Teams from St. Simons Island and Brunswick played their opening games of the season last week in Glynn County Recreation and Parks’ new kickball league.
Starting at 6 p.m., seven teams compete in Howard Coffin Park in Brunswick on Mondays and Wednesdays and four teams compete in Mallery Park on St. Simons Island on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Recreation and parks’ project manager Jordan C. Sasser said the program has drawn in a good crowd, somewhere around 180 to 190 people and 11 teams.
“There’s been a real interest from the community. I think a lot of people were waiting for something like this” Sasser said.
Many of the teams are composed of co-workers or friends, such as Thunder Cats Strike — made up primarily of Glynn County employees — and Let’s Kick It — mostly members of a men’s morning workout group, called F3.
“It was fun. We lost (Wednesday night). We’re not a big fan of that, but the games were well-played,” said Matthew Kent, a member of Thunder Cats Strike.
A low barrier to entry opens the door to nearly anyone, he said.
“Anyone can play. Baseball, you have to have your glove, you have to have some skill seeing a small white ball in the air in hitting it and pitching it. Kickball, there’s some skill involved, but the standard of skill is much lower than in other sports,” Kent said. “Some people will look at kickball and say ‘that’s not a real sport,’ but anyone can play and it's fun.”
Thunder Cats’ team leader, Dhwani Patel, said she and others got into it for the social aspect.
“We just wanted to do something where we hang out with friends outside of work. Sometimes you get into the monotony of work and home, and this helps break that up,” Patel said.
Andrew Turner, leader of St. Simons Island team Let’s Kick It, said their games have been much more competitive than he expected.
“We knew my team was going to be real competitive. We’ve got a lot of young people. I’m the oldest one on the team, and I’m 31,” Turner said.
Kickball is a sport everyone can participate in, he said, and many of older team members on other teams have gotten into it.
“It gets real competitive, I guess it takes people back to their school and college days,” Turner said. “... Tons of people are coming out there just to watch. Families are coming with their kids, families, co-workers.”
After the current season ends in November, Sasser said recreation and parks staff will look at how it went and decide what to change for the next, if there is one.
“We’ll probably send out a survey to see what we can do better, and then discuss and see what we want to do about offering a league in future,” Sasser said.
Recreation and Parks Manager Lisa Gurganus said there’s a good chance of another season.
“I think there will be, based on me being out to the field and seeing how much fun people are having,” Gurganus said.
The league will also likely bring in some revenue for the county, Gurganus said.
“(The cost is) minimal, because of our staff that’s out there supervising the program are keeping the score,” Gurganus said.
The money for an umpire, kickballs and possibly trophies will come from the county’s adult sports budget, but the money the recreation and parks has collected from registration fees — $20 per person — will likely cover all that and more.
Any money the department makes from the program goes into the county’s overall general fund, Gurganus said.
Teams assigned to Mallery and Howard Coffin parks will play against each other until later this month when they come together for a tournament in Howard Coffin Park.
The 11 teams will face off in single-elimination from Oct. 24-Nov. 14. The teams are set for the season, according to Sasser.
For information on starting or joining a team in the next season, call Glynn County’s recreation and parks office at 912-554-7780.
Gurganus said recreation and parks is always looking for interest in new programs. She said to keep an eye on the department’s Facebook page — facebook.com/glynnrec — for more information.