Baseball players have the crack of wood against a hard leather ball. Basketball players have the swoosh of an uninterrupted shot. But few sounds in the athletic world rival the deep bwing created when a foot squarely strikes a rubbery, 10-inch kickball. Adult interest in the game once reserved for preadolescence has been growing for several years, and Kansas City was at the forefront of the movement when the Midwest Sport and Social Club created its summer kickball league a few years ago. Later this month, the bwinging commences again.
League organizer Philip Steen says the club strives to provide opportunities in sports that locals may have played at the high school or college level -- the club's other summer sports include softball and sand volleyball. But the kickball league takes it back even further. "It's remembering the fun you had back in fourth grade," Steen says. "It's about reliving the past." But whereas winning fourth-grade teams might simply enjoy a laugh at the losers, winning teams in this league get free pitchers of beer at a local bar. There's no boozing during games, though -- all play takes place at Westport-Edison Middle School (300 East 39th Street).
The nine-week season starts July 23, and teams play every Wednesday evening. Call 816-221-3402 to register for $40 a person.-- Sarah Smarsh
Free hot dogs are too good to be true.
The Trinity Arts Guild celebration Banjos, Hot Dogs and Ice Cream has the makings of an outdoor, all-American good time. You will find, after all, that it involves banjos, hot dogs and ice cream, in spite of the cryptic event title. And it's scheduled during Fourth of July weekend. What more do you want? Blinking flag lapel pins? We've found some dirt, though: The hot dogs and ice cream are free. That just doesn't seem American. The Kansas City Banjo Band performance is free, too. The music starts at 2:30 p.m. at Memorial Gardens, on the northwest corner of White Oak and Main streets in Independence. Don't forget chairs or blankets. Call 816-254-0123 for more information. -- Smarsh