Competitive kickball

For a good number of people that play WAKA Kickball, it’s very much a social sport. They do it to meet new people (they become reunited with old friends in some cases) and to have fun. Many players continue socializing after the game at their local kickball bar, not only with their team but with other players from their league. Some of these teams want to do well in their games, while others are far from focused on the score.

There’s also a very competitive side to WAKA Kickball. Some teams are definitely in it to win—studying the game, employing different strategies and recruiting new players they think will help their team.

Each year over Columbus Day weekend, WAKA teams from around the country gather in Las Vegas for World Kickball Championship Weekend.

Two WAKA tournaments take place as part of the event: The competitive Founders Cup tournament, which is invitation-only and determines the World Kickball Champion. And, as of last year, there’s now The Kickball Games, which is more about fun and superlative awards than kickball competition.

Over on the new Kickball Today blog, a WAKA colleague interviewed the captain of one of the teams that has been invited to compete in this year’s Founders Cup tournament.

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from that interview with Lasalle Blanks, captain of The Situation, which plays in the VA Southside League in Hampton Roads, Virginia:

What I love about the Founders Cup (FC) is that you see the die-hard competitive, elite teams go at it and go at it hard (on the field, I mean).  We’re all obsessed with kickball and it shows when we’re all out there giving it our all. At one FC, someone told me it’s cool to finally not be considered “the too serious team” like they were back home. At FC, every team is “the serious team” back home – and it’s awesome. The competition gets intense but the respect for each other is amazing and that’s what’s awesome about the FC. It’s also very, very cool seeing old friends again from teams across the country.

And this, on when he won the Founders Cup in 2008 as a member of the team Frosty Balls:

Winning the Founders Cup World Kickball Championship is a freaking thrill. I still replay that final game over and over in my head. It’s something you never forget.

Here’s what competitive Founders Cup kickball looks like. This is video of the 2009 championship game — I especially enjoy some of the commentary:

There are also some nice cash prizes for this kickball tournament. The winner of Founders Cup this fall will get $10,000 cash plus other prizes, which is just part of over $20,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs during World Kickball Championship Weekend.

And I’m pretty excited it all happens in Vegas! I can’t wait to go.

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Pottermore, J.K. Rowling and making fans feel important and appreciated

Time will tell what Pottermore will be like, but J.K. Rowling shows how to make fans feel important with her video announcing the website. While promoting the new product, she spends a good deal of time saying thank you and crediting fans:

“I am still astonished and delighted by the response the stories met.”

“…Harry’s fans remain as enthusiastic and inventive as ever.”

“I’d like to take the opportunity to say thank you because no author could have asked for a more wonderful, diverse and loyal readership.”

And, with Pottermore, she says the fans will play a key role in the product itself:

“It’s the same story with a few crucial additions. The most important one is you. Just as the experience of reading requires that the imaginations of the author and reader work together to create the story, so Pottermore will be built in part by you the reader.”

If the product, which launches in October, is well-received, Pottermore may become a great example of how to further expand a franchise in a unique way to produce more revenue streams. With this announcement, it’s already delivered a nice example of good PR and how to treat customers.

Boston dodgeball

More exciting news on the work front…

After nearly 15 years in the kickball business, WAKA is branching out into another social sport. There’s a new post on the WAKA blog with details on our new dodgeball league in Boston. Please tell your friends in the Boston area to check it out. There’s a free pick-up game on Tuesday, July 12, 2011 and the season starts on Tuesday, July 26, 2011.

Website to identify Vancouver rioters

Smoke Over Vancouver

Image by Matthew Grapengieser via Flickr

A reason not to riot (just in case the resulting injuries and damage aren’t enough):

People have camera phones which they use to take pictures of you and then they post them to the web and ask for help identifying you so they can pass the information along to the Vancouver police: http://www.identifyrioters.com

Let’s hope that makes people think twice next time.

A blog about kickball

Some work related news…

Today we launched a kickball blog on the WAKA website. I’m really excited about this. Each post has social sharing options, so please visit and Tweet, Facebook it, etc. And there’s a sidebar menu item that allows you to find kickball leagues near you by zip code. We’ll be adding even more new features in the coming weeks. Check it out and keep coming back to it for fresh kickball-related content.

Customer service: “The sub is the bonus”

Jersey Mike's Subs

Image via Wikipedia

Jersey Mike’s, a sub shop I know from visiting my wife’s family in New Jersey, is opening a franchise not too far from where I live in Montgomery County, Maryland. I like this quote from their manager in a North Potomac Patch write-up on the new store: “We want to build friendly customer relationships that last. The sub is the bonus,” he said. It helps that Jersey Mike’s subs are good too, but I think this type of customer service philosophy is fantastic.