The local sports league encourages good-natured competition and loads of fun.
The noble team sport: in a land of multitudes, the symbiosis of the playing field and its urban setting, the stands where generations come together, the romanticization of offense versus defense, a distillation of courage, self-sacrifice, and excellence that defines our notion of “champion.”
Whereas many populations engage in this tradition only as observers, the citizens of Fort Worth have come together to write their own legend: not as fans cheering on remote athletes, but as participants themselves. New York has its Yankees, and Los Angeles its Lakers; Fort Worth has the men and women of FTW Kickball.
The nearly 450 people who played in the most recent season enjoyed fellowship and fitness on one of two weekly league nights. The players organized into 30-some-odd teams that included groups of co-workers, friends, and even strangers who came together for a shared purpose: to kick some balls and have some fun.
The brainchild of David Grover and Nick Holman, FTW Kickball grew out of a desire to bring Fort Worth the finest in organized, competitive kickball.
“We used to play kickball with a national organization,” says David. “We noticed that they didn’t seem as invested in local leagues and thought we could do it better and cheaper.”
David and Nick can’t help but feel surprised by the magnitude of their success. The number of participants has nearly quadrupled since FTW Kickball’s inception.
“People are requesting expansion into different sports,” says David. “We don’t want to expand too quickly, though. Providing a local sports option that’s a lot of fun is what it’s all about.”
If you’re curious about joining, ask yourself a couple questions: Do I have a killer instinct? Do balls tremble at the approach of my foot? Regardless of how you answer, you’re ready for some FTW Kickball.
“The only requirement is that you have to be awesome,” jokes David. “Actually, there’s not much required. No one went to college on a kickball scholarship. You have to be 21 for insurance purposes, but aside from that, all you have to do is sign up.”
Lone wolves never fear: you don’t even need a team. Individuals can register and get set up with a group. FTW Kickball also accommodates those who have a couple of interested friends, but not enough for a full squad.
“Groups can request their placement on the same team,” explains Nick. “Our goal is to help everyone have a great experience and enjoy themselves.”
The calendar year has three eight-week seasons of action, with a two week playoff for each. If you want to see whether the kickball-shoe fits, there’s even a free practice week.
The standard fee to join is $58, which includes eight games, the playoffs and a team t-shirt. Sponsors provide post-game prizes, pizza, and an end-of-season party. FTW Kickball also organizes off-field activities.
“We emphasize the social part,” says Nick. “A big part of FTW Kickball is having a good environment to socialize. With other sports, you can feel segregated within your team, but here you have a real place where people commingle.”
While some participants may nurse a genuine competitive fire, Dave sees the true appeal of kickball as lying elsewhere.
“What draws people to it is the environment where they can go out and compete at something that’s co-ed. It’s not very physical, and it doesn’t matter if you’re ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ You can play with your parents if you want, or your co-workers. We have rules to keep things consistent, and we do everything we can to maintain a fun environment.”
Friendship, fun and good-natured competition. If this sounds like your idea of fun — and why wouldn’t it? — visit FtWKickball.com for more information. The new season starts in March 2016, so gather up your friends and get ready: those balls aren’t gonna kick themselves.