I recently joined an adult kickball league in Austin. That’s right, kickball! No I am not in fourth grade, and yes, that feeling inside you right now is pure jealously.
How/why did I join a kickball league? Am I living out a childhood dream, do I suck at playing real sports? The answer……is none of your damn business. However, if you must know…my wife joined a few friends last season, so I figured why not play myself this season.
First off allow me to explain that a “season” is 7 games, a game is 7 innings, 7 innings of play lasts about 7 to 70 minutes, and 7 to 28 people get hurt every game. The other thing you should know is that this is a co-ed league and our team has 20 people on it. Why 20 people? What I really want to know is why are you asking so many questions. Here I am trying to tell you a story about how I cracked a rib, yet now we’re three paragraphs deep with no mention of my awesome girl tackling story……all thanks to these relentless back-story questions. Ok, so, the team must have 10 players on the field as opposed to baseball which has 9. In kickball there are 4 outfielders instead of 3. There also must be 4 girls in the field at all times or else they make you forfeit the game, pay $50 in fees, paint your car red, and insist on Sunday community service at the local YMCA. I don’t get it, but whatever. So in theory you could have only 10 people on your team, but this is a ‘social kickball league’ which means not every single person is going to show up to every single game, so it’s actually a good idea to have twice the number of people on the teams.
Now to my story – The secret to adult kickball is to kick it low and then run like hell. However, the best strategy is to simply keep running after you kick it, even when it makes little sense to run. The reality is that kickballs (at least in this league) are huge and hard to throw, so if someone has to throw the ball fairly far to get you out, then chances are they will miss and the ball will go rolling into the outfield. If someone kept stats on errors, it would be comical to say the least. Then there are often questions about the rules since most of these players are not huge baseball fans, so while they are arguing about a call at first base, you can just keep rounding the other bases until they realize what’s happening.
What happens when you combine this running strategy with people who are in their 20s, 30s, and 40s? They hurt themselves. Most of the players do not stretch (it’s just kickball after all), some enjoy a few alcoholic beverages before/during the game, and when they kick the ball they end up runnning faster and harder than they have in years. So naturally many of the players have pulled various leg muscles, and it’s not just our team, we’ve seen it happen on every team. So….i decided that I’m not going to be like these fools and hurt myself. I’m not going to try to be the hero who shows up, drinks 4 beers, kicks the ball into outer space, and then runs the bases like I was being chased by a pack of wolves with a open stick of pepperoni attached to my belt like a Mario Brothers 3 raccoon tail.
It was my second game and I started by stretching for a solid 20 minutes, concentrating on my legs, but ensuring to stretch everything. I got up to the plate in the 2nd inning, kicked the ball low and slow to third base, and ran as quick as I could to first. I got to the first with no problem, although I instantly noticed that I already felt some burning in the tops of my legs. I couldn’t believe it…I refused to think that I was going to hurt myself running. The 7th inning came and we were down by 5. I kicked the ball and got on first. Then someone else kicked it, errors happened, pies were thrown in faces, and before I knew it I was rounding second, paused on third for quarter of second and then made my way for home. The other team was busy throwing the ball around, making errors, so I decided to go for home thinking they wouldn’t see me. The only problem is they did see me, but even still I was already half way home so there’s no way they’d get they ball there in time. The next thing I knew I tagged home plate with my foot at the exact same time the female catcher caught the ball from the first baseman and turned towards me putting the ball right into my chest. The thing is I had been running all the way from first with a serious amount of momentum so this was bad news for the catcher. What happens when you are running top speed and crash into someone holding a ball? You actually don’t hit each other, you actually hit the ball, the ball then takes the force and pushes it against the catcher who proceeds to fly 235 yards across the field.
Was I hurt? No. Did I fear she was dead? Yes. Luckily she said she was ok, but by the look of horror on everyone’s faces I know that it looked bad. The umpire quietly called me safe at first, and then quickly shouted ‘OUT’ once she realized that the catcher had been flying through the air when she originally called ‘safe’. (By the way the umpire was also a female…just wanted to make sure you were staying with me)
I apologized again three more times and even checked with her after the game, again she said she was fine. I didn’t feel hurt at all, until I woke up at 4am with strange heart pain. I ruled out a heart attack, just because, and realized I must have pulled a chest muscle during the game. The pain remained consistence for 48 hours so I finally made an appt on Friday with my doctor, who they proceeded to tell me I needed to go to the ER to get an x-ray, this way I wouldn’t have to wait until Monday for results…just in case my rib pierced something.
Anyway, I am fine now, it turned out it was just a bruised rib but if you’ve ever had a bruised rib then you know it’s not a pleasant feeling. I just hope the girl is still ok and does not perform a ‘baltimore car jacking’ during the next game in retaliation.
If you are interested in cracking your own ribs playing kickball, or perhaps engaging in co-ed game of dodge, wiffleball, flag football, and other games, check out www.austinssc.com. It’s actually a lot of fun, make new friends, and it’s a great way to stay in shape. Did I mention it’s a great way to stay in shape?
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