Men and women kick for fun
By Kyle LoJacono
NORTHDALE — Almost everyone played kickball during their childhood, and many adults from Pasco and northern Hillsborough counties are united in reviving that game.
“I joined to meet new people and just for the fun,” Andrew Medlin said.
Medlin, 28, is a first baseman for Blue Moon of the Northdale Champs League, which is part of the Kickball Society of Tampa Bay. Medlin, of Land O’ Lakes, joined the league after playing more than two years with a different league in South Tampa.
“This league is much more into the social aspect of the game,” Medlin said. “The other league was much more competitive and people didn’t even try to get to know the other teams.”
The Blue Moon has players from Wesley Chapel, Land O’ Lakes, Odessa and north Hillsborough. Medlin explained that the society puts people from different places together, because those are the people less likely to meet on their own.
“Playing in the league has really helped me meet people from all over,” Medlin said.
The Champs represent another league in the society, which includes the Northdale Kickers and Temple Terrace Busch League. The combined leagues list 24 teams, 18 of which are co-ed.
Players must be at least 21 to participate. Medlin said players on the Blue Moon range from ages 24 to 33, but some teams have players older than 50.
The Champs play on Wednesday nights and the Kickers on Sunday evenings. The Busch League plays on Tuesday nights.
While the social aspect might be the first reason people join the society, childhood memories of kickball comes in at a close second.
“When I was a kid, kickball was so much fun,” said Rosemary Curtiss, co-founder of the society. “I like to say I was the queen of kickball because I was pretty good. So one day my husband (Wayne) and I were driving on the Howard Franklin (Bridge) and said ‘why don’t we start a kickball league?’ So we did.”
The Curtiss’, of Lutz, founded the society with Kermit Kauffman last April. The society had 600 members by the fall season.
“We wanted to make it fun for everyone, but we wanted people to meet new people too,” Curtiss said. “We have married couples and singles, and the players get a much better workout than they expect.”
The Lutz couple plays on a Kickers team called The Young and the Breastless.
“None of us signed up for kickball to show-off our tremendous athletic ability,” Medlin said. “I think of it as new softball, because people my age are starting to play kickball now.”
After games, Champs teams go to the Tampa Ale House on North Dale Mabry Highway to socialize. Each week, about 150 players crowd the bar with their kickball T-shirts having a laugh with their teammates and opponents.
Seasons are eight weeks long and end with a night of playoffs. Blue Moon made it to the championship game of the Champs League’s first season in the spring, but fell short of the title.
The Champs’ fall season ended when I’d Hit That won the title game on Nov. 21 over Swift Kick in the Grass. The Kicker’s crown went to Balls Deep, which defeated team Stanky Legz. Royal Pains beat team Drunk Again and Looking to Score for the Busch League crown.
“Even if people don’t want to play in the league we encourage them to come out and watch our games,” Curtiss said. “The games aren’t that long. We play five innings and have a time limit of 50 minutes, so the last games are over and we are off the field by about 9 (p.m.) during the week. We make sure we are done to keep the neighborhood quiet when people are sleeping.”
The winter season begins in January. To sign up or for more information, visit www.kickballsociety.com or call (813) 454-1178.
Kickball Society of Tampa Bay
Leagues: Northdale Kickers, Northdale Champs, Temple Terrace Busch League.
Next season: Starts second week of January.
When: Kickers plays Sunday evenings, Champs on Wednesday evenings, Busch League on Tuesday evenings.
For more information: call (813) 454-1178 or visit www.kickballsociety.com.