Field Notes: This Local Kickball League is Kickin’ It Old School
Field Notes explores Honolulu’s vast and varied scenes and subcultures. This month: 808 Sports Leagues’ kickball league.
Photos: David Croxford
What is it
2017 marks the 10th anniversary of 808 Sports Leagues, which “Grand Pubaa of Awesomeness” Yvonne Jones founded in 2007 when she moved home to Honolulu after a few years away. “It’s a good way to meet other people, exercise and give back,” she says. Jones had played in recreational leagues on the Mainland and saw an opportunity here for people who want to play sports even if they’re not super athletic. She started with kickball, which is still the most popular league, with two seasons a year, and expanded to flag football, dodgeball and volleyball. “There’s definitely a cult following that plays all the sports,” says Jones, 37, who works as a consultant at Kaiser Permanente.
We attended a ’90s/Crazy Hat theme night during the spring season, with old-school jams pumping through stand-alone speakers, and players decked out in headwear ranging from Pikachu hats to Burger King crowns.
How it works
Players can sign up as individuals, in groups or as entire teams, in divisions including corporate, very casual, casual and ballers. A team registration fee of $900 covers up to 16 players, with additional players (up to 25) $20 each. For individuals not on a team, the cost ranges from $65 to $80. The fee goes toward shirts, park permits, equipment, official referees and parties.
Games are held once a week on either Monday or Wednesday evenings at seven different well-lit parks around Honolulu and last either seven innings or 50 minutes. The next season will be August through December.
One twist with this league? Each team receives a sportsmanship score to factor into the overall standings. “It promotes fun and team spirit,” Jones says. “If all else is equal, it might be that extra [boost].”
After the games, everyone is invited to a happy hour at either Rock Bottom Bar and Grill or Champs, which sponsor the league, along with beer sponsors Pacifico, Corona and Modelo. “The happy hours can be really fun,” Jones says. “Back in the day, we used to stay until 1 a.m.” There are beer specials and bar games, and it’s a great way for players to mingle off the field.
At the end of the season, the prize money, which is donated by sponsors, goes to a local charity of the winning team’s choice. More than $51,000 has been donated over the past decade.
The league targets working professionals 21 and older, for both networking and team building. “It’s hard to make friends after college,” Jones says, and the league provides a fun way to get involved in the community and meet new people. She says several couples have met through the league and are now engaged or married.
This past season, there were 29 kickball teams, with 550 people spread across three or four parks on any given game night. The average age is 24 to 34, though Jones said her father played when he was 65. Some of the people playing now have been part of the league for up to eight years.
Teams select their own names, which tend to go hard on the puns. A few this past season:
The Empire Kicks Back
Pitches Get Stitches
2 Legit 2 Kick
Fresh Kicks of Ball-Air
Pitch Better Have My Money
No bunting (men only)
No bouncy pitches
There must be a minimum number of women on the field or as part of a team at any given time
No pets or alcohol allowed at the park
Scott Murakami, 44
Landscape architect at PBR Hawai‘i, captain of team Can’t Get Past First Base
“The first year, we were undefeated. Our second year, we lost every single game. So we’ll see how it goes.”
Rochelle Felipe, 27
Works in escrow at Title Guaranty, team Title Garans Ball-Barans
“[This] was the easiest, craziest hat I could find—I did it in two minutes. Anybody can play, regardless of how good you think you might be at it.”
Noah Felipe, 25
Videographer, team Title Garans Ball-Barans
“I’m casually competitive. I’m just having fun, spending time with my wife and getting active.”
Registration is now open for the fall volleyball and kickball leagues: 808sportsleagues.com.