Archive for December, 2008

Columbus Kickball Leagues

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

During your days in elementary school, do you remember playing a game where you kicked a ball and ran around the bases? Almost everyone has childhood memories of playing kickball in gym class, but did you ever imagine playing kickball as an organized sport?

Kickball is played with four bases – but instead of someone pitching a ball to someone at home plate – the ball is rolled and the “batter” uses his or her feet to kick the ball and run around the bases to score runs. It’s similar in many ways to baseball, but with some different rules to maximize enjoyment instead of competition.

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The Columbus Arena District Kickball league is an 18 and up co-ed summer league that begins in June and with the playoffs continues through Labor Day Weekend. The league games are played on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights at McFerson Fields between McFerson Commons, the three acre park anchored by the Union Station Arch between Nationwide Boulevard and Spring Street. The league’s age range is for young adults’ between the ages of 23 through 38. The league is about 50% competition and about 50% fun.

The league consists of 39 teams divided into 3 divisions that play on their division day of Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday night. The playoff format this year is a sweet 16 single elimination tournament. The top 5 teams from each division and the team with the best record remaining make the playoffs. The first round games of the playoffs start on Tuesday, August 26th, Wednesday August 27th, and Thursday August 28th. After the first round of the playoffs, the 8 teams that won will advance to the second round games on Tuesday, September 2nd. Two days later, on Thursday, September 4th, the final four will be played followed by a championship game as well as a consolation game. The winner of the playoffs for the Arena District League receives a trophy and plays the winner of the playoffs from the Statehouse Lawn League.

Thirty-three year old Joe Polshaw, a corporate recruiter for American Electric Power from Grandview Heights on team R-BAR, has been playing kickball for three years. He noted, “I continue to play because it is convenient and it is near social hot spots. I would only play in the downtown league.” Assistant Commissioner Steve Levert, remarks, “It is a great activity for people after work.”

People come together and organize their own teams. Many of the team names are humorous, such as “Drunk Again & Looking to Score”, “Saved by the Balls”, and “Stoned Pizza.”

Twenty-eight year old Ryan Garrison from Hilliard has been playing kickball for three years with the Saved by the Balls team. When asked if there was anything he disliked about kickball, Garrison said, “I don’t like the can’t slide rule.” The rule is that if any player intentionally slides, it will result in an out.

Over last few years, the team members on Saved by the Balls have stuck together. Before playing kickball, most of the team members knew each other during their days as students at Ohio University. The team has only lost two games in the last three years, but has never won the playoffs.

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Any team in the Arena District Kickball League can have up to a maximum of 24 players on a team. There are a total of 10 players on the field. The minimum number of players on the field is 8, and 4 of those players must be female. The kickball league games are either 7 innings or 45 minutes. Five innings is a complete game. The kickball games have a minimum of at least 1 umpire from the Arena Club staff. There is a limit of 20 runs per inning per team, except for the last inning. If a team is winning by more than 20 runs after four innings, the “Mercy Rule” applies and the game is concluded.

When a team wins, it receives 3 points in calculating the standings. If a team ties it receives 1 point, and a loss results in 0 points.

This Arena District Kickball League began in 2005 with 16 teams. The league has expanded substantially this year with 39 teams playing on three fields. Some of the games this year have been rescheduled and played as make-up games in August.

In the standings, the current first place leaders are Killer Balls of Tuesdays League, Stoned Pizza of Wednesdays League, and undefeated 8-0 R-Bar of Thursdays League.

Columbus Cricket Club

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

It looks a little like a cross between baseball and field hockey, but it is one of the most popular sports in India (a nation with a population 5 times that of the United States). You probably won’t read about it in the Columbus Dispatch, but right here in central Ohio there are actually competitive teams playing cricket, such as the Columbus Cricket Club, Gahanna Cricket Club, and Ohio State University Cricket Club.

“Most people don’t know about it and not enough advertising on TV and paper,” states Bharat Jataprolu, one of the founding members of the Columbus Cricket Club. “If it gets more exposure, it will become more popular and people will pick up on the rules.”

Founded in 1998, the Columbus Cricket Club (CCC) is a competitive men’s league that begins in June and ends in September. Most of the players are aged from the mid-twenties to early thirties. The club practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30 pm at Emerald Fields in Dublin, Ohio. On weekends, they travel to play other Cricket Clubs in different states and cities. The CCC has performed well thus far, winning 7 of 8 league games.

