Happy New Year!

Where is the Commissioner’s Poll? Why didn’t Santa deliver my most desired wish? Will it come before the end of the year!? Well, ladies and gentleman. I hope I’ve succeeded in peeking your anticipation, yet not disappointing. What better way to turn the year than recapping how we finished 2016 and setting some cheesy Kickball New Year’s Resolution to go along with every team? Now surely it won’t do justice to all great performances, efforts, and fun we had this year, but we shall cap out 2016 with holiday joy. Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays, by the way. Let’s not keep you waiting any longer. From your favorite commissioner, “The Kickball Expert”. =)

  1. Life’s a Pitch – 3 first place votes. 30 Points – Strive for Perfection. This was an easy decision. The Tropical Park Champion. Consistency in kickball is harder to find than anything else. Maintaining the games awareness to limit foolishness and constantly putting yourself in a position to win is easier said than done. Hate or Love, this team deserves our respect. Perfection is a difficult thing, and unfortunately, or some may say fortunately :), Life’s a Pitch couldn’t match Floyd Mayweather’s perfection. Now hold on, it wasn’t always an easy road. While they have largely cruised through the regular season, with one or two tough adversaries, this team hardly got a break in the playoffs this entire year. They have had a number of close victories in the playoffs, edging out teams by one or two runs in the final innings often. To mention a few, their first two championships saw great adversity, even through the first rounds of the playoffs as remnants of Blue Mountain Kicks and my first attempts to stop them as Green Tea Baggers took games to late innings. That same season (Spring) they came back from a 5 – 0 deficit against Kickball Team in the finals. Just this season, Commissioner’s Pole went ahead on them in the Semi-Final before they blew the game open. They finally have a 1 in the L column from this regular season. Perhaps the greatest disappointment, and certainly mine lol, was cruising through this final game and not getting a finals rematch against their one L to Goon Squad. But who cares. Don’t take any of these close calls or blemish in any way as a put down from the top. I wish to highlight just how competitive so many teams played, that it was a game of inches for everyone time and time again. It’s something we are seeing more and more in the league, the level of competition rising and adding to the fun. It demonstrates just how spectacular their achievement is to have the endurance to stay at the top. 32-1, Three out of three K.O.A.L.A. Kickball Season and Playoff Championships, sounds pretty perfect to me. Kickball is a game of not just skills, awareness, experience and strategy, but it’s also one of heart, faith and attitude. At the end it became one of endurance. You don’t always know where the ball is going to bounce, how the wind is going to blow, or if your performance will be true to reflect all of your experience. There are always going to be obstacles. Life’s a Pitch, but you never stop kicking. What this group accomplished in overcoming obstacles and adversaries is quiet the example for us all.
  2. Wolfpack – 27 points – Never quit. The most important part about kickball is that we have fun playing a game. But if you want to win, passion trumps all. While sometimes you will fail and not make it to the top. Sometimes you will get oh so close and have a fun story to tell. Wolfpack is that story. Captain Akins first spawned on the worst team in K.O.A.L.A. Kickball. Anyone remember Pro-teens from season one Miami Lakes. Try not to laugh. Few if any have lost tougher, more disappointing games in K.O.A.L.A. time and time again. From the worst seed to 2nd seeds failing to reach the finals multiple times. Akins and Co-captain Anthony even failed to field a team for much of last season. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, they were the hungriest team for victory in the league, and they got it. Your Miami Lakes Champions. Full team effort, this was nowhere near an easy win either, they had to edge out this next competitor in an extra innings of the finals game.
  3. Sit on my Base – 22 points – Surprise yourself. While the next three teams were decided each by one vote difference, none had a greater impact in any playoff tournament than this team. Don’t let the 5 next to their standings trick you. They started their day by getting their season revenge on fourth seed Ballbarians. During the season they lost at a play at the plate to us, but this time they cruised by my team. They followed up with the second biggest upset in all playoffs. A calculated, one run at a time strategy to overthrow the First-Seeded White Hot Pitches. “SIT-ON-MY-BASE — SIT-ON-MY-BASE” they chanted themselves into the finals in style. They got as close as a kickball team can get to winning. The final consisted of multiple momentum shifts per inning. They fell just short of Wolfpack in an epic finals game, in the bottom of the 8th inning, but heck of a run!!!
  4. White Hot Pitches – 21 Points – Plan to succeed every day. Big disappointment, these guys suck. Lol ok that’s only half-true. I get to rag on them because I know them and I don’t get to rag on them too often ;). Plus I already tooted their horns for a group of them that play on Life’s a Pitch. Poll voting has been dominated by playoff tournament performance this time. But hey, they dominated the Miami Lakes regular season at an impressive undefeated 9-0, taking home the Season Commissioner’s Trophy. That’s pretty sweet!
  5. Goon Squad – 20 Points – Take nothing for granted. Biggest disappointment. Certainly mine. Certainly, an exciting and dramatic season, though. After getting out to a hot start and finally beating Life’s a Pitch things were looking good. Finally, my goal of beating Life’s a Pitch in a game was accomplished. A commissioner’s trophy and another victory, this time in the finals, felt in reach. Even continuous victories with 9 players wasn’t phasing Goon Squad. But the bigger they are is sometimes the harder you fall, and piper came to collect his dues. We had an impressive controversial but very exciting walk-off comeback down 10-4, one out in the last inning of week 7.  However that was followed by a fall, ironically to Commissioner’s Pole in week 8 to pass on the commissioner’s trophy back to Life’s a Pitch. No matter, playoffs were still ahead? But things didn’t go as planned. While we beat a tough and notable OKDL which had pieces of your 3rd ranked team on this Poll, a game of smallball with a couple big plays lead to one moment in a semi-finals matchup against Freeballing. Bases loaded, two outs, down one run, and your truly up to kick. Annnd I got out. Freeballing defeated Good Squad to advanced to the finals. More on them later. Oh the what if’s of kickball. But many lessons and humility learned. Take it from me, perfection is not an easy game! It was a ton of fun winning games with Goon Squad (8 – 1) and trying to shake down Life’s a Pitch. At the end, everyone needs to show up with a good attitude, don’t take success for granted, and hold on to dear life if you want to keep winning. Shout out to my Goon Squad, hope all the teams got to enjoy fun kickball memories!
  6. Freeballing – 15 Points – Enjoy the ride and have fun too. Don’t underestimate your opponent. Don’t underestimate the free spirit of fun in kickball! Now you’re probably wondering how it is that Goon Squad managed to land ahead of the poll to the team that beat them.  Well, TBT, we all think it would have been a better finals game had Goon Squad made it at full strength. Freeballing unfortunately limped into the finals with illnesses and a couple injuries, no joke. But let’s talk more about their triumph. One finals appearance – check. One win over Goon Squad – check. How did they do it? Fun, smallball, strategy, and constantly putting yourself in a position to win. Congrats on a great season. It will be interesting to see what’s in store for this team next season.
  7. Commissioner’s Pole – 11 points – Be persistent. A nice 7-2 season capped off by a victory against Goon Squad. Sure, you’re not satisfied if you’re Commissioner’s Pole, falling to Life’s a Pitch in Semi’s after going up early, but they continue to play tough competitive kickball. These guys have been a persistent competitor since season one of Tropical. They’ve won a lot of games and we can expect them to be in the hunt every season, sometimes lurking from behind.
  8. High Rollers -10 points – Aim high.  This semi-finalist finished as a third seed at 6-2-1 before falling to Wolfpack. This group has gotten better every season and we expect the players to continue the great sportsmanship and competitiveness.
  9. Warriors – 5 points – Set goals. Coming up huge from last season to finish in the third seed in Tropical at 8-2, only to fall victim to the 6th seed Freeballing. No matter, still a huge jump in W’s from last season, and certainly many more to come.
  10. Ballbarians – 4 points – Push your Endurance. Starting the season at an impressive 6 – 0, only to drop their last 3 regular season games and the first found of the playoffs to Sit on my Base. This team has been a respectable competitor over the seasons at lakes, constantly finding its way onto the Poll. Don’t expect them to back down anytime soon.

