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CNN’s Stephanie Chen discovered adult kickball today. But somebody didn’t stick around for the post-game.

In her report, Chen argues that grown kickball enthusiasts hit the field in an attempt to reclaim their lost youth. Kickballers, Chen writes, hope to relive the experience of “fifth-graders during PE class in Sparks, Nevada.” As any veteran of adult kickball can tell you (don’t judge me: I went to like two games!), the bygone era kickballers are attempting to reclaim is college, and the real sports begins after the field is empty.

Chen mentions the words “beer” and “single” only once in her piece, but from my experience, these are far and away the most important elements of the adult kickball experience. “With players who are trapped in a world of layoffs and job freezes, these adult leagues, contests and tournaments are the equivalent of sandbox time for children,” she writes. “They can make new friends and go for a beer after the game.”

A beer? Talk about a write-around. How about 12 beers (Miller Lite) chugged quickly in succession after the game? The actual ball-kicking is just the first half of the Kickball Biathalon, traditionally completed by a flip-cup tournament. DCKickball’s Web site makes its priorities clear: “So we play kickball for 45 minutes and then we go to the bar for 4 hours.”

And those “new friends”? The technical term is “fuck-buddies.” From what I can tell, performance on the kickball field is little more than an elaborate flirting mechanism in order to aid young professionals in their mating activities.

Just listen to Chen’s characterization of the game: “Spongy red balls wait in a queue, separating two teams wired to smack their opponent. Within seconds, the players dip and dive like dolphins until one player stands alone, relishing in victory.”

Two teams wired to smack their opponent? With balls? Consider that impulse, 12 beers in, and just guess what kind of event competes the Kickball Triathalon. (Hint: there are sexy pirate costumes).

Picking your sex partner based on their proficiency at beaming other humans with huge balls may sound gross, unappetizing, and depressing—-a lot like the bar scene in general? I dropped out early on—-I was a fucking loser at kickball, worse at drinking 12 beers on a Tuesday, and really, really bad at tolerating 22-year-old fuckers initiating small talk by informing me that their jobs were “top secret.” But I do know two long-term couples who met through the adult kickball network. They’ve both since split—-perhaps adult relationships based on miming college life can’t last forever. But remember, eternal kids: Kickball fuck-buddies may come and go, but the DCKickball Flickr pool lives on.

Photo by phillipshannon