When Books & Bars met Uptown Kickball

Last year a small bunch of friends from Books & Bars played kickball through Cities Sports Connection. When the season ended we wanted to keep playing so we joined an open group called Uptown Kickball. It was like mixing peanut butter and chocolate. These two groups of friends became pretty tight quickly over beers, books, balls, and more. Over this past year we’ve become much closer and gelled into a larger single group with many Uptown Kickballers joining Books & Bars.

Uptown Kickball gathers to play on Wednesday nights at Painter Park. Two captains pick teams and we choose related team names. We kick till dark, imbibe a bit, tons of fun. Usually go out afterwards to keep the summer nights alive.

When you get to a certain age you don’t usually make as many new friends as you did when you were in college, single or especially before you had kids. I’ve been fortunate enough through Books & Bars and Uptown Kickball to buck the trend. Every month new people try our book club and almost every week it seems there’re different people playing kickball with us. The thing I miss most about living in Los Angeles was my theater company, Improv Olympic, now known as IO West. (Picky Olympic Committee). I’ve always loved being on a team, part of a group, an ensemble comedy. It wasn’t just about performing comedy, but a friendly social group who supported each other creatively. I miss those people, those friendships, from L.A. Books & Bars and Uptown Kickball have helped fill that void for me. They’re an incredibly dynamic and varied pastiche of artists, musicians, writers, designers, advertisers, handymen, attorneys, architects and more who have coalesced into a cohesive collective. Some of us have started new ventures like Uptown Art Market and Critickle. Some of the women have a crafting night and others have movie or game nights. There’s even Sunday brunch and a few babysitters for Pablo and Doodles, too. And we never forget a birthday.

Last night we gathered for Sarah’s 24.5 birthday (we don’t usually celebrate the half ones, we’re not in a commune) or Sarahpalooza, our first Uptown Kickball scrimmage of the season. Unfortunately my camera got waterlogged (Pablo and Doodles snuck more ice in the cooler.) and didn’t capture the merriment. Next time: videos.

The Cupcakes (as we dubbed ourselves) put the F U in fun, but got a little complacent after a huge early lead. The Thursday scrimmage for Sarahpalooza was a good warm up, but we let some strangers called Blogosphere (not that, but I never caught the real name) in France beat us 18-12. A ball kicked by Stensby at first was so foul it almost hit a house. Come on. Anyway, it’s all about fun, right? (F U France.) At least I got to kick a home run, but of course, my kids weren’t watching. They were bored and went to play at the park.

So, expect to have updates on Uptown Kickball along with Books & Bars. A lot has happened in the last year for all of us. A member died, we’ve had romances begin and end, started grad school, lost and gained jobs, etc. It’s been a long day in the field for us all, as The Beautiful South sang. I’ve had people tell me that this group has changed and even saved their lives. And If you’re lucky enough to be part of us, drop a comment on what it’s meant to you. If you’re interested in meeting more people, stick around and socialize after Books & Bars some second Tuesday.

I’d especially like to thank leaders like Roxie, Jess, Eli, Jennie, Jake, Jim, Abby, Sarah, Christian, Jesse, Patrick, The Hater, Text, Morgan, Emilys F&S, Kate, Carissa, Noah, Beth, Delaney, Carter, Hayley (the MPLS Doyle) Alex, Mike, Megan, Dan and HB for being glue that helps bind. Mostly I have to thank “Mama”, my lovely wife, for allowing this work-at-home dad such enriching social outlets.



Filed under Adults (kid-free), Grown-ups, play

9 responses to “When Books & Bars met Uptown Kickball

  1. Dan

    Having only moved home a year ago after an absence attaining a degree in Arizona and only really having 3 or 4 friends with whom I was still tight after 6 years, I was looking for new social digs. Through Jess’s facebook, I was brought to B&B and made friends with some characters there. I didn’t play on the original kickball team, but tried to attend some games. Once we started having open games with Uptown Kickball, I brought this leg out of hiding and in the meantime made more friends. Now my social calendar (and facebook event page) is rarely without something in which I am excited to participate. Also, I’ve made some incredibly close friends that have reached that upper level that we used to call “one of my many best friends” in kindergarten. I’m also thankful with how well people have forged their own friendships with two of the people closest to me. Not simply tolerating, but full-on embracing.

    We don’t redundency in this group so it’s an ever-changing dynamic based on who’s there. Like a game of Bonkers, it’s never the same thing twice, and I love that.

  2. Thanks, Dan. You’re like KDG. to me. Oh and I have revised this yet, again.
    It should be noted I have a wonderful large group of older friends from college that live here or elsewhere (Hi Carm, anyone else reading? I doubt it, yet). But you get busy with kids and a house or move to the suburbs and just don’t get together as much. I wish we did, hope we will find more time this summer, but really, summer is the busiest non-holiday time here. I don’t know. Hey, if you’re an old friend like Alex, and reading this, let me know. Let’s get the group more active. Thanks.

  3. Beth

    Awwww… nothing like a healthy reminder of how lucky I am. I’ll testify that staying after the discussion at Books & Bars can change your life. My first year and a half living here, I would sometimes hang out with my brother and sister-in-law’s social circle and then go home feeling wistful. They had formed such a supportive community out of their friendships, and I hadn’t found that for myself yet. But here it is, and it just keeps growing and changing. What can I say? I’m awfully glad Jess and Roxie spotted that B&B ad in The Onion almost two years ago.

  4. We are thankful for you too, Jefe! And I rarely use exclamation points. Don’t know what I’d do without you and the B&B/UK gang.

    Also, thanks for the Uptown Market shout-out and the continual support for my art.


  5. I’m still interested in trying to determine who made the connection between Books and Bars and Uptown Kickball?

    There was some sort of previous relationship between Jim and Roxie, but the first time I heard about it was from Rachel through Bryce. I’m fairly certain that I never went to Painter until other Books and Bars people went.

    It’s a tangled web we weave.

    I enjoy how I could be out at any show, restaurant, or just walk down the street and randomly run into people I know. It’s a fun little community we’ve all built.

    • The way I know it is that Rox and I were looking for ways to extend our kickball season for Books & Bars.
      She found the UK Facebook page and then the two of us and maybe Morgan and Carissa? Who went the first time to scope it out? Carissa thinks maybe she was the second time, so it was either the 3 or 4 of us. Anyway we came back with many more soon and it just worked. Destiny.
      But, just confirmed with Rox that she did hear of the UK Facebook page from Rachel G. who probably heard from Bryce. So…it’s like time travel, can we change it? It was going to happen. Glad it did.
      Next up the roast, so remember the love now.

  6. Hayley

    Such a good description of the UK/B&B meld! Thanks so much for being so outgoing and helping me become more of the B&B group. I am so happy that I joined Books and Bars which led me to meet so many great people. I finally found people I completely relate to!

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