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Back For Encore: After Summer Success, Blue Wahoos Hosting Fall Kickball League

September 13, 2022

Theresa Lowe had not played a kickball game since grade school. But as soon as she learned the Blue Wahoos were launching a summer kickball league, she quickly arranged with company co-workers at Lee Heating and Cooling to sign up and get playing. Their team, the “Five Star Ballers” were

Theresa Lowe had not played a kickball game since grade school.

But as soon as she learned the Blue Wahoos were launching a summer kickball league, she quickly arranged with company co-workers at Lee Heating and Cooling to sign up and get playing.

Their team, the “Five Star Ballers” were among the four semifinalists in the recent playoff round of the Blue Wahoos inaugural venture into co-ed kickball competition.

“It was awesome,” said Lowe, following a game earlier this summer at Blue Wahoos Stadium. “It is something to do, take your mind off everything and have a good time.”

That became a common sentiment. The Blue Wahoos’ 10-week kickball league had 24 teams with another 25-plus teams on a waiting list. The games were played each Monday, the one off day in the Blue Wahoos’ home and away schedule. Rained out games were made up during weeks the Blue Wahoos were on the road.

The success has led to the Blue Wahoos Kickball League returning with a fall season beginning on Sept. 27 and ending with a championship round on Nov. 10. The cost per-team is $750. Up to 18 men and women can be on each co-ed team. Teams get decorative T-shirts with their team name. The game day is once per-week.

The Blue Wahoos have the registration details on the home page of their website.

“We’ve been talking about something like this for a few years, but we haven’t really been able to do it,” said Shannon Reeves, events sales manager for the Studer Family of Companies, which encompasses the Blue Wahoos. “Now, with the first year of synthetic turf, it really allows us to do it without taking a toll on the field.

“Many of the nights, we’ve had four games going on at once and using three time slots,” she said. “Doing something like that before would have really taken a toll on our (previous) grass field that was in place until this year.

“Seeing the fun that people were having and the popularity makes we wish that we always had it. The first week we started (June 6), everybody was so excited. And you also saw people really taking seriously, too.”

But while a championship game was staged, the league is primarily designed for fun. There are alcoholic beverages for purchase in the dugout area. The games are maximum seven innings, or one-hour in length, whichever happens first. It’s kickball, after all, so the whole idea is for everyone to laugh and enjoy while competing.

“I feel like it’s a great atmosphere, brings community together, networking, all those things,” said Johndee Galvin, who played on the “Iron Giants” and formerly played football and baseball at Escambia High. “I think it’s a good way to meet new people and have a way to get out and having fun. And playing at the stadium is so great.”

In the summer league, three Blue Wahoos front office employees, Tori Perkins, Jordan Morrow and T.J. Johnson, all former high school and collegiate athletes, organized the schedule, kept up with paperwork, helped set up the field, helped umpire each game, and kept track of standings and other necessary elements to keep the season thriving.

“They jumped at it,” Reeves said. “They wanted to do it, They managed all the logistics of it. They made it happen every week, working around the baseball schedule.

“I’m so grateful for them. They need all the credit for how well this went.”

Blue Wahoos team president Jonathan Griffith had experience with hosting a kickball league in prior jobs before joining the Blue Wahoos for their first season in 2012. He had been wanting to make it happen with the Blue Wahoos and this year with the new playing surface made it readily possible.

“We are so grateful for ownership, Quint and Rishy (Studer), to have installed this artificial turf,” Reeves said. “It was a huge investment for us, but it certainly allows us to do things like this which benefit the community.

“We filled our spots for the summer league within two days. And now that we have the framework in, we can repeat this in the fall and future seasons. We have music, the logo on the video board, the teams playing, it is such a fun experience.”

McKenna Curtis, who led the Iron Giants, was a Blue Wahoos trainee in 2017. She urged a kickball league back then. When she saw it was happening this year, she immediately a team ready.

“I’ve been waiting since I worked here for them to do this,” she said, laughing, after a kickball game earlier this summer at Blue Wahoos Stadium. “Everybody on the team wanted to find new friends and build community. And so what better place to do that, than here? Everybody is from different places, but we’ve come together and have a super cool team.”

Bill Vilona is a retired Pensacola News Journal sports columnist and now senior writer for Pensacola Blue Wahoos. He can be reached at _<a href="mailto:[email protected]" target="blank">[email protected].

WANT TO PARTICIPATE?

WHAT: Blue Wahoos Fall Kickball League

WHEN: Sept. 17 through Nov. 10th (Games once a week).

WHERE: Blue Wahoos Stadium.

WHO: Players must be 18-years-older. Teams must have a minimum of five men, five women. Maximum is 18 players.

COST: $750 per-team. Each player gets a team T-shirt.

REGISTRATION LINK: https://www.milb.com/pensacola/news/fall-kickball.

INFO: Contact Shannon Reeves at [email protected].