MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Kickball has been around for a hundred years.
In 1917, Nicholas C. Seuss invented the game where people basically play baseball with their feet. Now, a century later, the once popular playground game is just as popular with adults.
This week, our Moving U segment moves to Palm Springs North Park, where grownups are channeling their inner children on the kickball diamond.
“There’s a little bit of nostalgia there,” says Rene Medina. “Hey, I want to get back to what made me have fun.”
Medina is one of the founders of KOALA Kickball. Why KOALA? It stands for Kickball Obsessed Adult Leagues Association, and these adults are obsessed, alright!
“They take it very intensely,” Medina explained. “The great thing about our sport is that even if you’re not very athletic, we have 40, 50 60-year-old’s playing. We also have 20, 18-year-old’s playing.”
KOALA has been around for two and a half years and in that time, it’s grown to four leagues with 40 teams and about 400 players. That’s a lot of people out there moving!
While it may seem like there’s a lot of standing around in kickball, in just one hour of playing, you can burn up to 400 calories.
“Moving, kicking, running up and down, it’s amazing cardio,” said player Kiko Gutierrez. “Honestly, anyone can do it.”
CBS4 anchor Lauren Pastrana put that to the test. Admittedly, she has played in an adult kickball league before but concedes that doesn’t mean she was any good.
She met up with the group one recent Monday night and, just like in elementary school, they started out by picking teams after a round of “Rock, Paper, Scissors” to see who would choose first.
With a little coaching from Gutierrez, Lauren went up to the plate. First pitch — a ball.
“Good eye,” they all cheered. The next pitch was right down the middle, and Lauren went for the bunt as instructed.
She was thrown out at first but her teammate made it to third base and scored on the next play — a successful sacrifice bunt!
KOALA is part workout, part social hour. The league teams up with local restaurants for a little post-game fun.
“I definitely got the trash talking down. I’m the number one trash talker in the league,” Gutierrez said. But there’s nothing but love between these friendly competitors.
“This is so special to me,” Gutierrez continued. “All these people, I didn’t even know three years ago. Now we go on family vacations together. We go on trips. We do leagues and outings. Not even friends, it’s more like family.”
“To an extent, I’m shocked every time I come out here and I see people wearing our shirts, smiling, having fun and getting in shape,” Medina added.
KOALA offers leagues in Miami Lakes, Cutler Bay, Tropical Park and Pembroke Pines.
There is a fee to join. Early registration is $45 for participation in eight regular games, at least one playoff game and a team t-shirt.
To learn more, visit http://www.koalakickball.com/.
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