do you remember the game against [insert team] at [insert field]? Different teams play different styles of kickball. Different field conditions may create an advantage for particular teams. Again, a good thing. I like the idea of the home field advantage. You don’t want to play [insert team] on grass because they really dominate on grass. That is sports my friends. In football, some teams thrive on turf while others prefer a soggy, wet field that completely slows the game down. Making adjustments on the fly is a part of the beauty of strategizing. I’ve heard several arguments for reasons against using grass and I’m sure there are many more that haven’t been brought to my attention. Let’s take South Park, for example. I’ve heard from several different people that the city of Lawrence, who we pay for the use of our fields, would prefer us not to use South Park because the grass gets damaged from kickball. Really? I played soccer in South Park for several summers where there would be multiple games going on at once. I’m talking about 40 people or so constantly running back and forth in cleats. You can not look me in the eyes and tell me that this is not far worse for the grass than kickball is. For one, kickball damage should be as minimal as baselines, and we’re really only talking about the first baseline, where players regularly sprint to try to beat out a throw. Other than that, let’s be honest, we do a lot of standing around. Second, it’s a city park. Am I wrong in stating that every resident of Lawrence should have the same ability to use the park whether they want to play kickball, soccer, football, ultimate frisbee, hop scotch, or grab ass? To me it seems that we are essentially paying the City not to use the field, which leaves me utterly stumped. There are probably those of you who couldn’t care less about the grass fields and that’s okay. Just remember that this league started as a restaurant/bar league played on grass fields. I’ll cut my rant short here because I’m sure (and hoping) that there will be plenty of input on this subject and possibly some backlash. And with that I leave you with a horrible grass field haiku.
Fresh green full of life
Damp and cool beneath my feet
Run free young children
LONG LIVE GRASS!