Balls Out

Kaw Valley Kickball returns with punning vengeance

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Jacki Becker and Deron Belt of the Kaw Valley Kickball League.

You just haven't lived until you've kicked the bejesus out of an 8-and-a-half-inch rubber ball, and you're virtually dead inside if you haven't done it while chugging beer amidst a potentially fatal heat advisory.

With these truths self evident, the Kaw Valley Kickball League is here to help you get in touch with your inner balls. This venerable Lawrence institution is embarking on its 8th year of free-balling (for a registration fee) and you'd be nuts not to thrust your hand into this sack! That taint no junk, kids!

*Whew*

Now that we got that out of our system, we can get on with a serious discussion about the merits of the Kaw Valley Kickball League (KVKL). Deron Belt, KVKL administrator, and Jacki Becker, KVKL warrioress, joined us for high-minded repartee regarding short shorts and dorks.

Podcast episode

Punditocracy

Balls Out

Jacki Becker and Deron Belt preview the upcoming season of Kaw Valley Kickball League. Prepare for short shorts and awful gonad jokes.

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No-fi highlights from the podcast

lawrence.com: Kickball—why?

Jacki: It's a cycle of violence. I keep coming back. I started many years ago on 7th Heaven's team—we weren't very good. Like most teams who just start out, we sucked, but next thing you know you want to be a jock. I love it.

What's the psychological compulsion? Athletic competition? Guys in short shorts?

Deron: It's gotta be the short shorts.

Jacki: There's nothing better than a testicle popping out while a guy is running, let me tell you. No, there's such camaraderie around it. It's summertime when most of the students aren't around, it's kind of townie, it's locally grown, and all different age groups can participate. It's a fun sport to play with some amazing people. Also, I'm a very competitive person and was a swimmer when I was at KU. I thought I had repressed my competitive nature, but kickball brought it back out in me.

Deron: It's an extension of our community—it's how we build neighborhoods without houses. It's the overall beauty of friendship through playing sports. And Jacki Becker is indeed very competitive.

Jacki: People assume we're just music dorks on my team, the Sacred Sword, but we're highly competitive and sometimes angry kickball players. To the death!

How to join

For information on forming a Kaw Valley Kickball team go to kawvalleykickball.com or email Deron at gradually [at] hotmail [dot] com.

Dorks are highly competitive people, be it at World of Warcraft or LARPing. Does kickball fulfill similar fantasies of warring tribal fiefdoms?

Deron: Yes, like Mongol hordes. Every team develops its own culture, like Miss Fortune's Pirates and the Dead Cats last year, but that dynamic Babylonian culture is becoming fewer and further between. The Pirates used to do a dance of intimidation, which was amazing. People will unearth records of it in 100 years and still be fascinated by it.

How did KVKL blossom into the post-pubescent wonder it is today?

Deron: It began as 8 downtown-oriented teams who played guerilla kickball. As the popularity grew, keeping it small became more difficult so it had to become even more organized. We now have 28 teams with 4 or 5 knocking on the door. The thing that drives people to play is the extension of youth. People want to play a kid's game at an adult level. We can also do productive things like raise money for Healthcare Access, which is a big deal for us.

Jacki: It's just crazy and fun. Sacred Sword, a couple of years ago, definitely went over the top while playing in the final game of the season against the Pirates. We had a metal band playing out at Hobb's Field, my brother dressed up like a dragon and ran around the field, we had explosions and fireworks, we had water balloons—and we still lost to the Pirates. It was still fun and over the top. We passed out hors d’ourves and beer coozies. It's summer theater.

Is there a conflict this year about expanding the league? Is it the populist/inclusive approach vs. the tight-night/incestuous approach?

Deron: There's a constant phrase we use called "the spirit of the league." It's pretty nebulous and has changed as we evolved. Some people have this memory of when the league was small and everyone knew each other and oh-golly-gee it was fantastic. The problem is that this approach isn't inclusive. In terms of changes this year, we hope to let the team captains decide what direction to push us in.

Jacki: I think it's sort of like the island on "Lost"—it needs to change. Ultimately I think we need to keep the local flavor, but there should also be an olive branch to people who want to be involved. Bottom line, it's how many fields we have and what the city allows us to use.

Will you be implementing random drug testing this year?

Deron: No. That would be fruitless… It should be said, however, that KVKL doesn't openly support people drinking and abusing alcohol when they play. What they do on their own time is their own business, though.

Comments

that_will_do_pig 12 years, 6 months ago

Alas, a community sport not just for the jocks... take it from one Professional Spectator--this is just as much fun to participate in from the stands every Sunday as it is to play. Drunk picnics, anyone? Grills? Blankets? I can't wait...

Nice article, Gavon.

gavon 12 years, 6 months ago

Jenny is quite right, and the Sunday night games at Hobb's Field are a particular blast. On any given evening you'll find banjos, pizza rolls and live goats. Don't forget to bring hot pants and Old Style!

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