The Sexist

Adult Kickball More About Fucking Than Kicking

CNN's Stephanie Chen discovered adult kickball today. But somebody didn't stick around for the post-game.

In her report, Chen argues that grown kickball enthusiasts hit the field in an attempt to reclaim their lost youth. Kickballers, Chen writes, hope to relive the experience of "fifth-graders during PE class in Sparks, Nevada." As any veteran of adult kickball can tell you (don't judge me: I went to like two games!), the bygone era kickballers are attempting to reclaim is college, and the real sports begins after the field is empty.

Chen mentions the words "beer" and "single" only once in her piece, but from my experience, these are far and away the most important elements of the adult kickball experience. "With players who are trapped in a world of layoffs and job freezes, these adult leagues, contests and tournaments are the equivalent of sandbox time for children," she writes. "They can make new friends and go for a beer after the game."

A beer? Talk about a write-around. How about 12 beers (Miller Lite) chugged quickly in succession after the game? The actual ball-kicking is just the first half of the Kickball Biathalon, traditionally completed by a flip-cup tournament. DCKickball's Web site makes its priorities clear: "So we play kickball for 45 minutes and then we go to the bar for 4 hours."

And those "new friends"? The technical term is "fuck-buddies." From what I can tell, performance on the kickball field is little more than an elaborate flirting mechanism in order to aid young professionals in their mating activities.

Just listen to Chen's characterization of the game: "Spongy red balls wait in a queue, separating two teams wired to smack their opponent. Within seconds, the players dip and dive like dolphins until one player stands alone, relishing in victory."

Two teams wired to smack their opponent? With balls? Consider that impulse, 12 beers in, and just guess what kind of event competes the Kickball Triathalon. (Hint: there are sexy pirate costumes).

Picking your sex partner based on their proficiency at beaming other humans with huge balls may sound gross, unappetizing, and depressing—a lot like the bar scene in general? I dropped out early on—I was a fucking loser at kickball, worse at drinking 12 beers on a Tuesday, and really, really bad at tolerating 22-year-old fuckers initiating small talk by informing me that their jobs were "top secret." But I do know two long-term couples who met through the adult kickball network. They've both since split—perhaps adult relationships based on miming college life can't last forever. But remember, eternal kids: Kickball fuck-buddies may come and go, but the DCKickball Flickr pool lives on.

Photo by phillipshannon

  • http://dckickball.org Carter Rabasa

    I have to comment. Not to dispute anything, because during any given season we have over 3,000 people playing, and things are clearly bound to happen. But I am laughing because I was just about to blog about the prevalence of "DCKickball Couples" now that we've been around for 5 years and how I met my wife playing DCKickball and how we're expecting our first child in 7 months. That's quite a juxtaposition relative to your topic of choice.

    Carter Rabasa
    Founder, DCKickball

  • Joe

    A few years ago I was on the DC stars kickball team. After two mondays of being more hungover than I'd ever been in my whole life- I had to hang up my kickball shoes. A lot of drinking, not sure if there was any fucking though.

  • Katie

    Actually, I have to agree to with Carter - I met my husband playing kickball (we have a 1 year old) and I know of 7 married couples who met playing kickball. On average, they've been married 2-4 years (no divorces yet!). Five of them met/hooked up the same year - it was a good summer. :)

    There is LOTS of drinking though - when I think of how much money I spent and how much damage I did to my body...ugh.

  • 4m123

    Are you trying to write about kickball or dodge ball? You keep using the term kickball, but seem to be talking about a game in which people THROW balls at each other. That was dodge ball in my day. Kick ball was like baseball -- a pitcher, a kicker (i.e., batter), bases, runs, etc.

  • http://www.kickball365.com Kickball365

    "And those “new friends”? The technical term is “fuck-buddies.” From what I can tell, performance on the kickball field is little more than an elaborate flirting mechanism in order to aid young professionals in their mating activities."

    Wow. I can't wait to see what our Community has to add to this article, read the full discussion over at http://www.kickball365.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=9289

    Admin

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    Carter and Katie --- So ... you didn't fuck your spouses?

  • http://www.playnakid.com Angel

    As a long-time player of another DC-area league, I have to agree that this is a bit ridiculous and sensationalistic. Yes, Chen's account of kickball is simplistic. But yours goes to the other extreme. I know of too many kickball marriages, long-term relationships and really good friendships that have developed thanks to the leagues. And not everyone who plays drinks a lot, or at all. Everyone is an adult (that's why you have to be 21) and makes their own choices.

  • Ray

    Leave it to white people to play a game that's lame even by 4th grade standards.

  • Vaginaholic

    I'd play a game that's lame by 4th grade standards if it meant I could tap the woman in the photo up top.

  • Tony

    Someone (the author of this piece) sounds bitter.

  • Christine

    I moved here a few years ago and, not knowing more than a handful of people in DC, joined a kickball team to meet people. And I'm still friends with those people, even though I bowed out after a couple seasons. Were there a few flings along the way? Sure. Would that have been any different had it been a softball or flag football or -- as your quote from Chen actually seems to describe -- dodgeball team? Of course not. The plural of anecdote is not evidence, but I, too, know many happy, long-term couples who met playing kickball. And the comparison to "the bar scene in general" isn't really a fair one. With kickball, while someone might catch your eye the first week, since you know you'll be seeing them every week for the next few months there isn't that same rush to seal the deal as there is in a random bar with people you might never see again. Also, I was an exception, being new to DC, but it seems like most people join a team with coworkers, roommates, college friends, etc., so it's likely that anyone you meet has people to vouch for them, again unlike in a random bar.

