Amongst a sea of brightly colored t-shirts, I crowd surf my way to the bar. Approximately thirty minutes later, I reach my destination and order a frosty cold one from the bartender. “What the heck is going on here? It’s a weeknight!” Typically, one doesn’t think that a Tuesday would draw such a large crowd to our local watering holes. However, here in Fort Lauderdale the summer season of the World Adult Kickball Association (WAKA) has begun.
Of the multitude of enthusiastic kickballers I chatted with that night, there was one cute, 30-something year old woman that stood out; sporting pigtails and wearing a lime green t-shirt with sport shorts and multicolored knee socks, she confronts me and says “I’m Bekah!” She offers a handshake as she bounces up and down to the beats of the music playing. “So you are one of these kickball people?” I inquire. Bekah cheerfully explains that she holds the prestigious title of President to the Beach Division of the kickball community. According to Ms. President, kickball is her saving grace during a grueling work week. “Sometimes, knowing that I will play kickball later is what gets me through my day” she says with a charming smile.
“Best Parties, Best Game, Best Friends” is WAKA’s slogan. “Did you come up with that catchphrase yourself?” I asked Bekah. “Nah,” she says with a laugh. She clarified that she certainly agrees with the kickball motto, however. Bekah explains that “kickball is a very social group – therefore it is severely frowned upon if you do not go to the bar after the game.” In fact, your team can lose points that get calculated at the end of each season to determine standings if you choose not to attend the after party. Wow, that’s quite a strategy to motivate people to socialize and meet others. Oh, and by the way, Bekah is marrying the man of her dreams next month- someone she met through kickball.
Besides the benefits of exercise, finding love, and reducing your overall stress level; the sport of kickball seems to be giving our local bars some significant business. Each week after the games, kickballers come out in droves to the designated bar for the season. Assuming an average drink price of $4, 75-100 kickballers a night, 2 drinks each, and an 11 week season, each drinking establishment could make approximately $7,000. However, from what I witnessed last Tuesday, there ain’t anybody ordering only two drinks. I estimate that the profits are more like 20K per bar, per season. What would otherwise be an empty bar on a weekday evening is actually a thriving night scene. WAKA may be the big ol’ stimulus package that our local restaurant and bar industry has been waiting for. Way to support our city guys! Next week I might try to find a bright colored t-shirt from the back of my closet so I can join these guys and become friends with this Bekah chick.
For more information on how to add this fun, stress reducing hobby to your repertoire (and to keep your inner child happy), go to www.kickball.com