Old playground game favorite among adults

By on October 17, 2002

Throw down those bats and gloves. Lose the football. Make way for the newest game that is causing leagues to sprout up all over the country: kickball.
It’s no longer just a kid’s game. Thousands of people in their 20’s and 30’s are taking part in kickball leagues that stretch from Washington, D.C., to Seattle and Baltimore to San Francisco. Some of these leagues have dozens of teams, and the number of leagues is on the rise.
Jimmy Walicek, an IT consultant from Washington, D.C., is the chief operating officer of the World Adult Kickball Association. In an ABC News report, he said that many people in the leagues experience a sense of nostalgia when they play the game.
“When they kick the ball for the first time since fifth grade, they get this magical smile on their face where they remember the good old days,” he said.
One reason for the popularity of the game, according to Joe Szatmary of Milwaukee, is that it is easy to play. He said that there are a lot of teams with players who have no athletic ability at all, but who have a great time playing. He also said the game is not as intimidating as some other sports games.
The popularity of the game has caused Keith Flournoy, recreation coordinator in Oak Park, Mich., north of Detroit, to turn away hundreds of late applicants for the municipal adult kickball league.
“I’m amazed every time I mention it to somebody,” Flournoy said. “They say, ‘Man, kickball? I haven’t played that since I was a kid.’ If I talk to 100 people, 99 give the same response.”


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