Emmis the Menace: First Kickball Game

Emmis Interactive officially joined the Chicago Social Kickball League, and we had our first game yesterday, after work. The original signup process was actually many weeks ago, and by the time the season started… I think a few of us were caught off guard. The game’s when? Tomorrow?

A group of us took the Blue Line to Racine, and walked over toward Skinner Park. I have to say, we looked pretty slick in our team t-shirts. Our official team name is Emmis the Menace, and the front t-shirt design was done by TJ. Note the fantastic target on our backs (with the EI logo square in the center), done by our Design Intern Jordan, with a bit of help from Utopia.

When we arrived at the field, we found a nearby 7-11. Unfortunately, that 7-11 did not sell beer. I took a quick poll, and a few of us were game to walk back towards a bar we had passed, en route. The girls ended up going ahead to the field, and the guys ended up going to get a round of shots.

The bartender was kind enough to take a photo of us, about to down some Jameson. L to R it’s Brian R, Roshan (our pitcher), me, Chris and Tim (our team Captain).

Christine, AJ and Ally warming up, pre-game.

Roshan, getting some practice pitches in. He had never played kickball before, and was marginally familiar with baseball rules. But being a cricket player… he had a great arm, and was just a natural with the ball.

Getting our lineup set. L to R it’s AJ, Noami, Christine, Tim and Laurence.

Roshan on first base, with Tim serving as coach. Shortly after this, we got a huge kick and Roshan went scrambling around the bases. After getting to home plate he continued running and went back to first, ready to keep rounding the bases.

He had cricket rules still in his head, and was prepared to keep going. We got him to come back to the bench, where he got a ton of high-fives. It was pretty awesome to see this, since it looked like Roshan was simply not done running yet, and wanted to score more runs.

Chris, about to kick the ball. He was the only one to wear jeans on the team, and on arriving out at the field said I’ve made a huge mistake.

Laurence, about to kick the shit out of the ball. I’m pretty sure that he got a home run on this one.

A quick sidenote: I took a few videos, but ended up only capturing the really bad stuff: errors, missed catches, the other team scoring on us with some good kicks. I didn’t capture Laurence’s home run, nor did I capture Al’s magnificent slide into home (he got called safe by the ref).

I’ll try to do a bit more on the video side, next game.

Tim, Laurence and Noami, on defense. With the league rules, there has to be a certain number of men vs. women on the field, and in the batting order. For our game, we had to have at least one guy and one girl sit out each inning (but the same person couldn’t sit out two innings in a row).

Roshan, with that killer form. Ally and Brian R, in a state of cat-like readiness.

Christine on second, Al on first.

This was towards the end of the game, and I think I was up to bat soon after. I ended up popping the ball up and out of bounds, near first base… and the defense caught the ball. But the moment he did, Tim was directing all the other players to start running, since mine was just the second out.

Luckily for us, the other team dropped the ball right after catching it… so we were able to get a run or two in. I’d like to say that my move was intentional, but I think it was pure luck. Unintentional sacrifice fly ball still counts as a stat, right?

Overall, I think I did pretty ok. I dropped a ball early in the game, which made me a bit nervous for how I’d fare. But later on I ended up catching two fly balls in the same inning, which felt a bit like redemption.

We were ahead for most of the game, leading 3-1. Towards the final innings, the other team (Mobile Doctors) had a strong inning and tied the score. I have to tell you – I got a little nervous, with the score all tied up. In extra innings, we were able to score two more runs and held them off to finish out the game (Al was the one who caught the final out, ending the game). Final sore: Emmis the Menace: 5, Mobile Doctors: 3.

Team photo. L to R it’s Laurence, Brian R, Christine, Al, AJ, Roshan, Noami, Chris, Ally, Letty, Tim and me.

I’ll be honest with you: going in, I didn’t expect we’d end up winning. We had never played together before, and had just had our first “team meeting” in the office kitchen the day before. I was kind of expecting a train wreck, but was really surprised we did so well!

I think a large part of our victory had to do with Roshan being an awesome pitcher. He was wining stuff towards the plate something fierce, and reminded me a lot of Charlie Sheen’s character from Major League. His pitches led the other team to pop a lot of stuff up, which resulted in some easy outs. I also think Tim did a great job directing people, offering advice and encouragement on the field and kept us novices in check.

I have a pretty huge competitive streak in me, and I have to keep reminding myself that we’re all just getting together to play a game. I think a few other folks on the team are wired the same way, but overall it felt good out there – we were wanting to win, but still keeping a fairly lighthearted, fun feel to things.

A huge part of why I joined (and why I think the kickball team is so much fun) is being able to see coworkers in a different context. Walking around today, I see folks sitting at their desks, pecking away at emails and code. Some of these people were, not 24 hours ago, running around a dusty field, yelling and clapping and cheering. Like our poker tournaments, it’s another way to hang out with folks that doesn’t involve work or some kind of meeting.

One game down, with six more to go. Feeling pretty good that we’ve got one win under our belt!

We had a lot of folks disperse after the game, due to other plans… but a small group of us headed to Letty’s place, for some post-game drinks. We grabbed some beers, headed up to her deck, and were greeted with one of the most fantastic views of the Chicago Skyline I’ve s

The whole time we were out on the deck, it looked like a postcard.

Tim, with the skyline at his side.

Chris, looking into the setting sun.

Noami, Letty and Ally, relaxing as the evening settles in.

I had a blast with everyone, and I’m looking forward to our next game. If our first game was any indication, this is going to be a pretty fun season…

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