Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 136 - Kickball

I have young boys. Therefore we play a lot of kickball.

The girl plays when she's not swimming or doing homework or exhausted. She doesn't play often.

It's our official game for this spring. There was a close contender, wiffle ball, but the broken arm put that game to rest, at least until summer.

Our field is the front yard. Home is the confluence of the front sidewalk and driveway. First is "the bush", second a root from a tree long ago cut down, and third is the water meter cover. The tree by the third base line is foul.

The tricky part is the transition between infield and outfield, which is abrupt. It's a steep drop off to the sidewalk, and it's just daring you to chase a fly ball up it, or down it.

For most or our kickball games, it's just me as all time pitcher and the boys alternate between kicking and playing outfield. The entire outfield.

With these kinds of numbers in the outfield, and a small field, a regulation kickball is unworkable. It's too easy to kick far and leads to a series of home runs followed by a tantrum and a premature end to the game.

That's why we use a big ball. It's one of those balls you can get at Target for $2.99, stored in a giant wire cage, probably 18in. across.

Even the most powerful kick stays within a few feet of the edge of the front yard. And throw-outs to the head don't leave scars, physical, emotional, or developmental.

The big ball is the great equalizer. Nobody is that much batter than anyone else with the big ball. It's like putting an IndyCar driver in a tricycle race. Sure, he might take a better line through the turns, but he's still on a tricycle like everyone else.

We played kickball for hours this weekend, including a 6-on-5, girls vs. boys game last night. Nothing's more fun than multi-generational playground sports, especially when kids are getting the grown-ups out, and dads are shredding hamstrings.
This may or may not be my brother pitching last night.

The highlight for me, was when my 13yr old, the one with the broken arm still in a cast, caught a line drive from my sister. As she took the walk of shame from first back in shame to the other girls, she said "Well, so much for my strategy."

My sister, the boy's aunt, tried to exploit her nephew's broken arm for her own good. And we all accepted that, without contempt.

And even she underestimated that boy. She really should no better. A broken arm isn't going to make him vulnerable. It just makes him play harder.

Good running,

Numbers: 2.0 miles, slow. Achilles acting up a touch, so taking it easy.