NZ's Only Kickball League Fights To Play On
Aotearoa's first and only adult kickball league is fighting into overtime to save their sport. North Shore-based asscassc (ASSC) has run the only kickball league in the country for the past two years, but they will be forced to close if they can't recruit more players by January 22.
Kickball is a popular sport in North America and closely resembles softball, only with oversized, bouncy red balls that each player kicks instead of using a bat. The game is well suited to beginners and those who aren't particularly athletic, and it's ideal for anyone looking to join a no-contact sport.
ASSC co-founder Jessica Williams says that playing kickball is a fantastic way to "be a kid again" and have fun on the field.
"Kickball is for everyone," she says. "You don't have to be really sporty or super fit to play - we have players of all shapes, sizes and abilities, and you learn as you play. Like any sport, we can be competitive, but the point of the game is to have fun."
With kickball being so new to New Zealand, Jessica says that few people know about the sport, and dwindling sign-ups forced her last week to scrap the entire league. But when she announced the closure on social media, a dedicated group of existing players leapt into action to save the sport they love, creating posters, posting all over social media, organisaing a "try it out" game on January 21, and even filming a funny and self-deprecating promotional video.
"It's amazing to see how much everyone cares about kickball and wants to keep it going," Jessica says. "We've pushed back the start of the season by one week to January 22, to see if we can get enough players. If we pull this off, it'll be incredible."
Action Sports and Social Club was founded in 2019 by Americans Jessica and Anthony Williams after they immigrated to New Zealand from Florida. The couple says it is their passion to introduce Kiwis to the fun of kickball, and they've set up the league to cater to the social side of things as much as to the sports.
"The social aspect of the league is a lifeline for some of our players," Jessica says. "We get silly and dress up for things like Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day, and everyone is encouraged to head to our sponsor bar, New Brew, after the games for discounted drinks and food. It's a great excuse to get out and see your friends during the week and get some exercise at the same time."
ASSC is holding a "try it out" game on Sunday, January 21 at 6:30pm at Rosedale Park (meeting at the main clubhouse). Adult players 18+ of any skill level and athletic ability are welcome.
If the team pulls off their miracle, the summer season of ASSC Kickball will start on January 22. Games are played Monday evenings at Rosedale Park in Albany, with start times of either 6:30 or 7:30pm.
Players can sign up now at kickball.co.nz.