  • AK

    Two games? Now THAT is what I call thorough and complete research.

    And don't talk down about it like it's just a bunch of simians beating their chests and chugging beer. Join a league and you might be surprised that you'll make a friend or two.

  • MMMM

    Oh boy! I think we have a 5-star world class debbie downer on our hands! I can totally see you standing in a bar in a corner not talking to anyone and, instead of socializing (which is the whole point), thinking very intensely about how much better you are than everyone else. Does that get you off? Because if it did, at least you'd have something in common with what some of the other people did later on that night. Except with someone else (maybe more than just one!) and not the busted dildo you inherited from your older sister. Are you seriously against drinking and fucking? HONESTLY?!?! What the hell were you thinking was going to happen when you joined an adult kickball league??? Speaking as someone who has been involved with kickball for years (since the beginning!) and as someone who has definitely encountered his fair share of assholes in the process, I have met some of my best friends and learned much about lots...even while being really awesome at flip cup. And, correct me if I am wrong America, speaking for everyone in my division, I'm really glad you decided to stop playing. Its almost like you took one for the team by removing your obnoxious, self-righteous ass! Way to go!

  • Q™

    Kudos to Amanda for taking a rather benign and fun game and turning it into Hookup Central. Geez, Amanda...maybe you should ask the boss for more vacation time. This article is pretty trite, even by your standards. Kickball presents no more aphrodisiac than any other co-ed team oriented outing. How about BOWLING or DARTS for next week's special. Maybe in your two games you took too many blows to the head (no pun intended).

    @Ray, Black, White, Brown, etc. people like kickball. Please don't stereotype, it makes you look ignorant.

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  • Me

    Too bad this girl has no idea what she is writing about. Kickball and Dodgeball are two different things. Your article is about Dodgeball, not kickball, as others have pointed out. Get your facts straight. Also, I too know a lot of couples, many married/engaged, who met through kickball. Being new to the city, its a GREAT way to meet new friends and have a social night out with people that just want to have fun. If you want to write an article about something, you better experience it for yourself and not through second hand stories, otherwise you're just making yourself look like a fool!

  • match

    I am outraged that you would write such an article about kickball. Kickball is fucking awesome.I agree with everyone else's criticisms, especially MMMM- Speaking as someone who has been involved with kickball for years (since the beginning!)- he's played since the beginning of kickball, he knows.

  • David

    I think Amanda needs a good f'ing. Way too angry of a tone for an article about yo-yos and kickball.

    People have been getting beers and hooking up for generations, but why are these childish sports gaining ground? To say it is more about the 'social' aspect is true, but to say it has nothing to do with the actual activity is just plain ignorant.

  • Former Staffer

    How do I join WAKA now?

  • Anna

    Though this article is clearly (mostly) accurate, I'd like to express my sympathy for your bitterness. Most people take Kickball and other social sports - who also show up at the bar in full force after their joke-of-a-game - as a way to network, get out and hang out with friends on a weeknight... and yes, hook up. Thank you for stating the obvious. And thank you also for being so bitter that in all the years that you've played adult recreational sports - you've obviously never gotten laid.

  • http://capslove.wordpress.com/ Dazey2

    Thanks Amanda for the article. I wrote a similar story in my blog: http://capslove.wordpress.com/love/kickball-relationships/

    I love this article! It's so true that kickballers are usually focused on hooking up with other people. I've been playing for 4 seasons now and while the league is called a Kickball league and not a Drinking+Hookup League, the latter two activities are pretty prominent. It's important to note that most teams are far more excited to get to the bar after the game than they are to actually play kickball. Some teams are far more competitive at the bar playing Flip Cup than they are on the field for Kickball.

  • Lauren P.

    At least Chen's article on CNN was well researched, thorough and provided perspective on the phenomenon of adult sports. I am offended by this article for it's blatant superfluous use of cuss words, and sex just to gain more readership. This isn't responsible journalism, and frankly, it's not even entertaining or smart. Kickball (or dodge ball, or bocce ball) is an activity that most people do so they can not take themselves so seriously for a while. There are always going to be people who are focused only on drinking and hooking up, but it's not the vast majority of the people in the middle, who play to have fun with their friends. And yes, I met my boyfriend of two years playing kickball. Even without a sexy pirate costume.

  • boc

    So wait - Kickball fun? Yes. Flip-cup fun? Yes. Hooking up fun? Yes. Wait, is there a problem here? I just wanted to make sure I was not missing anything...

  • Graham

    Thanks for the press. Hey everyone... Columbia Division of DCKickball is still open for registration. Thursday nights in Adams Morgan. If any of the above (kickball, socializing, hooking up) is interesting to you come on down. Hell, maybe even sign up just to spit this snarky cunt and her column!

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  • http://www.dieyuppiekickball.com Inquisitor K

    Hi Amanda,

    How original. Keep up the good work, honeybuns! :*

    -IK

  • Smokin’ #73

    This is hilarious! I am in a kickball league in Nashville, TN. This is all so true. I love it.

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