Kickin' it old school at Founders Cup
The past few years have seen quite a resurgence of schoolyard and basement games into the realm of pop culture.
But while Hollywood has played 2004's ``Dodgeball'' and this weekend's release of the Ping Pong epic ``Balls of Fury'' for laughs, the Founders Cup World Kickball Championships are not totally a joking matter. However, the World Adult Kickball Association does not intend for all of the competition to be taken too seriously either.
Calling itself ``the largest social-athletic kickball association in the world,'' WAKA is trying to build interest in the playground game through bringing a co-ed, intramural spirit to mostly young professionals looking for a new outlet for activity and interaction.
``Kickball is sort of the everyman's sport,'' said Josh Bob, a Waltham resident who is WAKA's Northeast Regional Manager. ``Regardless of your ability, you can have fun with it and the Founders Cup is the pinnacle of that.''
The Founders Cup is coming to the Boston area this weekend for the 10th annual championships to be held at Cambridge's Danehy Park on Saturday. Among the teams involved in the all-day event will be The Run, which plays in the Somerville league but is made up of mostly players who work or live in Waltham.
``The purpose of the tournament itself is to provide an added value to all of our players who now have the opportunity to try their hand against the best players in the country,'' Bob said. ``The reason we are here in Boston is to do what we did in Miami and San Diego this year, and show that kickball is a great, enjoyable sport that anyone can play.''
Bob is not just a kickball executive - now that's an unusual job description - but he's also a client. The Brandeis University graduate is a member of the four-team Waltham league that has played at Lowell Playground throughout the summer. While Bob's team did not qualify for the championships - it won its first game last week - he is hopeful for better times ahead.
If that sounds a little tongue-and-cheek, that's pretty much the point.
``The goal of our leagues is for players to get together, have fun, meet new people and kick some big red balls,'' Bob declared, ``then go out and party together after the games.
``You've got a big cross section of players,'' he continued. ``You've got people who want to go out there and kick butt, and you've got people who just want to hang out with friends a couple of times a week, and the kickball almost becomes incidental.''
Bob said the Waltham-based league is a perfect example of that with a mixture of men and women who run the gamut from the marginally athletic, to former Division I athletes.
``It's a pretty broad range of talent,'' he conceded.
Though Bob said kickball is now actually considered an official sport for the state games of Florida and New Mexico, WAKA has no illusions about those ``big red balls'' being booted around Chicago if it is chosen as the site of the 2016 Summer Games.
``The ultimate goal is not to turn WAKA into a professional league,'' he allowed. ``We are not the Major League Baseball of kickball, nor would we want to be because that would be exclusionary.
``That would say that if you are not good enough then you are not invited to play,'' he concluded. ``Everyone is welcome here.''