WRITTEN BY: Greg
(First off, I just want to note that our last post means we have already doubled the output of Tanya Parker. BOO-yah, bitch. Damn that felt good.)
I wish I could say I've been an athlete my entire life. A brief stint as a fat kid between birth and kindergarten put a blemish on that resume. Not sure if every elementary school does this, but mine had this thing called the Presidential Fitness Challenge. Kids were tested on some standard gym activities (rope climb, sit and reach, death maze, etc.), and based on how you scored, you fell into one of three categories. The highest rank was Presidential, and you got a blue patch declaring your athletic awesomeness for that one. Second was National, which meant you didn't suck, but you weren't amazing either; That netted you a red patch. Then there was the third, and my personal favorite: Participation. That was the public school system's way of saying 'Well, at least you showed up.' The white Participation patch was the gym-class version of the scarlett letter. I brought one of those bad boys home in Kindergarten, and my parents had me signed up for little league and soccer before I could unlace my LA Lights. Got the blue patch every year after that. My awards shelf in my room looked a lot like the Hawk's banner wall in Mighty Ducks 1. So shameful.
Since then, the list of sports I have played are endless. Despite being only 5'6", I am one of the fastest people I know, so I can usually serve some sort of purpose in whatever sport is being played. I'm open to just about anything, but I was admittedly skeptical when I got recruited to join a kickball team. I hadn't played kickball since Field Day in 5th grade and couldn't imagine there being any kind of real structure to it. I pictured a bunch of bored 20-somethings in a park goofing around. After playing both high school and college soccer, a downshift in seriousness and organization wasn't going to work for me. But, the kid recruiting me was a good friend, and I had just moved to LA, so I had nothing better to do. I figured I'd check it out at first and then gradually drop off.
I could not have been more wrong. (Nor could BJ in his flattering profile of me.) This was not just some local park league. This was a division of the World Adult Kickball Association. It's got divisions all over the country, and a national tournament in Vegas every year. After just a month of being in the league, I can honestly say its one of the most amorphous forms of organized sports on the planet.
Its co-ed (I repeat: not a dudefest) and 21+, and every division has its own home bar/pub that the whole league goes to on game night. Any excuse to drink with 100+ people on a Monday is good to me. So right off the bat, this idea way looking up.
I say 'amorphous' because I have never seen a league that caters to both athletes and non-athletes so well. To be honest, I didn't think it could be done. It can.
First, you got the non-athletes. It takes a special kind of person to take time to play in a sports league when they aren't athletic. Based on everyone I have met, 'special' in this case means awesome as hell. Kickball allows for plenty of time in the dugout when your not at-bat or in the field, so you're really just relaxing with cool people. This relaxation process usually involves alcohol, if your team is doing it right. It's not the most physically demanding game, so not being the best athlete isn't as big a deal as it might be in mainstream sports. You get some fresh air, quality hang time, and an endless supply of drinking buddies. Win.
AND THEN there are the athletes. Pretty much, its any athletes chance to be LeBron James for one night a week, without ever having to really practice. I'm already on a solid campaign for league MVP. The non-athletes are perfectly fine with you taking it serious, as long as your not a d-bag about it. I've already shed more blood this season than I did in all four years of college soccer combined. Losing isn't the end of the world, but winning is admittedly awesome. As always.
There's no established kickball "style," so you can basically wear whatever makes you feel baller as hell. I'll be the first to admit that my shooting sleeve, spandex undershirt, football gloves and spandex sliding shorts aren't entirely necessary, but neither are the random things (bandannas, knee pads, short shorts) anyone else rocks. They do them, I do me, its all good.
I would expect a good amount of people who hear about organized kickball to think they're too cool for something like this. At the age of 18, I probably would have been too. My only regret now is not having known about this shit back in Boston. Supposedly California is like the WAKA hotbed, so I imagine I could have done some serious damage in the lesser-developed East Coast divisions. All I can say is, I'd suggest it to anyone. I'm the first person in line to rip on anything lame, so if this was beat I'd say so. Its the exact opposite.
Every week, I'll be doing a section called Klean It Up, where I feature one epic fuck up on this planet who needs to get a solid smack in the teeth for dragging society down. Some weeks they might be famous people, and some weeks they may be newspaper cases that made me die a bit inside. The shame will be consistent regardless.
The inaugural KIU honoree is "Monster Garage" star Jesse James. For anyone who didn't know, this guy builds custom motorcycles in Long Beach, California that are admittedly pretty badass. After a bunch of celebrities caught wind of his work and got their own, his profile took off. Discovery Channel picked up Monster Garage, and soon he was a known figure.
It's no secret that some good, wholesome girls like guys with an edge to them. (Why else would I get a lip ring.) Apparently, Sandra Bullock was no exception, and the two actually married in 2005.
Which brings us to now. This week, James got his Tiger Woods on and issued a public apology for infidelity. This is mind-blowing in itself. Any guy who can manage to cheat on Sandra Bullock should be sterilized. What makes it truly remarkable is who he cheated with: an Amish grunge stripper named Michelle McGee.
Really Jesse. This chick looks like Tim Burton's Coraline, assuming Coraline spent a night black-out drunk at the Lisa Frank Tattoo Studio. I would pay her NOT to take her clothes off. It shocks me that any guy could want a lapdance from Davey Havok's twin sister. Ugh.
I'll leave you on that note. Lapdances and AFI in the same thought process has left me needing a shower.
(Kill Hannah, on the other hand...)