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Kickball Champion

I played competative kickball for 11 years growing up. From age 7 to 18, I was part of the Little Miss Kickball League in the Tip-O-Tex park of Texas. Trust me, it’s a BIG thing in Texas – hundreds of girls in several cities across the state play in these leagues https://www.hometeamsonline.com/teams/?u=LMKII&s=htosports.

I didn’t just play. I crushed it. For maybe 8 out of the 11 years, I made the All-Star team that competed at the state level. Every fourth of July was spent in some other Texas town at a tournament. While my team never won the top three spots, we were pretty consistently in the top 5. I gained nicknames like “Speedy Gonzalez” and “The Incredible Hulk” after I chased one of my opponents down to get her out. I jumped over kickballs to avoid the out and even landed on the umpire once. I was encouraged to be A-G-G-R-E-S-S-I-V-E, so I was. As a team, we would cheer for one another and chant the whole game. It was a lot of fun.

When I graduated from high school though, there were no scouts recruiting me to play for their university, no major scholarships available to me beacuse I could play a mean first base in kickball. We had the best pitcher in the city on our team at one point and I don’t think she was approached by any schools either. In fact, I had gotten so busy my senior year of high school that I only played half the season, making me ineligible to even receive the only scholarship that would have been available to me.

I think about my time spent in the league often. Shouldn’t I have spent my time playing soccer (soccer wasn’t available to girls before middle school in my town) or softball (also not available)? What am I supposed to do with all my kickball skills now?

Several years later, I moved to Tucson and played in the Adult Kickball League. I was named MVP one season, winning $15 off the next season’s registration. “This is what those 11 years were for,” I joked, “to save me $15.”

The truth is though, I got to travel all over Texas, learned how to work in a team, got in some good excersise, had great coaches, was in a safe environment, and had a lot of fun. Not to mention all the social skills that I had to learn (sometimes the hard way). I even have great memories of my late grandfather coming to watch me play.

I played because I loved it.

I am curious, Villagers. What did you love to do? What did you spend 11 years of your life doing?

5 Comments

  1. I was on a bowling league from 8-18 also didn’t join my senior year. I think all it gained me is a permanent hip rotation problem. Lol! I had so much fun, however and even though I wasn’t good enough for a scholarship (my sister was!), I loved the challenge and the time with my dad as he coached me and stoked my competitive spirit!

    Reply
    • That’s awesome, Danielle! I had no idea you were a competative bowler, but now it’s clicking that you wanted to go bowling for your birthday. I’m sorry about the hip though. I understand because throwing the kickball requires a twist of your back so I was injured for a bit, too!

      Reply
  2. Thanks for sharing this piece of your childhood, Jessica! It’s fun imagining you out there on the kickball field (as a kid or an adult)! My ’11 years’ was spent playing piano. I took lessons from first grade through high school in a classical setting and learned all sorts of things from the experience, including performance etiquette, music history, theory, and the discipline of daily practice. I have fun memories of playing duets on grand pianos at Centennial Hall (there were 20 kids on 10 pianos, and we did all the practices leading up to the performance in the back room of a piano shop in town) and of Eric showing up for my senior recital at the Temple of Music and Art. I don’t play piano a whole lot now, but if I’m trying to figure something out on guitar I still picture a piano keyboard in my head.

    Reply
    • Thank you for sharing! It’s great to see how you have kept up your love for playing music and like you said, it’s fun to imagine you sitting at your piano, full of self-discipline, practicing away.

      Reply
  3. I could swim the length of the pool at 4 years old and since then I was on the swim team for 14 years. I competed long course, short course, in high school, and in summer country club leagues “just for fun”. There were days that I spent 12 hours at a pool, with swimming for 4 hours and coaching, and life guarding the other 8. I taught swim lessons through high school including teaching children with special needs, and volunteered with the self contained classroom swim program during school. I learned so much, team work, dedication, resilience, protection from other activities, but it also led me to my career. Water unifies us, it heals us and sets us free.

    Reply

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