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?