- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Five years ago, David Lowry and three friends — Johnny LeHane, Jimmy Walicek and Rich Humphrey — were drinking beer and kidding around at Kelly’s Irish Times when they started joking about starting a kickball team. But the joking didn’t last long and the four friends soon had eight teams and 150 players competing in the World Adult Kickball Association they formed.

The following year, word of mouth doubled the number of players and teams. And each year, the number of players has doubled. Now, WAKA has 5,000 people playing in 16 states and plans to start divisions nationwide. It is starting new divisions in Arlington and Bethesda, and it has a federation in India

In fact, WAKA has expanded enough that it has two full-time employees, Mr. Lowry and Mr. Walicek.

“Last year, it got to a point where there was just so much going on and so much logistics that had to be dealt with, that we decided we had to have full-time people to deal with it,” says Mr. Lowry, a Reston resident. “The WAKA takes up all of my time night and day and weekends, too.”

Each WAKA division is run like a club and has its own president, vice president and board of directors. Every division is also a non-profit group that has its own charity and mid-season and end-of-season parties and awards ceremonies.

Mr. Lowry says most kickballers are young professionals. Some, however, are older, especially in the suburbs, and sometimes bring their children out to games.

“It’s really funny to have a kid watch their parents play and they’re not allowed to play,” says Mr. Lowry, who received a letter from a 78-year-old Tampa woman who may start playing kickball there.

Mr. Lowry has been so busy managing WAKA that he has not gotten a chance to play kickball this season. “I miss it,” he says. “I can’t wait till the fall season starts to get in a game.”

People who wish to join WAKA can e-mail Mr. Lowry directly at info@worldkickball.com or can register on WAKA’s Web site at www.worldkickball.com.

Those who want to see a game first can sample some of those played at the Washington Monument at these times:

• D.C. Star Division: 6 and 6:45 p.m. Sundays

• D.C. Constitution, D.C. Potomac and D.C. Independence divisions: 6:30 and 7:15 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays

• D.C. Capital and D.C. Federal divisions: 6:30 and 7:15 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays

Ed Turner

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