Last night I stayed up to watch the first few miners get rescued from the Chilean mine where they have been trapped 629 meters below ground for almost 70 days!
That is such a long time! I try to keep that in mind when I remember that there are only about 70 days, less actually, to go until the end of my year-long journey. Time has gone by so fast! I am still interviewing potential venue locations for the year-end celebration. It is exciting…there are so many creative possibilities for the culmination of this amazing year. I will keep you posted!
It was beautiful the other night and I decided to go for a long walk and find someone to give my $10 to. I came across a sports field called Marie Reed Park. Good name! There were people gathering and I knew something was going to happen. It seemed that I was the only one not wearing a uniform of some sort. I grabbed a little real estate on the bleachers and waited to see what unfolded.
It turns out I was at a kickball game. I was literally the only one who was not playing…except for two guys with some red jerseys who were talking with a woman in a white blouse. More about those guys later.
I finally got the courage to go over to a guy who was sitting an inning out. I didn’t want to bother someone while they were trying to win a game, but I forced myself to go meet someone. His name was Eric. As soon as I explained what I was doing he told me that he had heard about the Year of Giving! “You’re not going to believe this but I was just thinking about you two days ago!” he told me. That’s pretty cool….the word is spreading thanks to all of you!
This is Eric’s second season playing kickball in Washington’s chapter of the World Adult Kickball League (WAKA). In fact, he plays on two teams. The night I met him he was playing for a team called the Rockstar Lifestyle who was playing against the Ball Busters. The cool thing about kickball is that just about everyone can play. Having said that, it was clear that many of the players meant business.
Eric tells me that although he likes kickball, his true passion is in running marathons. The 28-year-old has run nine marathons already! He’s preparing for his next one right now which will be the New York City Marathon in just 25 days. He says that he has seen some crazy things while running. “One time I was running a marathon with my sister in LA and we saw people selling drugs along the side of the road.”
The game was close and the coach tapped Eric to hit the field. Before heading out to left field, Eric told me that if I wanted to know more about the entire WAKA league that one of the founders of the organization was standing to my right wearing a red jersey. While Eric tried to help the Rockstars edge out the Ballbusters I went over to introduce myself to Johnny LeHane. He helped found the kickball league back in 1998 in hopes to create a social activity that everyone could participate in. “We wanted something that would have an almost fraternity feel,” Johnny told me. I actually think I met Johnny back in 1998 at Kelly’s Irish Times, an Irish pub that was the first sponsor of WAKA. I say that because Johnny worked at AOL and so did my brother and a bunch of friends back then and I recall that I went to a kickball happy hour in 1998 or 1999. I keep forgetting to ask my brother who he knew from WAKA back then, maybe he remembers. Anyway, in case you are shrugging your shoulders at the idea of organized kickball, be advised that they currently over 3,000 teams in over 300 leagues nation wide and employ a staff of 30. It was cool to meet Johnny, who was in town from NYC where he lives and continues to work as part of the management team for WAKA.
Eric trotted back in to join his team as they had one last opportunity to win the game. It was close, but he and his team managed to pull out a 5-4 win over the Ball Busters! I was great to watch him and his team celebrate the victory. He said they were going to a bar called Town where he would buy a pitcher of beer for the team with the $10. Cheers!