Alive and kicking


“I can’t believe I just struck out in kickball!” exclaimed Cheryl Luce, ’09, as she watched her fourth foul land resolutely out of bounds. At the top of the fifth inning, Luce’s team trailed her opponents by several runs—but who’s counting?

Not most of the players. Instead, the two dozen kickballers gathered at Stagg Field were more intent on the pleasures of the game and less intent on winning. They clapped when the other team scored and high-fived as they reached bases. Low-level strategizing abounded among teammates—“Kick it slow and straight at the center.” “Try to get it down the third base line.” “Run no matter what!”

The informal summer league, which meets weekly, was organized in June by Amy Martin, Alejandra Mejia, Helen Gregg, and Luce, all ’09. They invited friends via Facebook and urged them to invite others. Mixed-gender teams are picked at the start of each game; intensity depends on who shows up and how much they remember about a game that most haven’t thought about in nearly a decade. Requiring only a set of bases and a rubber ball, the organizers realized that kickball could be played almost anywhere and enjoyed by even the least athletic college students. Mejia, who pitched for her team through several innings, claimed that she could not “run, kick, or catch.”

Around the seventh (and second-to-last) inning, after some haggling about how many innings had been played and the number of runs scored, the competition level intensified. Despite Mejia’s disavowal of athletic prowess, she made the play that decided the game. The bases were loaded, and as Bailey Scott, ’09, was speeding toward home plate to score a tying run, Mejia tagged her out. At the pitcher’s mound Mejia attempted to scoop up the ball with her foot, but instead kicked it away—and right at Scott, who looked surprised as it glanced her leg a few yards from the plate. “Does that even count?” asked Scott. It did. The game was over. The teams shook hands and headed off into the late-afternoon sun.

Rose Schapiro, '09

Photos: Cheryl Luce takes the plate.

July 15, 2008