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.