Spring 2017 Kickball Season

I think this was my seventh year of playing SJSL kickball (I could be off a year). I’ve definitely have seen much change over the years to the league and to my Honey Badger roster. But the one constant is that I always have some amazing teammates and we always play tough yet not too serious.

This season we had some new faces, and didn’t see some longtime Badgers return. Gone this season was legendary Honey Badger Kevin. I think our longtime spark plug has retired after a long and illustrious career. Truly a one of a kind character.

This season we surely had our struggles and had a hard time fielding a consistent squad out there week in and week out. It really has become quite the challenge to field a full roster every week. We had some fun moments and some terrible performances.

However, we truly did save our best for last. In the playoffs we played our finest kickball of the season.

Our opening kickball game was an instant Honey Badger classic. We faced off against the offensive juggernaut, the Slobber Bobs. Due to our seeding I was able to choose which field our game would be played on. Given the extremely strong wind blowing in from the shore and their strong legs, without hesitation I chose for us to play into the wind. With the intent of limiting the long ball and turning it into a defensive struggle.

Our team was great holding the Slobber Bobs to a 5-1 victory. Our squad was great. We played such a solid defensive game, and did such a great job of keeping our kicks low and not into the wind. Our opponents on the other hand struggling with the wind, and we were able to shut them down and frustrate them. It was great, and an amazing team effort!

We then advanced to the finals where we faced off against the Almost Athletes. Unfortunately for us they chose to play the final on the other field and it was a wise choice on their part. Their kickers got off to an amazing start with their perfectly placed kicks.

We were down by a huge margin early on, but we never threw in the towel. We battled back and actually made it a game again. But alas, they had another big late inning and were just too much offensively for us to prevail. They soundly defeated us.

Even though we didn’t win the championship, we had such a strong conclusion to our season. Our players did such a fine job when it mattered most, and gave it their absolute all. It was really great. So proud of these Badgers, and am amazed Dustin and I have survived so many SJSL seasons.

 

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Fall 2016 Dodgeball

Another year of dodgeball. This season’s team contained most of the usual good folk. We continue to get older than the competition who seems to be getting younger each season, but our teamwork and experience gives us a shot most weeks.

What impressed me most this season was our guys play. We are not a very strong, athletic, active, roster when compared to the rest of the league. However, with some savvy and smarts we’re able to hang with most of the other teams out there. It really was amazing this season how well we all did. Dustin, Steve, Dave, Dan, Jacob, Jerry and myself really overachieved this season it was great.

More importantly I just realized 3 of our guys names start with a D, and 3 start with a J. Amazing fact and perhaps future Honey Badgers trivia right there.

The guys were great, but I sadly have noticed a decrease in velocity and endurance in my game. Alas, I am getting so old! I was still a major contributor to the cause most nights, but have been doing it in other creative ways than I was contributing a few seasons ago.

Our girls were great. Sadly, we had a hard time getting them all together in a given night, but when we had a full roster they very dominant. Sarah and Erin were probably the best two teammates in the league. Both are tremendous athletes and competitors. Jen continues to amaze me with how much she can bring to a team. On paper, she’s not nearly as dangerous as Sarah or Erin, but during a game she always brings value to the team. Such an amazing teammate! Caitlin, Maggie and Meghan brought their veteran smarts to the team as well, and we really had a lot of fun.

The team won our first playoff game against our rival Dodgetrotters. Always a fun and close match with those guys. The second round had us face off against the Avengers. Despite their enormous talent advantage we did start off with a shocking 3-3 start! It was pretty great and we sure made them work for it. Sadly we did lose to them, but wow we all felt great with our effort!

Another amazing season for the Honey Badgers. Though I can see and feel a sharp decline in ability in recent seasons, it’s still amazingly fun to go out there with such good friends once a week.

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Spring 2016 SJSL Kickball Champions!!!

We’ve been playing in the SJSL since day one six years ago. We’ve have some tremendous teams over the years and made some tremendous playoff runs, but sadly had yet to come away with a championship until this kickball season.

