We had our first kickball game last night. Our team is the Ash Kickers. We all work at the American Society of Hematology, known as ASH for short. Thus the name. Hematology, acoording to the OED, which actually has it as hæmatology, is “[t]hat branch of animal physiology which relates to the blood.” We are the professional society of hematologists. I had submitted the name “Home Platelet.”

I arrived at the fields before anyone else on our team, having had the day off and thus coming separately, just before six p.m. No other Ash Kickers being around, naturally then I assumed I had screwed up and gone to the wrong place. But then the gang arrived. It took awhile for WAKA to get everyone organized and shirts handed out. Ash Kickers, latecomers to the league as we were, got no shirts yet. They likely will be tan, when they come in.

While waiting, Kate and Stephanie and Elisa warmed up and tossed and kicked the ball around. Stephanie promptly kicked the ball wildly, hitting members of some other team just standing around, immediately earning herself nickname of Danger Mouse. Everyone should get a nickname. Smart people will find a way to make up their own nickname. Stephanie doesn’t like her nickname.

We finally found out we were on field four, on the other side of 7th Street, playing the Layups. There were as yet only 3 Layups; clearly they’re even latercomers than Ash Kickers. And they received no shirts either, although they will apparently be getting pink. We Ash Kickers went over to the field to warm up. Charlie the Ref arrived, assessed the situation, and then immediately wandered over to a different field. The Layups finally got together enough people to play. WAKA League rules require at least four men and four women. Four women finally arrived, but then two of them promptly left and never played.

The Ash Kickers played very decent defense, everyone catching the ball remarkably well, Julie especially making a spectacular catch. Tait was a dynamo at tagging runners. Kyra pitched very well. We made only one major defensive error, by Elisa “Buckner” Shea at first base. I played catcher, but in fact touched the ball exactly twice. I did, however, fulfill the vital role of politely asking each batter (kicker?) their name and announcing them as they arrived to kick. There were John, Jack, Patrick, Cam, Chris, Karen and Sarah, that I remember.

The Layups won 2-0. Dawn, Laura and Elizabeth were fabulous troopers, watching the game, and in fact they were the only fans in attendance, despite the bone-chilling cold and wind. I left with them to take Laura and Elizabeth to the airport, while most of the rest of the team went to Kelly’s Irish Times to play the Layups in a drinking game called Flip Cup. Once again, the Ash Kickers lost.