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Movie Poster Monday, pt. 2b; or, Second Fiddler on the Roof

People say not to live in the past. To which I say, “The past was fun as hell.” Of course the present is amazing, and the future unsure and uninsured, but here we are, forever in the present, the now, the moment—until we’re not.

Ah, just kidding. I won’t do another deeply dark Sundays in the Shade post. But here I am, listening to Metallica’s Fixxxer,” and the thought comes to me: “When was the first time I heard this song?” And it makes me wonder—What other firsts do/can I really remember?

I have an entire playlist dedicated to the first song that I heard of most every band I listen to regularly. (A work in progress.)

firsts

SEE?

And I remember the first CD I ever owned: . . . And Justice for All by Metallica. And the first song I played completely on drums (“Cantspeak” by Danzig), and on guitar (“To Live Is To Die” by Metallica), and on bass (“Money” by Pink Floyd), and on melodica (“This Guy’s In Love With You” by Burt Bacharach).

And my first memory was being carted down the hallways of a nondescript hospital hallway with green walls with my parents by my side. My first drink—a Jack & Coke at Henry’s at the ripe old age of 23. My first car was a shitty ’86 Chrysler LeBaron and the first time I drove was at 9 years old in an white Honda Vista. (It later died and the joke among my family stemmed from the old restaurant Vista on 6th St., a burger joint that had the appropriate slogan, “Make the Vista Run!” It never ran again.)

I remember the first KVKL game I ever played in. It was against the old Creation Station team in 2010, pre-Game of the Week, and I pitched. We (Wildman) won, handily, like, 32-2.

Yet, for the life of me, after all these other (relatively) insignificant firsts, I cannot remember my first pitch, or first kick, or first out—anything. Maybe because, at the time, it didn’t seem like it would have as much of an impact on my life as it has. Hell, I remember the first week of dodgeball, and it was only a couple months prior to my first KVKL game. And I remember my first memory in life more clearly. (It was more of a nightmare.) I recall meeting everyone on that team for the first time—even the people who barely played again—which says something of the lasting memory of interaction as opposed to action—but the storied firsts of that first game have since been forgotten (maybe for the best).

So I wonder, further, since we have players who’ve been in this league way longer: What are some of your first memories? Be it the plays you made, the people you met, the games you played—any of it.

In that regard, [one of] the first music videos I recall seeing (that wasn’t Faith No More’s “Epic”), that had a lasting impact, was Metallica’s “One.” Inspired by Dalton Trumbo’s novel Johnny Got His Gun (and the film that eventually followed), it’s the inspiration for this week’s (second) Movie Poster Monday: Johnny’s vs. Corksuckers.

johnnysgothisgun

NO CAPTION NECESSARY

gg johnny’s.

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Movie Poster Monday, Pt. 2a; or, The Six Million Dollar . . .

My first memory of Simon Skinner was about 7 1/2 years ago, before I’d ever played a kickball game, and before I even really gave a shit about kickball. I was a member of the Goats’ dodgeball team—during the Bleeding Kansas Dodgeball League’s inaugural year—and, for what I can only believe was conspiratorial, he reffed effectively literally every single game of ours.

And I loathed him. Much like, as I recall, he loathed me.

We both played on competitive teams replete with aggressive and argumentative athletes, and neither of us ever wanted to lose. And, I’m guessing in part because we didn’t have the kickball-buffer so many other players in the BKDL had, we only had that aggressive I’m-going-to-throw-shit-at-you-as-hard-as-I-can-in-close-quarters relationship so many others hadn’t experienced (unless, of course, you were on Das Boot or the Goats in the early kickball years), so it was only semi-natural we didn’t exactly get along. People didn’t hang out after dodgeball outside of with your teammates; there was no Replay/Harbour party—though we tried Taproom on a handful of occasions with limited success (I blame the bartender, Soobaru).

So it wasn’t really until the second season of dodgeball, as I recall, that Simon and I really had a chance to acquaint with one another. (Outside of that time in the BKDL’s first Final Four when I bent over to pick up a ball and he blasted me as hard as he fucking could into my defenseless left ear and I went deaf for what felt like eight goddamn years.)