The Spring 2016 Honey Badgers were the greatest team that I have ever had the pleasure of participating on. When I look at the individuals on our roster, I’m still baffled at how we were able to pull it off. We are a much older roster than most teams, we’re not as athletic, nor as strong, and we have several players who cannot kick past the infield.

However, we were all on the same page and had the same goal. I’ve been on great teams where the sum was greater than it’s parts, but never to the extent as this team. We all found a way to contribute, worked together, and simply clicked. It was amazing.

Our playoff run was the thing of legends.

Our first round game was against We Got the Runs, a team that we had narrowly defeated by one run with some insane 7th inning heroics earlier in the season. We were very evenly matched, and we knew it would be a battle.

The game turned out as advertised. Runs were hard fought and both defense solid. The huge swing play was with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 1st. Their captain blasted a shot to deep right field. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t think Sarah had a good shot to get it. It was really well struck. Undeterred, she kept running at it, and by some miracle was able to get to it where she made one of the finest finger tip catches I’d ever seen. This would be an early 4 run swing in our favor and really built momentum for us.

There was some very big kicks by Ed and Dave throughout the night, and Sarah would later have a huge 2 out kick for us as well to knock in some hard fought runs.

With a 1 run lead, and nerves a plenty the unlikely tandem of Dustin at shortstop to Julie at 1st base sealed the deal for us. Julie could not of picked a bigger moment to make her two finest plays of the season. They were not easy plays at 1st. It was a hard fought and amazing victory.

Our quarterfinal matchup had us a fairly strong underdogs against The Slobber Bobs. They had defeated us 8-3 in our earlier meeting. They have some very strong kickers, run the bases very aggressively, and also field very well. A tough match up for sure.

Our gameplay was to play great defense and make sure that we backed one another up on defense on every play. We knew if we could somehow keep it close, that maybe we’d have a shot. The strategy going in was to kick often and early to their 1st baseman. We felt that we could have some success moving base runners doing that and hopefully frustrate them as well.

It was a 1-1 tightly contested match as expected, until we were finally able to bust through with a big inning late in the game breaking down the 1st base line. Wow, it was great.Before we knew it, we were up 11-1 in the 6th and they were getting very frustrated and we could feel the momentum on our side. We were able to close them out and advance. A perfectly played game against a very strong opponent.

In the finals we were set to square off against Suck My Kick who beat us 3-1 earlier in the season. They have some tremendous kickers on their side, but we always play them well and I could tell by our body language we were going to give them everything we had.

We screamed out of the gates putting up 8 runs in the first. They weren’t ready for that, and some in team bickering had begun. We couldn’t of asked for a better start. When their second baseman asks for me as the pitcher to move so that he can see better (sorry, but I’m going to stand where I can best benefit my team within the rules), I knew that we’d gotten into some of their heads a bit.

They are a very strong and determined team and were able to answer back with many runs of their own. However, with every run they were able to score we could answer right back padding a few here and there to our lead. We would eventually put up 19 runs which was plenty enough to put them away and win the championship.

It did feel pretty great to finally win it all, and what made it even better was they we won it playing right, with our guys, and didn’t go out and get some ringers to carry us. With the oldest core in the group, I’m not going to lie and didn’t think we’d be able to win a championship without breaking up our core group. So to win with Dustin and Kevin who’ve been with me since day 1 was amazing!

Kevin grinning ear to ear hoisted me high into the air! His excitement was so great to see! Steve and others attempted to do their best Gatorade shower with water bottles on hand. Wow, what an amazing crew.

So many players gave it their very all, played the best game they could, and did whatever the team asked of them. It as truly teamwork at it’s finest. An amazing job by a pretty amazing group of teammates!!!

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Opening Night of Winter 2016 Dodgeball

Last night was one of my favorite nights, the start of a new dodgeball season. We had some departures and new faces to the roster this season. So while it was sad to see many go, it’s also very exciting to welcome new people aboard.