Hope you enjoyed playing kickball and this poll. Thank you for making K.O.A.L.A. Kickball what it is, a fun, social, sporty, competitive environment. Wishing 2017 to bring more good times. All the best and Happy New Year.  A few extra special shout outs for some of our longest standing captains, referees, helpers, and players: Armando Garcia, Lorely, Garsha, Pablo Prieto, Kiko, Michael Martinez, Valen, Fat Nat, Michelle, Liz, Diana, Caro Sitterson, Armando photographer from High Rollers, Gus, Guti, Alek, Tony Quesada, Carlos Garcia, Mario, Evelyn, Annaliese, Hohebeth, Camila, Chuck, Fidel, Tony Lascano, Mikey, Priscilla, Gaby from White Hot, Rudy, Adrian, Zamir, Karyna. I know I’ll be missing many! Send me angry texts.
Quick Reminder on How the Poll Works: Once both leagues have played at least 2 games each, the Commissioners each cast an anonymous ballot for the teams that they think are the top 10 in K.O.A.L.A. Kickball across our Miami Lakes and Tropical Park Leagues. The first ranked team in each ballot gets 10 points, the second ranked team in each ballot gets 9 points, and so forth all the way to the tenth ranked team in each ballot, which gets 1 point. The points that each team gets from each ballot are added up, and then the 10 teams with the highest total number of points are declared the Top 10 in the Commissioner’s Poll. If there’s a tie for points, then the team with the most number of Commissioners voting it higher than the team they tied will receive the higher position. Remember that this poll does not affect standings or playoff seeding in any way; it’s only for fun!