I played with WAKA in 1999, and when WAKA decided to let divisions run themselves, I was a division volunteer from 2000 to 2004 serving from everything as a team captain, referee, social organizer, and even division president. I saw the league go from one division with 12 teams and a $20 registration fee to a monster monopoly complete with paid employees and higher registration fees with little to no recognition of the volunteers it still relies so heavily on. Not even the divisions themselves receive the same profit the WAKA founders do. In the beginning, all dues went to was shirts and parties. Now they go to insurance, fees for fields in and out of D.C., permits, and the founders’ mortgages and 401Ks. Despite paying dues, and the sponsors paying for the uniform shirts, WAKA players still have to pay for admission for the parties that the volunteers organize. Many have asked for years where the $60 dues for 4 months of kickball are actually going.
I applaud Carter Rabasa for starting DCKickball. I got to know him when his WAKA division was just starting out in 2002, and I helped with the start-up of several of the D.C.-area divisions. Several members of my WAKA division team, Team Lush, which has had a presence in the Capital Division since 1998, played on a DCKickball team this past fall. They all had nothing but positive things to say about the organization.
After comparing the two, we felt DCKickball was really getting back to what adult kickball was for in the first place. It wasn’t about huge leagues or paid employees. It wasn’t about sponsorships or “non-compete clauses.” It wasn’t about where the rules came from. I’d like to know where my cut is from helping with the original rulebook in 2000 as a Capital Division board member.
Shame on the WAKA founders for losing sight of what they intended to do in 1998 and letting greed go to their heads. They have sucked all the fun out of being involved with the entire organization.
Whether or not I play this year, I’m proud to say DCKickball is where Team Lush will be playing during the summer 2006 season.