May 28, 2003

Kickball Counterculture

In a town where counterculture is the popular culture, even the alternative happenings are subverted by a younger, hipper, more 'real' manifestation of the same event.

Between anarchist messengers, Zoobombers, Chunkers and bike jousters, pubcrawlers, and Midnight Mystery Riders, there is little room on the streets for unaffiliated cyclists. First Thursday art openings have been countered by Last Thursdays on the Eastside. And now it seems that the Portland branch of WAKA(world adult kickball association) has its own counterpart coming to fruition in the parks of Northeast Portland.

Maybe it's a class thing. Perhaps for the working singles aged 25-35, paying the $60 WAKA membership to play kickball and drink microbrews is not a major expense, and maybe a significant investment into their dating lives. But for the minimum wagers and the dumpster divers, it's $60 too much. They'd much rather pool pocket change for PBR and pick teams playground style than submit to the schedules and rules of an organized body (I should note that drinking is at the heart of most Portland subcultures, be they DIY crafters, bikers, or kickballers. The essential difference is in the beer-12pks. and 40's of PBR and OE versus pint glasses and pitchers of porters and amber ales).

The Memorial Day theme was Jug Band Kickball, tho' most opted for the jugs only( a few hillbilly accessories were spotted). I dropped the first pop-fly kicked my way, which put one runner on base for the succeeding grand slam. My defensive game picked up, not letting a single ball hit the ground after that. I even made the play of the game, running backwards into another outfielder to catch a pop fly, both of us fumbling the ball, then diving to recover it to make the out.

The game wore on until dark, ending with a three run comeback in the final inning, a line-up for high fives(remember those? where you'd say 'good game' to everybody and slap hands, except to your friends or enemies who might get a 'shithead' mumbled their way or a secret handshake), and a everybody stumbling onto their bikes with backpacks full of empty beer cans.

Kickball for the People, baby.

Posted by DV at May 28, 2003 03:24 PM

I am pleased to announce that semi-organized kickball will also be coming to Berkeley, taking place on the old Ultimate Frisbee practice field, now ruined by the new Music Library construction. It should involve lots of cheap beer, which in retrospect would have made elementary school a lot better as well.

Posted by: sean at May 29, 2003 09:48 AM

Set a time and date, I'll be there.

Posted by: cody at May 29, 2003 04:46 PM

Nyar? Kickball?
(one ear perks up)
(other ear perks up)
Sounds good. I am in.

p.s. My love and belated happy birthday wishes to D&K Vigil.

Now whining: Daaaa-aave, when are you going to come back to P-Hill so we can go to flat-top hill and do nothing? Daaaaaaave!

Posted by: kati at May 29, 2003 07:04 PM

Hey, I'm the President of that said WAKA league, I am also one of the working singles, (not 25-35 might I add) and I founded this Portland club. I came around last summer and started a league but it was hard to get people to commit and play every week without a format of teams, rules and dues.

More power to you if you can find free field space, people to peddle in regularly, drink PBR and have a great pick up game of Kickball. But don't diss the ones who want it to be official, with t-shirts, ref's and season end trophies.

Many a PBR 40 is consumed on Thursday night's WAKA sponsored game as well as on same field, a night earlier at the pickup games. A time slot specifically set up for those out of work Portlanders who want to enjoy the same game without the monetary commitment.

Feel free to contact me for more info on kickball, how to register for next season, or directions and game times for pick up.

Colleen Finn, President
Portland Division
World Adult Kickball Association

Posted by: colleen at June 19, 2003 11:00 AM

I apologize if I misrepresented the beer choice, age, marital status, employment status, religion, or sexual preference of any kickballer in the Portland Metro Area.

Regardless of any difference between the groups, real or imagined, I still maintain that it's absurd that this town should have a counterculture to the subculture that is adult kickball.

But that's why I like it here.

Posted by: DV at June 19, 2003 01:46 PM