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The quickest explanation of cricket is it’s a game with two teams of 11 members each that is played on a field having two “wickets” 22 yards apart. The objective is to score the most runs by batting the ball far enough so that one is enabled to exchange wickets before the ball is recovered. Cricket games are played in two innings, but the (CCC) games typically last 5-7 hours.

A wicket is a set of stumps and bails; the pitch; or the dismissal of a batsman. A batsman is a player on the batting side, or a player whose specialty is batting. This is a more detailed explanation for the rules of Cricket.

There are people that have played Cricket, such as Hari Sundram, captain of the team, who has played Cricket since he was four. “I love Cricket and it is comparable to soccer in Latin America, asserts Bharat Jataprolu. It’s like a religion. People skip work, school, etc.”

There aren’t many American adults that play Cricket. The Cricket Club teams are comprised mainly of people from Indian and Pakistani heritage.

“Most American adults are reluctant to pick it up because they didn’t grow up with it,” states Jataprolu.

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When asked why they continue to play cricket, instead of picking up baseball, Suhas Londhe, president of the Columbus Cricket Club answered, “Most of us are from India and grew up with Cricket. We are really passionate about Cricket and didn’t grow up with baseball.”

On the other hand, Bharat Jataprolu and several others have tried playing softball. “I tried playing softball and wasn’t good at it, exclaims Bharat. I didn’t grow up with baseball.”

                       

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A cricket bat, front and back.                                           A typical cricket field

        

Columbus Tour de Cure Cycling Event

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

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In June this past summer, the Tour de Cure cycling event took place in Columbus, Ohio. The start and finish line for the Columbus event was at Westerville Central High School. The Tour de Cure is a series of fundraising bicycle rides in 40 states for individual riders and teams to help benefit the American Diabetic Association. The tour in Columbus featured over 43 teams, sponsors, and different riders to help raise funds for finding a cure for diabetes.

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Registration for the Tour de Cure

In only his first year, Jarrod Weiss, the Tour de Cure director, said “We met our goal with 380 riders. Some of the teams are pretty big.” The Tour de Cure would not have been successful without all the volunteers, planning committees and sponsorships.

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Members of Team Think Urban

Roy Burnhm, a Columbus Outdoor Pursuit Bicycle leader who has been on the Tour de Cure Committee since 1999, did the logistics and route planning of the event. Not only has he volunteered, but has rode in a few tours such as Cleveland, Ohio; Buffalo, New York; St Louis, Missouri and Madison, Wisconsin. Roy remarked, “The tour has really helped people with this particular disease and challenged them by exercising. The tour helps people live better lives by riders.”

Burnhm and others fulfill the advocacy role for newly diagnosed diabetics. They talk to Senators in Ohio and try to make health-care affordable for all diabetics under State mandated plan called the Diabetes Cost Reduction Act (DCRA).

Scott Herman and Sharon Cotter, members of team Starbucks, completed the 30 mile tour in a little over 2 hours. Herman and Cotter commented, “The money raised goes to diabetes and Starbucks matches. We would do it again but start training earlier because were pretty tired. The wind kicked up a few hills and made it tougher. The layout of the tour was nice, nice scenery and not a lot of traffic.”

The Tour de Cure offered different length rides for the each type of rider. The lengths of Saturday’s rides were 12, 30, 60, and 100 miles. The tour started at Westerville Central High School, went through Gelena, Sunberry, Centerburg, Johnstown, and all the way back to Westerville Central High School.

Frank Hall, a member of Cops and Westerville Bike Club — in his 7th year riding –said, “This year it was hotter, well marked, well supported, and got a lot of volunteers. It was flat and hilly and a good challenge.”

The people who came out to participate in the Tour de Cure Saturday were different type of riders. Some of the riders were avid cyclists, some were recreational, some came out because it was a local event, and others just came out to ride with their families.

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The Vergara Family after the Tour de Cure

The Vergara family decided to do the Tour de Cure because they wanted to do something as family and grandpa had diabetes. The Vergara family remarked, “It was a good fun family ride. It was a big adventure.”

Avid cyclists like Frank Daughtery, captain of the 45-member Team Roll, rides about 3,000 miles a year. He is a member of the Westerville Bike Club and on the Planning Committee, and he completed the 60 mile ride on a fixed gear in only 3 hours and 30 minutes.

“I am shocked at the donation of money to sponsor me and I am shocked with the impact of diabetes. I did it on a fixed gear and it wasn’t anything easy,” asserts Daughtery. “Having food and a tent is a huge improvement and is making it to the next level. The long term goal is making it a health fair day.”

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Cute young girls on the ride as well