by Ayla Yersel
It’s a Wednesday night at Oakledge Park in August, just after 6 pm, and the first kickball game of the night just started.
Lime green t-shirted players cluster in groups on the edge of the field to cheer on their teammates. The sound of laughter and conversation fills the air, punctuated by the regular thud of kickballs meeting sneakered feet. The fall league just started, so things are a bit more relaxed-- fewer teams and a more casual atmosphere than the summer league.
“It’s pretty laidback,” says Luke Heath, 27. He’s been playing on the Sunshine VT league for about two years now, ever since a few friends convinced him to play. “We stack the teams so there are eighteen to twenty people on a team. You only need twelve to play, so if five or six don’t show up that’s okay.”
Sunshine VT is only one of hundreds of leagues in WAKA Kickball & Social Sports, an organization created in 1998 to provide a way for young professionals to socialize outside the office. WAKA’s members include “tens of thousands of kickballers” mostly between 21 and 35 years old, according to the WAKA website.
“Really good people, all getting together, having fun,” said Heath. “It’s a great thing to do on kind of like an off weeknight, you know, on a Monday.”
Sunshine VT is open to players of all skill levels, and there are also varying degrees of competitiveness within the league. Some leagues, like the one on which Travis Clairmont plays, are a bit more competitive. His team has won two years in a row, each year earning a trip to Las Vegas to play in the Founders Cup and Fun Games.
“[Our team] went to Vegas the last two years, so we want to win,” Clairmont said. “Not all the teams are like that, so it’s a little bit different, depending. So I kind of like that competitive spirit as well.”
In the end, however, “It’s something fun for a Monday,” says Clairmont. “It’s a fun way to have people, that you’re friends with, to meet up with, and the kickball itself is competitive.”
Want to sign up or learn more? Go to https://www.kickball.com/.