Some sports are way more enjoyable to play socially than others – and kickball is right up there for blatantly camp fun. It’s a bit like baseball, with pitches (well, rolls), strikes and bases, but instead of swinging a bat, you kick the ball to send it flying, then run, prance, skip to get to first base or further.
The big equalizer in this game is a super bouncy ball, 10 inches in diameter and bright red. You can’t miss it. Or you can. It doesn’t matter.
“When you kick it, you look like a soccer superstar,” says James E Shields III (he/him) aka JES, director of Stakeholder Management and Engagement for Emerald City Kickball. “Then when you’re fielding, you think you’re going to catch it with your hands, and it bounces off your chest six meters in a different direction – it’s just a big goofy sporting environment.”
It really doesn’t matter if you’ve played a whole lot of sport at whatever level, or hardly any. The aim of this game is inclusiveness.
“Emerald City Kickball is for everyone who wants to have fun playing social team sports with other queer people,” explains Jamarr Mills (he/him), Director of Marketing and Communications at Emerald City Kickball.
“It’s nothing like those flashbacks to school or those awkward moments on Drag Race where someone is picked last. We create space for everyone to play: you can let down your walls in our league, get some exercise and have fun – it’s also super camp!”
Get some exercise and have fun – it’s also super camp!
Sure, some other sports uniforms are kind of camp already. Or pulse-raising hot. Kickball uniforms can be either or both, if you want, because everyone who plays is encouraged to personalise their outfit. You could take scissors to the team T-shirt if you want to wear less or add your own accessories: check out the photos at kickball.com.au and you’ll see a beautiful diversity of looks.
“It’s about celebrating individual identity,” says James. “At the start of the season the first activity is a social meet up to decorate jerseys with glitter, beads, pom poms and all kinds of stuff.”
“We also make sure we’re facilitating things for different people across the broad LGBTQIA spectrum,” adds Jamarr. “Like having drills at training where you’re throwing the ball in the air to someone and practicing each other’s names and pronouns. We’re creating spaces that are accessible, safe, and positive.”
This social inclusiveness is at the proudly big queer heart of Emerald City Kickball: in Spring 2020, Covid restrictions meant it wasn’t easy to socialise with friends or meet new people… unless you met up to exercise outdoors.
“We started the club as a way for a bunch of queer people to hang out and connect at a time where we desperately needed that connection,” remembers Jamarr.
“Kickball gave us the aspect of fun, mental health and physical health benefits and a way to continue to express ourselves as colourfully as we can, which we often love to do.”
A kickball demonstration will be happening at Fresh Out Fair Day, 10am – 4pm, Saturday 11 March at Glebe Park, Coranderrk Street, Civic.