Newest sport at Emerson is just for kicks

by Beacon Staff • October 3, 2007

Reverting back to this mindset, a group of Emerson freshmen have started a weekly kickball game on the Boston Common. Greg Sands, Alex Fleming, Keith Kostelny and Sean McNally came together to begin Emerson's newest extracurricular activity.,It's a pastime that is bringing Emerson students back to the days of sandboxes and spelling bees.

Reverting back to this mindset, a group of Emerson freshmen have started a weekly kickball game on the Boston Common. Greg Sands, Alex Fleming, Keith Kostelny and Sean McNally came together to begin Emerson's newest extracurricular activity. While the game shares its name with the popular gym class activity, it's also very different to what you may have played in your high school.

"It's very theatric and we prefer to play barefoot," said Sands, a print journalism major. "It's harder to kick when you don't have shoes."

Sands said some players keep score, but stressed that the games aren't meant to be very competitive. He said he is more concerned with other aspects of the activity, like having fun and wearing outrageous outfits, including capes fashioned out of flags.

Until recently, McNally, a writing, literature and publishing major, wore the flag of his home state of Texas across his back. After kicking a home run in a recent game, he draped the flag across the plate.

"The other team came out and spit on my flag," McNally said. "I don't wear the flag anymore."

McNally is not new to the Monday night kickball concept. Back home in Austin, he used to play on Mondays. This helped give him and his Emerson friends the idea to bring kickball to Beantown.

"We went to City Sports and they pretty much laughed us out of the building when we asked for a kickball," McNally said.

They eventually found a store with an appropriate ball, and the rest is history.

"We try to avoid seriousness as much as possible," said Fleming, a writing for film and television major. "We dress up to remind people it's not that serious."

The game operates under a few unique rules. There is no foul territory, so players can kick the ball wherever they want. With about 30 players showing up to play, it was decided that every player could play each inning, rather than just nine players, like a traditional game.

The game even has a weekly cheering section. Sands said some students come down to the common to support their peers.

"Even if they don't play, they come down and cheer us on," said Sands.

Freshman film major Ryan McGovern, a fan of kickball, said the game provides a great escape from the stresses of college.

"At the end of a long Monday, the kickball game lets everyone forget their obligations and just enjoy themselves," McGovern said. "Kickball is a perfect example of a phenomenon which could only occur at Emerson. Students at other schools aren't doing this and that's what makes it so great."

This phenomenon may soon evolve into other athletic events. The creators of the game are hoping to start a dodgeball league, as well as croquet in the spring. Sands seemed excited about the prospect of springtime croquet.

"There will be tea and sweater vests are preferred," Sands said.

Sands said the games are played every Monday night at 8:30 p.m., and anyone is welcome to play. The game has already reached well beyond Emerson, as several Berklee students have joined in.

"Hopefully it will become a Boston-wide thing," Sands said.