Kickball league brings fun, camaraderie to West Vancouver

Neighborhood associations also vie for bragging rights

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter

Published:

 

Kickball League

Games are 7 p.m. Thursdays, June 6, June 20, July 11 and July 25, with a playoff on Aug. 8. Teams will play at John Ball and Arnada parks.

Usually when neighborhood associations get together, it's to talk about such issues as the need for stop signs or speed bumps.

But Todd Bachmann, a member of the Arnada Neighborhood Association, wanted to try something more lighthearted. So he helped put together a kickball league for members of the Arnada, Lincoln, Hough, Shumway and Carter Park neighborhoods.

League play started May 23. Things are low-key, but that doesn't mean neighborhood members aren't competing for bragging rights, Bachmann said.

"There's always been smack talk," Bachmann said of the friendly rivalry between Arnada and surrounding neighborhoods. "It's just for fun, but we'll be keeping score and playing a tournament each year."

The teams will play four games, followed by a playoff between the top two on Aug. 8. And the winning group will bring a trophy home to their neighborhood for the year.

"We want to bring home that trophy and defend it next year," said Ron Tolleson, captain of the Shumway Sharks. "Vancouver, as you know, has some pretty distinctive neighborhoods. We're all friendly, but we're competitive, too."

Besides the Sharks, the team names are the Lincoln Continentals, Carter Park Kickers, Hough Shamrocks and possibly the Arnada Armada, although that's still up for a vote, Bachmann said.

"That's our working title, but we're waiting for group approval," he said.

Shumway may be the most coordinated. The Sharks have been practicing and the team was first to come up with a name and logo, Bachmann said.

"I joke with them that they'll be like the New York Yankees of our league," Bachmann said.

Tolleson laughed at that.

" I hear one of the neighborhoods has a fight song already," he said.

Bachmann's first idea was to create a softball league, but somebody suggested kickball would be better because it has fewer equipment costs and it's very simple to play, he said.

Surprisingly, at least to Bachmann and Tolleson, there's even an official governing body for the sport: The World Adult Kickball Association.

"I didn't really know much about kickball until we started, but it turns out there are some really serious leagues over there in Portland," Tolleson said. "But then again, one of the official rules is that everybody has to have fun."

So far, the league doesn't have its own website, but that's a possibility at some point. For now, the teams have been organizing through neighborhood association newsletters and Facebook pages, Bachmann said.

"One of the great things about our neighborhoods is we can all walk to each other's parks to play," Bachmann said. "There's a real urban sense of community and togetherness because of that."

He doesn't anticipate the league spreading beyond the five neighborhoods, but if people from those groups want to get involved, or other neighborhoods want some advice on how to set up their own leagues, they're welcome to contact him at rockinbach@centurylink.net, Bachmann said.

"We want to stay tightly knit and manageable," he said. "I think this is going to be a lot of fun."