To make opening night even better, the season was opened against the Bad Mother Duckers. They’re a great team to play, and really understand that it’s fun first with dodgeball. Great bunch.

I had a feeling that our updated girls roster would be tough, and they met and exceeded all expectations last night. They were dominant! I think they won all their matches, and seemed to be in a favorable position all night. Very impressive.

Our guys put on a very solid show as well. There was a lot of energy, and teamwork on display. I’m really excited to see how the season unravels with the new additions.

Apparently I was hit and kept on playing. I have no recollection, and hope it wasn’t as bad as I’ve been told it was. I genuinely have no recollection of being hit and continuing on like I was told by my entire chuckling team at the conclusion of a match.

Great times, and so thrilled to be back on the court with great people!

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2015 Honey Badger Holiday Party

Honey Badger Holiday Party 2015Had another fine Honey Badger Holiday Party this season. It was an excellent turnout, and a lot of fun.

It was held at my home for the second year in a row, and I was glad to at least have a couch this time around that they were able to sit on. I suppose I’m getting there slowly but surely.

Many brought amazing treats or beverages. It’s really great to see so many contribute even when we’re not playing a team sport. A pretty great bunch.

We picked teams (my partner was multi-defending champ Cait), and got started on some games.

  • First off was Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa. It’s just a variation on rock, paper, scissors, but oh so much fun.
  • Then we played the Christmas Ornament game, which involves moving an ornament across the house by blowing on it. Again, a fun time to watch others.
  • We then had a round of Honey Badger Trivia.

After all that fun, we had our gift exchange. Jen provided all the rules, and the exchange began. All went well, everyone came away happy and it was a good time. I got some card based games.

In a surprise gesture, the team created an amazing Honey Badger card (it really is awesome), and were incredibly generous in giving me gift certificates to Home Depot, Wawa, and Amazon. I mean they were really generous. So very kind of them, again they are pretty great.

I then coaxed the team into having our photo taken in front of the Christmas tree at the arboretum. It’s a pretty scenic spot, and just a few steps from my home. Everyone was a good sport, and we got a pretty amazing Honey Badger photo.

We then returned to play some Marit Kart 8. People then began to slowly slip out as it was on a weeknight after all.

All in all I’d have to say it was another success!

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Amazing Night of Dodgeball Crazyness

I’ve been playing dodgeball for five years now, and this past week had some truly rare moments. Luckily were were able to defeat our opponents, Bad Mother Duckers in a most fun and exciting game.

The first amazing play for me would be when I won a match, knocking over a guy with my peg. Granted, clearly his momentum and lack of balance at the time were what sent him tumbling to the ground. Though the timing of my peg and his fall looked most dramatic. It looked like I literally knocked him back off is feet. My team erupted in excitement and his team laughed. It was pretty amazing to behold.

The second amazing play is when I was involved with the first double peg I had ever seen. Ron and I both squared up and ripped off throws at one another. Ron’s hit me first, but mine got him as well. We were both out, and both amazed at the play. It was pretty awesome, and again a scene out of a movie.

The most exciting play for me though was my game winner with the matches at 8-7. They had a much deeper rotation and we were beginning to tire. We didn’t want this thing to go to overtime.

In what was a pretty exciting match on both sides, eventually it was down to 2 on 2. Jared and I threw everything we had and them, and they were doing the same. It was pretty exciting, and you could feel the entire team reacting to each close call.

With around 10 seconds left in the match Jared got hit. So we were not down 2-1 with only 10 seconds remaining from a loss and going to overtime. I immediately, knew that I would have to somehow get a catch even though they would most likely not give me anything at all to catch. So I saw their guy wind up and I took a step back like I was going to retreat to the back wall, then sprinted forward upon his release.

I gambled that he would throw something short thinking I would be in the back. It played out perfectly and I caught a ball near the front court with just around 5 seconds remaining. My team exploded in excitement and I just waited for time to expire as we were now up 2-1.

An amazing victory and probably the most dramatic play I’ve had to date in the fine sport of dodgeball.

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