These things kinda happen between eventual friends.

Since then we’ve gone on to help build a championship KVKL team, develop a litany of inexcusable and entirely unfunny inside jokes, forget who owes who the next drink, ND NU, and accept Matt Cosgrove as a friend.

tgc1

TALL GUY CLUB

And in my nine years of KVKL-ship—which isn’t exactly a lot compared to so many others—it’s easy to lose sight of ultimately the most important part of this league. I’ve written about community on here before—maybe two years ago—but when you see (or in my case hear about) a good friend going down and going to the E.R., your first thought isn’t about that team’s score or how you played that day or the upsets around the league—it’s about your friends and colleagues with whom you share an unhealthy obsession for kickball and beer. Also winning.

Yeah, sure, maybe we’ve all, in his words, wanted to kick his teeth in at some point or another. But we all know no one really wants that—for him or anyone—even the people we say we loathed when we met them.

There are proverbs for everything. And one I will forever share is from William Blake: The bird a nest; the spider a web; man, friendship.

So here’s this week’s (first) MOVIE POSTER MONDAY:

6milliondollarsimon

. . . BUT WE DON’T WANT TO SPEND A LOT OF MONEY

I’ve had the pleasure of playing on the same team and winning championships with you; the displeasure of playing against you and getting my ass handed to me by you; MG&Cing and Battlefield & Chilling together; spent hours looking for Jalen Rose with you; lying about getting married and then going to Brothers with you; and making a genuine ass of myself because (and with) you for (probably) too many years.

So. Here’s to (probably) too many more, ya douchebag.

 

Something Mildly Different; or, Movie Poster Monday

Because I forgot (re: didn’t know what to write about because I haven’t had the chance to watch many games this season due to reffing and didn’t want to be just another pundit who makes predictions because that’s kinda boring) to write a post last week, I wanted to do something to somewhat make up for it. So I’ve started a new thing:

MOVIE POSTER MONDAY!!!

Granted, it’s not Monday—because I didn’t think of it until Wednesday night—but it did give me a chance to fuck around on Photoshop.

While eating, I had the idea to make a poster for the upcoming Beard-Off challenge between the Ghosts’ Matt Cosgrove and ReBoot’s very own me. The winner of the game gets to keep their beard; the loser must shave. It’s a good ol’ classic Shave-Off, and for that I made this:

SHAVE OFF
Good luck, Ghosts. My team doesn’t want to see me without a beard, and I’m pretty sure none of you do, either.

Now then. Here are my boring predictions:

Red Legs > Goats
Happy Shirt > Channel 6
Muddy Waters > Hurtz Donut D-Holes
KTC > Wildman
Chalmersiz > Flying Hellfish
Love Garden > Red Lyon
Los Matadores > Corksuckers
Repetition > Liberty Hall
Sacred Sword > Homies
Johnny’s > Rats
Free State > Harpies
Pawsh Wash > Jazzhaus
Woost > Rockets
Where’s My Pitches > Leeway Frank’s
Brewballers > Leafy Greens
Double Meat > Grandstand

And because I didn’t want to leave MOVIE POSTER MONDAY with just one—and because I couldn’t sleep—I went ahead and followed it up with this week’s other creation:

scream-ers

I ONLY ADDED MYSELF BECAUSE I HAVE NO IDEA WHO ANYONE ELSE IS ON THE SCREAMERS

I’m also not friends on Facebook with anyone from AsteroidHead. Oh, and for this game, I choose AsteroidHead > Screamers.

Be safe this weekend. Don’t blow anyone’s hands off. And don’t be shitty to animals. And don’t shoot fireworks at Game of the Week. Sure, we all may know that, but the spectators might not, so warn your friends who may come out.

