The ball soared into the air. The hometown centerfielder charged hard, dove, and made an extraordinary sliding snag, ending the inning to the raucous hoots and hollers of fans chugging Becks tallboys in the bleachers. More impressive than the catch itself was the fact that the fielder didn’t lose the cigarette dangling from his lips.
This amazing feat didn’t occur at last week’s final Osprey home game, but at Missoula’s first kickball all-star game Thursday evening at Kiwanis Park.
Le Kickball Missoula, a league co-founded by Betty’s Divine owner Aimee McQuilkin and manager Lael Gabrian, fielded a team of all-stars—two from each of the 10 teams in the league—to play Denver’s all-star squad, Big Dick Kickball. LKM, a league for fashionable kickball enthusiasts, is described by its founders as “90 percent fashion, 10 percent kickball.” And it showed.
The squad featured an eclectic mix of garb, everything from fuchsia mini-skirts and headbands to a man in goggles and a foot-tall Dr. Seuss-style hat shaped like a beer stein that read “Beer Me.” One young lady came to play in a black witch’s gown, complete with pointy hat.
During Missoula’s warm-ups, the Denver squad arrived firing Roman candles into the air as they darted onto the field to a chorus of boos, before dropping bombs exuding smoke that matched the color of their baby-blue “uni-suits.”
With the crowd properly riled up, the match commenced. BDK, whose slogan is “helps smokers and drinkers feel like athletes,” grabbed an early lead in the first inning and never lost it, despite a late-game rally from the zootown
Some speculated that BDK’s athletes may have been using performance enhancing drugs, to which second baseman Hector Cobian replied, “Taking HGH [Human Growth Hormone] is mandatory. Our balls are shriveled, but it’s worth the extra boost.”
Despite losing the match, McQuilkin was optimistic about the future of kickball in Missoula.
“It was a great learning experience,” she said. “After the game we took them out for drinks and they explained a lot of planning aspects of running a kickball league, such as the end-of-the-season party.”