An innovative idea to raise money for charity might have the unintended consequence of destroying the much-cherished integrity of Brooklyn’s premier kickball league.
On the last game of the season, Sept. 5, the Brooklyn Kickball League will permit teams to buy runs for $10 each, with all proceeds directed to the Greenpoint Reformed Church’s soup kitchen.
The integrity-crushing fundraiser will finally allow teams such as the lowly Sugar Tits! one shining moment to topple behemoths such as Brooklyn United and Never Scared if the team can scrounge enough dough.
Greenpoint Reformed Pastor Ann Kansfield proposed the idea last month after League Commissioner Kevin “Commish” Dailey expressed an interest in raising money to help the Protestant church’s widely praised emergency food program.
When Dailey brought the notion back to his league, the response from players was uniformly positive.
“I haven’t heard anyone object, and a lot of people have said that this is the best idea they’ve ever heard,” said Dailey. “Some ideas click in your head, and feel perfect and this is one of them.”
But Dailey acknowledged that the very integrity of the noble sport of kickball could forever be tainted by the pay-to-play plan.
Indeed, during the Civil War draft riots, parts of the city were burned to the ground over less. But Dailey had his own spin.
“It’s an homage to George Steinbrenner,” said Dailey. “Never Scared has just as much power to buy runs as Sugar Tits!”
He also pointed out that since every team is invited to the playoffs, the only result of the cash-for-runs scheme could be slightly different first-round matchups.
Over the years, the league has had its bumps and setbacks, from a tussle with the Parks Department over tree plantings in its outfield to the arrest of a well-known player from Los Pirates who brought a machete through a Macy’s department store.
But the integrity of the game, this game of Adonises in short shorts, was never questioned — until now.
Some kickball players, such as Lobos all-star Neil “Managing Editor” Rabinowitz aren’t thrilled about the idea of some teams buying what they have not been able to produce fair and square.
“When he asked me about it, I told him I wasn’t down with the idea, but had no intentions to say, ‘Don’t do it,’” said Rabinowitz. “Charity causes are great, but there are probably better ways to raise money. We will see how it goes, I presume.”
Dailey thinks that critics should stop worrying about the sanctity of kickball and instead focus on banding together to do something for the common good — helping Greenpoint’s homeless men and women who sleep in the park’s benches and sometimes watch kickball games.
“We should show the perspective of what amateur sports is about — having a good time and banding together to do something for our common good, in this case helping starving people in our neighborhood,” said Dailey. “For $100, the church can buy 25 cases of Progresso soup. That’s a lot!”
And for $100, Sugar Tits! gets to beat Brooklyn United.
Brooklyn Kickball at McCarren Park ball fields (Bedford Street at N. 14th Street), Sundays 1–11 pm.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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