Military Spouse Kickball Leagues Build Unit Camaraderie Outside Of Traditional Spouses Clubs

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Military Spouse Kickball Leagues Build Unit Camaraderie Outside Of Traditional Spouses Clubs

Picture it: Sassy ladies who play hard, get dirty and build a community based on love of the game. I mean, who wouldn’t like to live their own version of that Geena Davis/Tom Hanks classic?

via GIPHY

Except instead of a dirt-in-the-skirt slide into third, these ballers slam giant red kickballs deep into center field. Over on third, the base coach is letting the kicker know that she should try to send the ball toward first.

The ladies in the dugout are shouting salty encouragement.

And on the field, the players are shifting into position. They’ve heard the coach’s instructions and know that this player can deliver.

I’m naturally competitive and have played sports all my life, but joining a kickball league seemed kind of crazy. Still, I wanted the chance to have a montage, if only in my mind, to “This Used To Be My Playground.”

But just who are these ball-kicking military spouses?

Ladies Who Like To Kick Balls

Military spouse kickball leagues are popping up all over the place! I play in the Ladies of Okinawa Kickball League (LOOK), but there are leagues at many bases around the world.

These kickball leagues are not just for top-notch athletes. Anyone and everyone is encouraged to play! Granted, some teams and players do take the game very seriously. There are no prizes, so winning is mostly just for bragging rights or to fulfill an internal competitive urge.

Still, we all play super hard on game days and try our best at practices. It’s definitely not uncommon for players to come up with gnarly bruises from a hard slide into third. There’s always at least one jammed shoulder when a runner collides with an infielder.

Being In A Kickball League Brings Out The Kid In Me

I’ll admit, I’m no star on the kickball field. It’s taken me over two seasons to hone my kicking and catching skills. I’m just now feeling confident when I approach home plate and I no longer second-guess my ability to field a tricky kick.

I’m here for the fun of the game. And maybe to win once in a while.

Mostly, I’m here to build a community with my teammates. Over two seasons, that’s exactly what the Mavericks have done.

Military Spouse Kickball Leagues Build Unit Camaraderie Outside Of Traditional Spouses Clubs
Photo courtesy of Mavericks

In the dugout, we watch the pitcher and give last-minute advice before our teammate steps up to the plate. We rattle the fence and cheer her on. When she makes it to first base, we go wild. If our teammate is called out, we have a pep talk in the dugout before the next inning.

On the field, we pass the word about the other team’s kickers. The call goes out to move back for the ladies who can blast it or shift position based on the wind. We rub our hands in the infield dirt for a better grip on the ball, ready to snag the kick and throw it to second base for the out.

Being in competitive sports again brings out the kid in me!  I feel like I’m right back playing softball in town league. Except that drinking adult beverages is allowed.

Military Spouse Kickball Leagues Mix It Up With Camaraderie-Building Challenges

Each league has slightly different rules, but the basics are universal. Games mostly follow baseball and softball rules: strikes, balls, fair, foul. But there are definitely some key differences.

First, these teams are women only. Sorry, gents, if you want to play, you need to start your own kickball league. Most leagues are only open to military spouses, but some are opening up to female service members and DoD employees.

Each team is linked to a unit or shop on base. Teams are opened up first to ladies connected to that specific unit and then to anyone else. The whole idea is to build unit camaraderie outside of the traditional spouse clubs and social events.

Military Spouse Kickball Leagues Build Unit Camaraderie Outside Of Traditional Spouses Clubs
Photo courtesy of Mavericks

While the basic elements are mostly the same, kickball teams mix it up with fun rules and challenges. Some leagues require kickers and base runners to carry cups of water, trying not to spill a drop while they play, during one inning.

Many leagues also have seated positions on the field. Kickers try to hit the seats for extra points while fielding players do everything to keep the ball and themselves out of that area.

And only some leagues allow players to drink alcohol on or near the field.

The most important rule is to play hard and have fun. If you don’t leave with a little dirt on you, it hasn’t been a successful kickball day!

Military Spouse Kickball Leagues Build Unit Camaraderie Outside Of Traditional Spouses Clubs
Photo courtesy of Mavericks

Don’t forget there’s no crying in kickball.

via GIPHY

Ready To Join A Military Spouse Kickball League?

Competitive kickball leagues are gaining steam at military bases around the United States and the world! Reach out to a league near you. Here’s a list of 14 military spouse kickball leagues.

If you don’t see an opportunity near you, start your own! New leagues are always welcome under either Spouses Kickball Corps or the Military Spouse Kickball Association.

Does your duty station have a military spouse kickball league? Tell us why you play in the comments!

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