Most city and recreational parks opened their gates to children this past spring to resume baseball and softball action following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grenada Parks and Recreation Department Director John Body had already been looking at adding another program for adults, which had just softball available at the time. So, he went back to a suggestion given to him by his daughter, Jasmine, and began to talk about kickball.
The younger Body got the idea while working with the United Way in the Starkville/Columbus area where the sport is very popular.
That’s right kickball. It is the sport that most youngsters played on school playgrounds. It’s the same game that is played similar to baseball, but with a much bigger ball.
“My daughter told us about how popular kickball is in the Starkville and Columbus with leagues playing,” Body said. “My assistant (Marcus Smith) and I researched the game and its rules on YouTube. We decided that we would do a trial run of the sport in July and see how it goes.”
The response was beyond what Body and Smith ever thought it would be. The initial signup featured a total of six teams and 150 participants wanting to be part of the league. On opening day, the number was just a little smaller with 100 playing – still a nice surprise.
“I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say I was surprised with the number of people we have playing,” Body said. “The best thing I like about it is we have all races taking part.”
Play continues through July with a postseason tournament set for August with trophies awarded. Currently, games are played twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays for both kickball and softball.
Officials are looking at the possibility of adding, in the future, soccer and volleyball, according to Body.
Kickball rules are similar to rules for baseball and softball. Each team plays with nine players with four limited to the outfield. A runner can be retired by being hit, just not in the face.
Other rules include three foul balls are considered an out. Games are one hour or seven innings.