Alive and Kicking

Nov 16, 2012 at 6am
Intro_1

It probably wouldn’t be as dirty, hokey, or egocentric as “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” because there’s really no replacing the shenanigans of Sweet Dee, Dennis, Mac, or Charlie. Or Frank, for that matter. But San Francisco is full of comedic stories within its eccentric 20- and 30-something crowds. Sure, we’re not masterminding schemes to exploit the mortgage crisis, but we are rolling in fog, dating in a frenzy, and probably drinking too much on a school night. And if I had to pick one group to script a television show about, I’d choose KickballSF, the city’s adult kickball league.

KickballSF is the brainchild of Scott Snider, a.k.a. the Commish. Scott played in other kickball leagues in the city, but got tired of the competitive,serious attitude of some of the players. “Pitchers would throw the ball as hard as they could, with spin on it and super bouncy. Kickers would bunt rather than actually kick the ball. That just takes the fun out of it, in my opinion.” Scott decided to start his own league with his own rules, to bring it back to the silly and fun game that we all used to play during recess in second grade. He created a website in 2008 where he explained his take on kickball, and from word of mouth, the league quickly formed and took off.

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Teams commute from the Marina to Golden Gate Park every Thursday night on a fancy tour bus, shotgunning beers to Jay-Z over the loudspeakers. Most players are decked from head to toe in uniform – lots of knee-high argyle socks, short-shorts, and wristbands. There’s a pretty even ratio of guys to girls, so it’s a sass fest, accompanied by a beer-over-ball attitude.

After the kickball game, teams congregate at local watering holes to drink more beer and play flip cup, a competitive team drinking game that’s become as important as the kickball part of the evening.

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You can’t help but get excited, even as a spectator. The teams rally: kicking, cheering, chanting, and sliding into bases. And they get dirty in the process, but it’s all in the name of kickball. There’s an apparent camaraderie among the players, and according to the Commish, most people show up to play rain or shine.

The costuming plays a big part in each team’s identity. Team Apocalypse Drink Now sports an America theme, chanting “A-mer-i-ca!” to each kick of the ball while waving an American flag. Other team names are just as silly, including Blood Sweat and Beers, 2drunk2kick, Multiple Scoregasms, and How I Kicked Your Mother. The league has been a great way for people to make new friends in a city that can sometimes be difficult in this area, and it has even sparked a few marriages and engagements.

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Years in the kickball league:
The first season of KickballSF was in the fall of 2008.

Any battle wounds?
I actually haven't played at all the last couple seasons because I had knee surgery about eight months ago; I dislocated my patella playing dodgeball. My best [kickball] battle wound, though, happened in the first season of KickballSF. One of my teammates thought it would be funny to smack me in the head with a pair of shorts. Little did he know that there was a camera in the pocket of the shorts. It made a pretty sickening thud on my forehead, which immediately started bleeding. I still have a little scar that I notice every once in a while in the mirror.

How do you prepare for a game?
You "warm up," which means have a few drinks. The booze helps with loosening up the joints.

How do you celebrate after a win?
In the early seasons, the team would gather around in a circle and I would do the Soulja Boy dance for everyone. I retired this move a while back, but that was a solid tradition for a while.

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Years in the kickball league: 
This is our second season in the KickballSF league. The Pirates of the Cariballin, however, started in Los Angeles; we played two seasons there before I brought the name (and rich history) to San Francisco.

Any battle wounds?
Nothing major (yet ... knocking on wood), but I have tweaked a few muscles that kept me out of (much more serious) soccer leagues for a few weeks.

Best part about playing kickball as an adult:
Breaking out of your routine, meeting new people, and competing – even if most people don't take it that seriously. I was new to San Francisco when I first joined my team, and many of my best friends in the city I met through the league.

Favorite team to play against:
The teams that are more focused on music selection, sock height, and Jell-O shots than on the score of the game.

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Years in the kickball league:
1.5–2

Best kickball story:
I can flabongo/shotgun faster than anyone else [Ed. note: Flabongo is a beer-chugging race using a pink flamingo–turned–beer bong]. One time, a guy stopped midway and just dropped his jaw as I finished.

Any battle wounds?
Not personally, other than my soul.

Favorite team to play against:
None in particular. Some teams are fun, some are douchey.

How do you prepare for a game?
Party bus!

How do you celebrate after a win?
Flip cup, drinks, and good company.

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Years in the kickball league:
Six seasons

Any battle wounds?
Diving for a foul ball and hitting a tree. I ended up with a broken toe and bruised ribs.

What's the best part about playing kickball as an adult?
Enjoying times with friends and making new ones in the area.

Favorite team to play against:
Drunk & Looking to Score

How do you prepare for a game? 
Pregame party at the house closest to the field.

How do you celebrate after a win?
The only way ... at Bar None.

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Years in the kickball league:
1.5 years

Any battle wounds?
My liver.

What's the best part about playing kickball as an adult?
Meeting people who have similar interests in being active and being social. Also, still showing off some athletic skills can never hurt.

Favorite team to play against:
I like playing against Apocalypse Drink Now because they're there for the same reasons we are ... to have fun (drink a lot) and crack some jokes.

How do you prepare for a game?
Look at the record of the team we're playing and send out a team e-mail to fire up the troops.

How do you celebrate after a win?
Go back to the bar and play massive amounts of flip cup ... and buy our weekly team MVP a shot of Rumple Minze.

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Years in the kickball league:
1 year

What's the best part about playing kickball as an adult?
It's competitive, yet if you don't win it’s not like you'll have a bad day. Also, the people are fun and it’s a great way to make friends.

Favorite team to play against:
Can't remember my favorite ... they've all been pretty good.

How do you prepare for a game?
By putting on all my America swag and reading the pregame patriotic quote that my teammate sends out on game days.

How do you celebrate after a win?
First with our chant — “AMERICA!! Fu*k YEAH! Apocalypse! Drink Now!” — and then heading to Bar None to kick some butt in flip cup, too.

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Years in the kickball league:
1 year

Best kickball story:
Last season a player on our team got "iced" [a drinking game where a person is presented with a Smirnoff Ice that they must chug immediately] by a player on the opposing team. What did he do? A full-out split over home plate while chugging the Ice.

What's the best part about playing kickball as an adult?
It gives you a night to act like you're still in college.

Favorite team to play against?
Team America! A good time is guaranteed — oh yeah, and a win!

How do you prepare for a game?
Bring out the boom box and the beers.

How do you celebrate after a win?
Sliders and Rolling Rock at Bar None.

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If you're feeling like an action-packed Thursday evening, team up with some of KickballSF's ballers in Golden Gate Park for some foggy, boozy fun. You can join the league at any time on a team that needs a few extra players, so no need to wait for a new season to roll around. Sign-ups for DodgeballSF are currently open as well, if you're more in the throw-the-ball-as-hard-as-you-can type of mood.

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