It's happening in Brooklyn. Manhattan is all over it. And now it's come to Long Island. Kickball is the latest sport trend for adults that brings back the fun of elementary school, minus the awkwardness and humiliation.
"People have been waiting for this," says Sal Farruggia, 27, of Glen Cove, who partnered with the City of Glen Cove's parks and recreation department to form the LI-KICK league now playing games two nights a week.
Not a jock? No worries -- kickball doesn't segregate by age or skill level.
"It doesn't require a ton of athleticism," Farruggia explains. "The worst player doesn't bring down a team, and the best player can't dominate a team. Everyone is kind of on the same level."
ON THE FIELD
On opening night under the lights at John Maccarone Memorial Stadium in Glen Cove, the air was chilly, but that didn't extinguish anyone's spirit.
"Our team is wild and free," says Zak Korman, 27, of Glen Cove, whose black-shirted team of 20-somethings spent their time on the sidelines, dancing to Icona Pop's "I Love It." "We kind of let it all hang out."
The team, dubbed Jessie Spano's Caffeine Pills after an episode of "Saved by the Bell," faced off against the Silver Sluggers, whose age range is 38 to 68.
"Our ages are slightly higher than some of these little chickies," says Maggie Warner, 68, of Glen Cove. "I'm the senior member of the league and perhaps the oldest living kickball player."
First baseman Bill Byrne, 46, of Glen Cove kicked the Sluggers' first home run of the season. "It felt great going opposite field," he says. "I'm turning on the jets after that."
The team in black caught up, and as the game got tight, players started to zone in on what works on the field.
"The key is not to pop up," says JSCP's Danny Azarnejad, 32, of Glen Cove. "You want to get some distance on that ball with spin."
The game itself follows rules much like baseball, except there are no strikeouts, and the ball is pitched slowly. A 10th team member plays the "rover" position in shallow outfield. Games last seven innings -- about an hour. Over the nine-week season, teams are planning a barbecue and postgame social activities.
Farruggia was on the sidelines, watching the league click on the first night. "I can't tell who is winning because everybody is cheering so loud," he says. "I think this going to be a hit." A fall season is already being planned.
Farruggia's initial goal was to form four teams of 60 people by spreading the word via social media. Within two months, he doubled it, drawing players from out east in Babylon and as far west as Manhattan.
Among them: Roslyn native Jen Sales, 26, who travels from Manhattan just to play.
"This is a good way to get together with my friends on Long Island," she says. "There are not that many exciting sports that you can keep playing as an adult."
Growing up in Brooklyn, Tony Chiofolo, 58, of New Hyde Park never played kickball -- until now. "We played stickball," he says. "I thought this would be a great thing to take off my bucket list."
WHEN | WHERE 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through June 20, John Maccarone Memorial Stadium, Glen Cove. Teams are forming now for the fall season.
INFO 516-676-3766, li-kick.com