If you are looking for a fun, athletic, laid-back way to get into the sports scene in Jackson, the JAKASS league is a great place to find it.
Photo by Courtesy Michael Curran
It had all the pomp and circumstance of a regular season opening of a major professional league but with the tongue-in-cheek feel of a Monty Python skit. The opening of the inaugural season of the JAKASS—Jackson Adult Kickball and Social Services—league at the Lakeland Drive baseball fields had it all to start things off.
There was a stirring rendition of the National Anthem complete with forgotten words by Mandy Ferrington, much like Christina Aguilera at the Super Bowl, but it only added to the cheeky feel of the night. The fireworks consisted of leftover bottle rockets that weren’t all duds.
The only thing missing was someone climbing to the top of the press box and throwing a paper airplane in lieu of a real plane flyover.
The league is the brainchild of Michael Curran and Jennifer Breaux, who played in a Clinton league and came up with the idea for a Jackson adult kickball league one night eating tacos. “Michael came up with the idea of doing a league in Jackson and with Facebook to invite friends and get the word out it was easy to start a league,” Breaux says.
Using Facebook to start the league helped spread the word quickly, and the first season had 14 teams and 196 players—a pretty successful start for a new league based around a game most people haven’t played since junior high.
“The rules are a tweak of the ‘World Adult Kickball Association’ rulebook, but mostly it is like the kickball you played in elementary school,” Curran says. Teams must be between a maximum of 16 players and a minimum of 10 players.
To be eligible, at least as many female players as male must be present at each game.
Men aren’t allowed to bat back-to-back, although women can. To keep players from staying on the bench all game, 10 team members play on defense, but up to 12 can kick on offense. Any disputes are solved with rock, paper, scissors.
Players at bat are out if the ball they kick is caught in the air or they are struck with the ball running the base path.
It is illegal to hit players from the neck up for safety reasons.
Each game lasts five innings with three outs per inning. Of course, the team that scores the most runs wins.
All players pay a fee of $16 and sign an insurance waiver, although injuries aren’t typically a problem.
In its first year, the league was met with enthusiastic glee by adults in their 20s and 30s. Each team made up clever names and logos for their squads such as Country Fried Kickin’ and To Kick a Mockingbird. The names on the back of the jerseys reminded me of the failed XFL. Players got creative, using nicknames such as Kicki Minaj, Coop, Savish or Baby Jean.
Players wore just about anything from knee-high socks to costumes to lighten the mood even more. The league felt like a way to blow off steam each Monday night during the season.
After nine highly entertaining weeks of action, six teams were left standing in the league’s first-ever playoffs: Great Balls of Fire, Red Balls and Vodka, Suckleballs, Kickballaaaaaaz, Spider Monkeys and Kickalob Ultra. When the dust settled, Kickalob Ultra stood at the top of the Jackson kickball world as the champions.
Throughout the season, the league threw parties and, mostly, players remembered the league motto: Be fun, be social, be ridiculous … be a Jakass.
Curran and Breaux are already working to keep what was a hit this season and fix the rare misses by the first-year league. The two hope to have an even bigger, better, crazier second year of JAKASS.
If you are looking for a fun, athletic, laid-back way to get into the sports scene in Jackson, the JAKASS league is a great place to find it. I wouldn’t recommend this league if you approach every sport like it’s the Super Bowl or game seven of the World Series, but it is fun to watch even if you are not a part of all the action during the game.
If you are interested in playing in season two of the JAKASS kickball league, join the league’s Facebook page to keep track of all the offseason news and to learn when the next season starts.