There are just a few days left for Atlantans to secure their spots as part of the 2017 summer PRIDE Kickball League — registration for the season closes June 5.
“If you have two left feet, you can play kickball,” said Katie O’Brien, Atlanta marketing coordinator for GO Sports Unlimited. “It’s very similar with the rules and how you play to baseball. Obviously you’re kicking a ball and not batting, but you’re running bases.”
The PRIDE Kickball League started in 2014 as an offshoot of GO Sports’ regular lineup. Interested players can sign up as individual “free agents” to be added to existing teams, or can register as a whole group of 15 players. Upwards of 300 people play on the PRIDE league each spring, fall and summer season.
“With our LGBT league, we don’t have any gender rules. You don’t have to have a minimum of females or anything like that. You can have as many girls as you want or as many guys as you want,” O’Brien said.
Jerry Henderson, a PRIDE league player from Peachtree Corners. was already a regular on the GO Kickball league, and he continues to play both it and the PRIDE league.
“It’s not just for gay, lesbian, transgender and queer. It’s for those folks, as myself, and our allies, so it’s important for me to have a presence in the PRIDE league as well as the regular league to show that we’re all in this together, and we’re all the same no matter who they love,” Henderson said.
Chip Pecchio, a PRIDE league player from Brookhaven, said there’s an advantage to being able to play a sport without any fear or judgement.
“GO has created a great environment by providing a PRIDE league separate from their other leagues. There’s some other organizations that offer kickball, but … it’s just a different environment where you know you’re with like-minded people who are very accepting of who you are,” he said. “I enjoy sports and competition and wanted to get out and try something different. It had been 30-something years since I played kickball, why not try it again?”
He said kickball has a short season and encourages socializing.
“It’s a little bit competitive, but nobody takes it too seriously. Even the greatest athlete might have trouble kicking a kickball,” Pecchio said. “It’s something that is appealing to people of all skill levels and ages.”
Henderson said the PRIDE league is a great way for those new to Atlanta to get out and meet like-minded people who share similar interests.
“Out of all the social leagues they have … kickball seems like it’s an actual sport that you don’t have to be that good at to have fun. It brings you back to your old childhood memories,” he said.
Both Henderson and Pecchio have great memories of their time on the field, but a highlight of being on the PRIDE league is the social aspect. Games are usually followed up with a night out at Blake’s on the Park, a popular bar that sponsors the league.
“We had a karaoke night after games last season, where we all went over to Blake’s and got a microphone and all different people from the team singing together,” Pecchio said. “The games are fun and we have a good time, and it’s really great because I’ve made some new friends as a result.”