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Meeting people can be hard, but kickball offers an outlet for adults over 21 to rekindle their childhood, make lasting friendships, and, with proven success, find love. For the past eight weeks over 300 registered adults on 17 teams have been lacing up their cleats, putting on their tube socks, and sporting their team jerseys with the aim of reliving their childhood glory days by kicking a red rubber ball with the region’s World Adult Kickball Association (WAKA) franchise.
Much akin to sister sport dodgeball, kickball is just the latest childhood pastime turned competitive adult sport to hit the scene. And like dodgeball, it's gaining in popularity as the game is adapted for competitive adult play, but the overarching goal is to be social and have fun. Yet kickball goes one ‘base’ further, turning scores of friendships into marriages, some even tie the knot with wedding cakes in the shape of that bouncing red ball.
“Our team started off as a bunch of single 20-somethings, and now the majority of the team’s married,” said Kristie Blessinger, who married her kickball hubby last July. “The games, the friends, and the good times have kept us coming back season after season.”
The World Adult Kickball Association started with a group of friends who thought it'd be fun to start a kickball league. Now, it's grown to leagues in 35 states around the country, with the Sacramento league (CA-Capital) fielding players from throughout the greater Sacramento area.
A strong sense of team camaraderie is often seen which has created a league-wide community feel, so even when it’s not a Kickball night, players from the WAKA league often plan social or business activities together and find themselves seeing familiar faces everywhere they go.
The WAKA leagues are social recreational leagues, in which the league night is sponsored by a local bar. At the bar players can gather to continue with the friendly competition and rivalries off the field over a discounted pitcher or beverage. This season, the Thursday Sacramento Kickball league, meets at the locally owned and operated venue BarWest. At the bar and on the field many players have gained much more than just a Thursday night activity and fun filled evening, some have met their husbands, wives, and even new job connections there.
“When I moved to Sacramento in 2009 I was looking to make new friends, get connected to my community, and to have fun,” said Barbara Ruggiero. “I never realized that I would find so much more than that on a kickball field. I’ve made lifelong friends, established job connections, and found my future husband.”
So if you are looking for fun and friendship join us on the kickball field. On Thursday, June 21st the kickball fields are being opened up to any and all interested adults 21 and over to join one of the largest adult kickball leagues in Northern California. The games are normally limited to registered teams of players, but on June 21st the games will be considered “friendly matches” to allow family and friends to join their favorite teams to play and check out what the league has to offer.
These open games will be held Thursday, June 21st at 6:15 PM, 7:00PM, and 7:45PM on fields at Bryte Park in West Sacramento (Located at Todhunter Ave/Riverbank Rd next to Riverbank Elementary).
“WAKA changed my life,” said Brian Ching, a 12 season veteran player. “I didn’t know anyone when I first moved here, now I’m engaged to one of my teammates.”
ABOUT WORLD ADULT KICKBALL ASSOCIATION (WAKA):
WAKA kickball is real fun for real people. The average WAKA Kickball player is a young professional (21+). Leagues are co-ed adults and play is like the elementary school game you remember. It's an easy game that is open to all skill levels. Even YOU can be a kickball superstar!
A WAKA kickball season generally consists of eight regular season games and a league championship tournament. The leagues are made up of 4-16 co-ed teams. (That means TONS of new people to meet and party with!) Qualifying leagues are eligible to compete in the annual Founders Cup World Kickball Championship held in Las Vegas.
The local franchise of WAKA is in the process of becoming a locally owned franchise by Matthew Heintz, a native of Sacramento who serves as the current regional Customer Service Representative. The league is also expanding by popular demand to provide the opportunity for those in surrounding suburbs to be able to play free of commuting, with a new league currently open for registration in Roseville, and leagues developing in Folsom and various nights in Sacramento for both kickball and dodgeball.
For more information on how you can play kickball or dodgeball visit WAKA at:
Contact the League Coordinator Matthew Heintz: firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional Contributions by: Brian Ching, Barbara Ruggiero, and Kristie Blessinger