Montalto has been using a grassroots e-mail campaign coupled with word of mouth publicity to hype the league and is excited by the positive response he’s received so far. “Everyone is on the same level, so it’s a good opportunity for people who don’t want hard-core competition, but still want to compete,” he said. Montalto has already talked to representatives from the city of Richmond and Henrico County about securing field space.
WAKA began in 1998 in Washington, D.C., when four twenty-something friends said “Why not?” It started with just 150 players, but adult kickball has blown up into a coast-to-coast phenomenon, now boasting more than 10,000 players. “It’s actually catching on very quickly,” said Aaron Zitron, one of WAKA’s four paid employees. Zitron said they hope to soon spread overseas and there’s interest brewing in India and Australia. The game is played just as you remember it back at the playground, and the rules are similar to baseball, except for a few obvious differences.
“We’re a mix between an athletic and social organization,” Zitron said. While most athletic leagues have one sponsor for each team, WAKA finds one business to sponsor an entire league — usually a bar or restaurant — so that all players can go hang out and relax together afterward. The annual costs are about $60 to $70 per player, and these include equipment, T-shirts and game fees.
WAKA has a theme song, “Everybody Loves Kickball,” and quirky team names abound, including My Left Foot, Jiminy Kickit and Last Picked. “I think it’s a sport that would bring out the kind of people in town I want to meet — fun, free spirits,” Montalto said.
Potential Richmond kickballers should go to www.worldkickball.com and select “VA Capital” from the Quick List on the right.— Mike Ward
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