Why We Do the Things We Do; or, The Longing Impact of Loss

My first significant experience with death was when I was barely a teenager. I’d lost distant family members before, yet as a kid it didn’t bare the same weight at the time, so it’s hard to quantify that feeling of loss. My very first pet, my cat, Keebler, was hit by a car one night. I saw it happen—though at the time I didn’t realize what I’d witnessed—until I went outside and found her. She was six months old and I was devastated. I saw through my dining room window a car suddenly stop, and the driver get out and drag something to the side, get back in, and drive away. It was completely black out and I was concerned about her, so I went out with a flashlight—back when people had flashlights. I walked out with my mother and pointed to where I saw that monster go, and the light reflected off her eyes. I ran inside and I cried for days. 

My family insisted we get another cat, eventually, and, as the kid I was, I finally agreed. We found a pair of sisters—both all black: one short-haired; the other long-haired—who we aptly named Shadow and Phantom, respective. Phantom was mine, and after only 8 years, she developed kidney problems. She’d disappear into the darkness often, tucked away into the shadows of our attic, only appearing long enough to sip some water. Weeks later, even that stopped. 

We took her to the vet, but she passed that night. I remember it clearly because I became severely ill that night. Fever. Vomiting. Night terrors. Everything. I remember waking in the middle of the night to my room being overtaken by darkness, like I was being haunted, cursed, and I woke in a sweat, terrified. I could see the shadows move across the walls and envelop everything, like the hands of beasts clawing at every surface, like they wanted to suffocate me. Later, in retrospect, it felt like she, Phantom (or Fanny as we called her), was trying to reach out to me—to tell me it wasn’t my fault. It’s always hard to think otherwise, but I’m starting to believe her. Nobody ever gets used to nightmares, after all. 

My grandfather, Tommy, who I’m named after, passed away shortly after. And then my grandmother, heartbroken, had a stroke. She was a badass, too—she would’ve loved this league. I swear, every time I saw her, she had a PBR in hand. At the hospital, I whispered into her ear, told her how much I loved her, and apologized for not always being there—for not appreciating her and the man I’m named after. She passed away the next day. 

I have experienced my share of loss since then—family, friends, pets. It’s never easy. It’s never expected.

On 21 March, 2015, I lost my father. It was sudden. Yet in ’08 his doctor said he had six months to live. He didn’t like to listen to anyone, though, and sure as shit not that, so he fought the hell out of everything that came his way. Seven years later those six months came. Nothing has haunted me more. 

I always wanted him to watch me play something other than elementary school basketball, but he never had the chance, unfortunately. (He was my basketball coach as a kid, even, and he was pretty damn good.) Call it bad timing, call it whatever. But I’ve never had a chance outside of my day-to-day life to say I’m doing something for him, until this Sunday. 

I play in Game of the Week, on 18 July, on Father’s Day. Maybe a lot of us are playing for their fathers. I’m playing for him. I don’t particularly care about the outcome, because I know what it’d mean to him. And while he may not be there, I know he’s there. 

And for all of you, loved and lost and never forgotten: I wish you were here. 

All my love, 

Thomas

What Little We’ve Learned So Far; or, What Shall We Do Without Us?

After two weeks of KVKL’s 15th! season, we’ve all had more of an opportunity to glean what may be the season’s most interesting storyline: The quick turnaround of younger teams that once were considered easy wins.

The young Jazzhaus team easily demolished a Leeway Frank’s squad that’s full of veteran players, its leadoff kicker crushing consecutive home-runs, and its defense stifling L.F. to only nine hits total—and preventing it from even reaching second base. That’s fucking bananas.

banana-slicer
And then there’s the Ladybird Harpies, that, while it lost to Kansas Tree Care, 6 – 2, holding a championship-caliber team to 6 runs is pretty impressive. Especially if you look at some of its scores from last season:

17 – 3 vs. Chalmersiz
21 – 4 vs. Goats
24 – 0 vs. Los Matadores
16 – 5 vs. Rats

Not the best numbers against not the best teams. Call the loss to KTC a Pyrrhic victory (I would), but the Harpies already have a legit win by beating the Screamers, 8 – 7, and a good chance to notch another win this Sunday vs. the Corksuckers in the pre-Game of the Week.

