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The History of Kickball - It's Not Just For Kids

By Edited Jun 1, 2016 0 1

We've all heard and probably played kickball

But where did it come from?

Football, basketball, and baseball are normally what we think of when a sports discussion starts.  However, there are several other sports that you may not have known even exist in mainstream.  One of the best games of childhood was a game called kickball.  Ask any child of the 70’s and 80’s and they will have a big smile just remember how much fun playing that game was.  Well that game has evolved into a sport enjoyed even today by thousands of adults.

Where Did It Start?

Kickball is a playground game that came along in the US in the early 20th century.  The game was first called Kick Baseball in 1917 when it was invented.  Nicholas Suess, came up with the sport as a way to teach kids the basics of baseball.  For schools with no funding for sporting equipment, kickball was a cheap way to provide kids with exercise and a team sport.  In the beginning the teams were much larger with 10 to 30 children playing and sides were only switched after all players got their chance to kick the ball. 

In 1994, Christopher Noxon and some friends started playing the game in their neighborhood.  For him and his friends it was a game for those professionals that wanted to enjoy a pickup game and get over the hangovers of the night before.  He saw the sport grow and realized the potential of bringing this childhood game into the adult realm.  He was so enamored with the game that he wrote a book called “Rejuvenile:   Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes and the Reinvention of the American grown up.”  He believes the sport; only once important to children, gives us all a chance to be kids again.

Forming the Kickball Association

Well welcome to th

e WAKA (World Adult Kickball Association).  Believe it or not such a sports league actually exists.  This league was established in Washington D.C. in 1998.  Many lovers of the sport decided to form this league for those that were still young at heart and enjoyed the game of Kickball.  The friends also believed it would be a great way for people to meet and so the league was born.  Now here we are fifteen years later with leagues in more than 20 states, over 1000 teams and 100 divisions.  This adds up to over 20k players throughout the US and a World Kickball Championship held in Las Vegas every year.  Even the Marine Corps at one point in Iraq had a league named the Iraq Semper Fi Division.

 The Game

The game is much like you remember it from childhood.  It consists of using one big red ball, two teams, and four bases.  Sounds a lot like baseball doesn’t it?  Well the sports are actually similar because in order to win a Kickball game; your team must score the most points.  According to the official rules of the game; you have 11 fielders, and two base coaches.  You kick the ball and run around the bases as fast as you can.  Three outs and you change places with the outfield team.  The game has only 5 innings though; which is much shorter than the 9 innings of baseball.  No shots to the head or bunting are allowed in the game. 

In order to participate in the league a player has to be at least twenty one years of age before their first game.  They also must have appropriate health insurance in case of any injury during play.  They must also have completed their league registration.  If any of these requirements are not met a potential player is unable to play kickball in the league.


Kickball is an amazing sport that is made for us adults that want to stay active and have fun doing it.  It’s an opportunity for us to meet people and try something we have been participating in since we were children.  If you think you may be interested in learning more about Kickball; do yourself a favor and check of the WAKA website.  They have great information about the sport and ways for you to start a league of your own.  Even if this is not something you want to do on a professional basis, go out and buy a big ball, put some bases out in the yard and go for it.  Our children know very little about this game, so this gives you a chance to share something new with them and get a little exercise too.  What more could you ask for then that?

How To Play Kickball



Sep 23, 2012 8:51pm
I can remember playing kickball when I was little. I loved the game. I wasn't the best at it but I would get lucky and really kick the heck out of it. The history part of the article was really neat. I did not know it originated in the US or that is was called kick baseball. Thanks for the article.
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