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Largo adults get kicks from childhood game

If football fields are for the rough and tough, kickball fields are for the young at heart.

"Out here you can be goofy," said 30-year-old Justin Taylor. "You can be a kid again."

Justin is a member of the Bust N Balls, which faced off against the Playground Bullies at Whitesell Softball Complex field in Largo Thursday night.

The teams are part of an adult kickball league organized by the city of Largo's parks and recreation department.

The men and women on both teams revert to a time when recess and naps were staples of daily life, a time when the space between bases seemed much bigger and the risk for getting hurt much smaller.

Justin's younger brother, Aaron, 28, is also on the team. Aaron says his co-workers make fun of him for his newfound hobby. But he said he doesn't play to be cool. He does it to have fun.

"If you come out to play kickball and you don't have a good time," Aaron said, "there's something wrong with you."

Kickball among adults isn't unusual, at least not in Largo, said recreation leader Kyle Stegeman. He helps oversee four adult teams, which total 45 to 50 players.

"C'mon!" Aaron cheered from the dugout, as his team prepared to switch players.

Heather Graves, 33, spent much of last Thursday's game rolling a water bottle over her legs. She had pulled both quads.

"This is only the second team sports game I've played since middle school," she said, laughing. "The first one was last week."

With Graves out, others from the Playground Bullies had to step up, like Joe Taddonio, 32, who's known as "Wheels" on the field. He often zips around the bases, scoring points and adding a competitive edge to the game.

It's been decades since his teammate, Georgia Wildrick, first played kickball. At 61, she said she plays to stay young, get out of the house and meet people who aren't her age.

As the game ended, she pressed her face against the metal fence overlooking the field and shouted "Go, go!" to one of her teammates.

Her team lost, 13-4. The players lined up and high-fived, readying themselves to resume life as adults who go to bars after games, and as parents who have to put their own kids to bed.

Next week, the adults can return to their playground.

Where: Whitesell Softball Complex, 12555 119th St. • Hours: 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursdays

>>to learn more

Want to play?

For more information, contact Kyle Stegeman at (727) 518-3092 or kstegema@largo.com.

Largo adults get kicks from childhood game 03/29/08 [Last modified: Saturday, March 29, 2008 6:04am]
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