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Philadelphia Loves Kickball
 
  by: Rebel - Havertown, PA
started: 07/05/11 11:25 am | updated: 07/05/11 11:25 am
 
The 4th of July has come and gone but kickball is here to stay. One of the favorite summertime neighborhood games of youth is seeing a resurgence among adults in Philadelphia.

It is now selling out rec leagues and dominating field reservations year-round in the city and across the globe.

Kickball plays like softball's demented little brother. The pitcher rolls a large, bouncy ball toward a kicker, rather than a batter. When the ball is kicked into play, fielders may use it to bean baserunners to get an out. Bunting is strictly prohibited.

Some players say it is more a social gathering than an athletic contest, often just a beer league that is an homage to the days of recess and gym class.

According to Jason Cooper, codirector of Philadelphia Sports Network, a recreational sports group. "We were shocked with the success of kickball. It's one of our most popular sports now."
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Recreational leagues have kickball seasons year-round, charging about $50 per player per season. Depending on the league, teams register about 20 players each, with up to 36 teams playing in a given season.

Philadelphia's fields help breed a culture of kickball. Designed for Little League games, they are often too small for adult softball.

Offices and groups of friends sometimes field teams of their own, but much of kickball's new popularity is due to individual players looking to make new friends. With recent graduates on the move to land any job they can get, many are finding themselves in new towns with few friends.

Ray Smith, chief executive officer of the World Adult Kickball Association, said the game's ease encourages socializing more than other sports.
"It's like real-life social networking," he said.
 
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