Having a ball: Adult kickball league growing in Chattanooga

Having a ball: Adult kickball league growing in Chattanooga

July 3rd, 2014 by Kelley Smiddie in Sportlocal

I'd Kick That kickball team's Kelly Roach kicks the ball during a match against Ballsagna on Tuesday at Rivermont Park. The local co-ed league has become popular with young adults in Chattanooga.

Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free Press.

Kickball team Ballsagna celebrates after defeating team I'd Kick That Tuesday at Rivermont Park.

Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free Press.

First baseman Zack Woods catches the ball for an out ahead of Ballsagna runner Caitlin Whitfield on Tuesday at Rivermont Park.

Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free Press.

Team Slim Kickens shortstop Matt Brock loses a wild throw as team Ballsagna runner Caitlin Whitfield reaches 2nd during their kickball match Tuesday at Rivermont Park in Hixson.

Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free Press.

KICKBALL LEAGUE

The Chattanooga Sports Leagues' co-ed kickball league is taking signups for its summer league now. Games are on Thursdays starting July 10 and will conclude with championships Sept. 4. Also this summer, the CSL is offering a Sunday co-ed adult kickball league for the first time. The season will run from July 13 through Sept. 14. Anyone interested in entering a team or inquiring about joining a team should contact CSL director Tommy Travers by July 7. Call or text 423-521-2751 or email sports@playcsl.com

Whether you get a kick out of winning, a kick out of socializing, or just a kick out of kicking something, adult kickball may be the thing for you.

Co-ed adult kickball is currently one of eight sports being offered by an organization called the Chattanooga Sports Leagues. And it's rapidly becoming one of its most popular.

Twenty-two teams competed in the spring season, which concluded Tuesday at the Rivermont ballfields complex. Ballsagna needed extra innings but capped a 10-0 season by winning the A-division title.

"I've got the battle wounds to prove it," Ballsagna first baseman Asa Shirley said.

Because of volume of teams this season, the playoffs were split into A and B divisions. CSL director Tommy Travers said teams are grouped together through the first couple of weeks of the seven-game regular season, then the rest of the schedule is made based on evaluations of the teams. Single-elimination playoffs -- this past season with 11 teams in A and 11 in B -- start afterward.

"We want to try to get the more competitive teams matched against each other and the same with the more social teams," Travers said. "In theory, then all the games should be competitive. It's a lot more work to do it that way, but I think it's worth it."

Travers said most squads tend to have 12 to 15 players but 10 is the required number of players on the field for each team. A minimum of four players must be women.

Shirley said this was Ballsagna's first championship in its three-season history, which had included undefeated regular seasons before.

"I was worried we were going to start to remind people of the Buffalo Bills in the 1990s," he said.

Ballsagna personifies the type of team that's totally in it to win it.

"It can get too serious sometimes," Shirley said. "I don't know why. It's kickball. We've got some athletic people. We've got some competitive people. Because we win we can upset a lot of teams. They want to see us lose. I'm a competitive person. I love it."

Jeremy Johnston is the captain of 3 Kix Mafia, which won the B-division title Tuesday. This marked Johnston's fourth season of kickball overall and third with his current team.

Johnston is from Nashville, and he attended law school at the University of Tennessee. He said Nashville and Knoxville had adult recreation kickball leagues and after moving to Chattanooga thought it should get in on the project. Johnston then met Travers not long after he got the league started.

Johnston's 3 Kix Mafia team may be a little less dedicated than the Ballsagna team, but the league has a place for both. Johnston said for him the most important thing to consider is that meeting once a week to play kickball has been a great way for young professionals primarily in the 24-to-30-year-old range to gather and hang out while also doing something active.

"They have soccer for those who are really athletic," Johnston said of the CSL. "Some from my team could probably play that. I don't think I could. Kickball is a really great social release. And you feel like your at least doing something athletic."

Contact Kelley Smiddie at ksmiddie@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6653. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/KelleySmiddie.