For those who follow college basketball, one of the major topics of discussion in recent years  is the degree of parity, and the ever-smallering competitive gap. It would appear KVKL is experiencing something similar—with younger, athletic teams competing at higher levels, and veteran teams vying to steal younger, athletic players to supplant their aging rosters.

Because sometimes even great team chemistry is no match for great team biology.

Here are some predictions:

Screamers > Grandstand Glasskickers
Free State Growlers > Johnny’s Tavern
Where’s My Pitches? > Pawsh Wash
Channel 6 > Los Matadores
Red Lyon > Liberty Hall Late Fees
Kansas Tree Care > Red Legs
Hurtz Donut D-Holes > Ghosts
Muddy Waters Studio > Leeway Franks
Wildman Attack Force > Sacred Sword
Goats > Rockets
Love Garden Squids > Woost
Jazzhaus > Brewballers
Flying Hellfish > AsteroidHEAD
Happy Shirt > Repetition
Chalmersiz > Rats
Ladybird Harpies > Corksuckers
Double Meat > Nick Lerner’s “Homies”

Here is a drawing of a stapler:

Picture1

Week 1 Predictions

I promise to write more in the following weeks after actually seeing the new looks of some of these teams. I will also review this season’s jerseys, because that’s what I care most about in kickball nowadays.

Happy Shirt > AsteroidHEAD
Pawsh Wash > Liberty Hall
Woost > Double Meat
Johnny’s > Repetition
Rockets > Leafy Greens
Muddy Waters > Jazzhaus
Ghosts > Homies
Where’s My Pitches > Rats
Channel 6 > Leeway Frank’s
Harpies > Screamers
KTC > Corksuckers
Goats > Sacred Sword
Mario Chalmersiz > Red Lyon
Love Garden > Hurtz
Los Matadores > Brewballers
Free State > Flying Hellfish

Dear KVKL; or, I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

Dear KVKL,

It’s been awhile. Haven’t really opened this in awhile so when I did I thought, Hey I should write something. It doesn’t really matter what because this is just for you and me, but, well, I have to write something!!! So here I am, watching TV, pouring over my schedule, and realizing, Wow tomorrow is the first day of kickball!!! That’s so very.

I wonder what I should wear? I wonder what other people are going to wear? Will they all have cool jerseys and I’ll be the only one who doesn’t? That would be an epic bummer. . . .

Okay, enough of that. I haven’t done this in a couple years but was asked to do it again—so, here I am—and I don’t exactly know where I’m going with it. So fair warning: It might get a little weird at times throughout. A little nontraditional. Maybe even a little real. But that’s the fun part.

As far as the league is concerned, this feels like a wildly different season than in years past. Sure, Happy Shirt did what Happy Shirt do and won its third straight title. Red Lyon nearly made it to its third straight title game. Chalmersiz struggled against its tournament nemesis, Happy Shirt. And Channel 6 couldn’t make its first Final Four appearance.

Yet for everything we’ve come to expect, this may very well be an unusual season.

A lot of familiar faces have moved on, retired, or simply left for another team. Long-time winner Chris Ford is looking to relegate his role. Wildman’s CJ is moving from 3B to 1B, for some weird reason. Chalmersiz’s Colin has joined Red Lyon. And the entirety of Das Boot, save myself, has retired.

Maybe, then, it just feels different for me. It’s certainly a change going from an established squad to a group of almost nothing but newcomers. But, hell—I’m up for a season in which I don’t have to worry, in the slightest, about preconceived expectations. Sure, it might be (re: will be) frustrating at times, like it can be for all teams—kinda like the Bagels early last year—but, hey, I’ve won more championships than Chalmersiz, Red Lyon, Channel 6, Muddy Waters, Hurtz D-Holes, and a loooooooot of other teams combined. I’ve earned a year of Fuck it let’s just see what happens.

Welcome back, asshatsᶰ! Love you all.

ᶰ : my colleague told me to write that.

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