Kickball brings Northside neighbors together for drama-free fun

Jermica Polk at the plate
Jermica Polk at the plate (Charles Hallman/MSR News)
Kickball, the game played with a big red rubber ball, is typically associated with kids playing it during school recess or as a featured activity at family picnics or church youth group gatherings. It is now being played by adults on Sundays as well.

Little kids play their own kickball games on the side outside the baseball field fence as the adults kick away in their own scheduled contests on a Sunday afternoon. Hot dogs and chicken drumsticks are among the game-day kickball menu items cooked on portable grills. Some brought their lawn chairs and settled in along the first base line fence area to take in the games, which usually begin at 3 pm at the fancy baseball field on the Minneapolis’ North Side.

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 “We need to publicize this more to see there’s more going on the North Side.”

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“We want to thank the Twins for putting this out here,” said Byron Hawkins as he pointed toward the artificial turf donated by the Minnesota Twins at North Commons Park in North Minneapolis. Hawkins is a member of the Dominators, one of the nine teams in the Squad of Players Adult Kickball League — all games played at the Northside park on Sunday afternoons.  “We get to enjoy it as adults,” Hawkins noted.

League co-directors Londell Anderson (l) and his cousin Tyrone Johnson
League co-directors Londell Anderson (l) and his cousin Tyrone Johnson (Charles Hallman/MSR News)
The World Adult Kickball Association (WAKA) is the sport’s governing body. Its main rules include regulation five-inning games, and if both teams are tied there are no tie breakers or extra innings.

We don’t know if league co-directors Tyrone Johnson and his cousin knew anything about the WAKA when they imagined their league, now in its third summer. “Me and my cousin Londell Anderson just started it up,” said Johnson during a break in the action. He told the MSR that the league uses many established kickball rules, but he “tweaked” some of them to tailor fit the local operation.

Each team can have up to 15 players — “You have to have three females on the team,” stated Johnson. “We wanted a co-ed [league].”

“It’s fun, and it’s also competitive,” noted Chandell Knox of last season’s defending champions Team Nite Nite.

“I think this is a really good way to get us together,” added Jermica Polk, who is in her second year and one of four female team members on the Orange Crush.

A Northsider, Johnson continued, “This is what the community is all about. Get out and enjoy each other’s company.”

“Normally I serve turkey legs, wings, and stuff like that,” said Jamarri Roan, who brought his large cast-iron grill and served up hot links and corn-on-the-cob. “I came to see the atmosphere. I’m enjoying the atmosphere. There’s no fighting, no shooting, no nothing.”

This is exactly what Northsiders want the world to know: that there also can be some positive happenings in the area.

“You can see us all out here having a good time,” said Hawkins. “We need to publicize this more to see there’s more going on the North Side.”

The Squad of Players kickball league is “an eight-week league with playoffs” in mid-August, Johnson explained.

“I want people to come check us out every Sunday,” said Hawkins. “Come and enjoy a family event with no drama.”

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One Comment on “Kickball brings Northside neighbors together for drama-free fun”

  1. I think Adult kickball is AWESOME! That is something i would love to participate in.I still enjoy jumping Double Dutch! It keeps us young and at the same time you’re getting a good workout in. I will check it out after church on Sunday’s, and bring my Double Dutch rope. God Bless You All

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