Thursday, May 25, 2006

So Long, Indy

Over the past several years of playing kickball in DC, I think it's safe to say I've gathered enough experience to be in a position to make a few judgments about the quality of different teams and leagues I've played in (my closet full of old team shirts has enough color to look like one of those Ralph Lauren polo shirt displays in a department store). Some years have been good, others not so good, but this year stands out as the one that has finally caused me to say this the last time I play in the DC Independence Division.

I started out in that division simply because, way back in the day, a friend of mine was the division president, and was able to get our team registered even though we had been late to sign up. That first spring season was fun, only because I had nothing else to compare it to, but after playing in other leagues, going to other bars, and meeting other people, I've come to realize just how bad the Indy Division really is.

First, the fields. It was bad enough last year when we were forced off the Monument area fields because of unspecified construction that was beginning to rival Boston's Big Dig in efficiency, but when we returned to play on it this year, we found ourselves kicked off after only 2 games because we didn't have a permit. Are you kidding me? How long have we been playing kickball there, not mention alongside all of the soccer, flag football, and ultimate frisbee games that are blatantly going on without permits? The Indy Board, usually the ones who should be handling this sort of thing, had no response other than to have us skip a game and then move to another field the next week, where we can hopefully avoid the cops and squat the fields early enough to actually play.

Second, the bar. The Exchange is great in that they allow you sit outside and play flip cup until you pass out, but the set up is awful. Sitting at our long tables with just our team, it's like a high school cafeteria all over again, where nobody has the cajones (or maybe even the desire) to go up and talk to anyone on another team. I lamented this point to a couple of people on my team this week, and one of my friends had only this to say: "Well, at least we can mingle with the other teams at the mid-season party." Great. One night of meeting other people in the league and 8 weeks of being a little clique. Any division that goes to a place like Adams Mill, Tom Tom, or really any other bar other than the Exchange doesn't have this problem. On my DC Kickball team, we meet, mingle, and hang out with people on other teams the entire night, and it's way more enjoyable.

Finally, there just doesn't appear to be any life to Indy anymore. Maybe it's because I no longer know as many people in the league as I once did, but it's hard to feel a sense of spirit that I know exists in other leagues. Just take a look at the bulletin boards from other divisions on the WAKA discussion website, and you'll see what I mean. People actually talking about the games, parties, etc. The DC Dupont Division alone has over 300 posts this season! How many people in the Indy Division have anything to say? How about none? People just seem to be going through the motions, playing the game and then briefly stopping by the Exchange before going home early.

I could just be bitter about the fact that my team is still winless through the first 5 weeks, but honestly, I don't even really care about how we play on the field (my other team hasn't lost a game in the first 5 weeks, so I have plenty of ways to get the competitive juices flowing). My team itself is full of great people. I just want to feel like there's actually a reason to haul my ass all the way down to the Mall every Tuesday night. As I watch all of the players in other leagues walking to and from the other games actually looking as if they're having a good time, I realize that it's time to move on after this season. Anybody have a team with some open spots?


At 12:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I play in WAKA DCK and NAKID and have found NAKID to be the most social, they still have some spots left too and all the parties are actually free, plus they plan weekly happy hours and lots of other stuff. Def social. If you fo to the site,, you can write to them and join up.

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