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LIFESTYLE ENCORE

A Whiff of the Past

Wiffle ball league is serious fun for adults by

JOHN LIBERTY

O

n certain summer nights in Oshtemo Township, amid the green backdrop of fairly well-manicured fields, one can glimpse flashes of yellow and white plastic as adults give new life to their athletic pasts by resurrecting their childhoods. They are playing Wiffle ball. The Kalamazoo Wiffle League includes a broad assortment of folks, from legitimate athletes to people who can barely tie their shoes without gasping for air. It’s what would result if the Bad News Bears and The Sandlot 28 | ENCORE MAY 2021

kids grew up and traded in their baseballs and bats for Wiffle ball equipment, since those other things are heavy and hard and no one wants to get hurt. But behind all the nostalgia and fitness jokes is a rather serious group of individuals who have created a funky community that’s as cathartic and supportive as it is competitive. “It reminds most of us of our youth and the simple enjoyment of simple fun,” says KWL Commissioner Brian Lewis. “Whether

you talk to our oldest players or our youngest players, they’ll each say they played Wiffle ball in their backyards as kids. They can each share specific details like hitting certain parts of your house was a double, triple or home run, and hitting the neighbor’s house was an automatic out.” Since the KWL started in 2006 as a backyard pickup game by four Kalamazoo friends — Brian Meyers, Andy Ross, Jim Moe and Daryl Hutson — it has grown to become a nonprofit organization with more than 12