The Insider

Kickball King

By Akeya Dickson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 20, 2006

Joe Paternoster wants you to play NAKID.

Oh, keep your pants on: NAKID is just an acronym for No, Adult Kickball Isn't Stupid, the District's newest kickball league. The 34-year-old Alexandria resident created the local league earlier this year with fellow renegades from the World Adult Kickball Association after a falling out with the mammoth local kickball league.

If you haven't kept up with the saga that is Washington kickball (and, frankly, why would you?), here's the short version: WAKA is suing DCKickball, a more than 1,000-member league founded last year by Carter Rabasa, another former WAKA member and volunteer official. Citing copyright infringement of co-ed kickball rules (we're not making this up) and other complaints against DC Kickball, the suits seeks $356,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

WAKA also sent a cease-and-desist letter to Paternoster, but he and his pals have no plans to abandon their 400-player league. As he prepares for the season, which starts today, Paternoster gives his take on kickball in DC.

What's this explosion in the popularity of kickball about?

I think what's happening is that each league is falling into its own niche. I think WAKA has become the competitive league and DC Kickball is sort of like a scaled-down version of WAKA. We are more of the "party, don't take it so seriously" people that just want to get together and have an excuse to drink and not look like alcoholics.

How many teams are there in your league?

This is only the second season, so we're hoping for 36. Right now we're at 26. . . . I play on three teams: the Cram Stamps, Snakes on a Ball and the Punky Brewsters.

Why does your league play with blue balls?

(Laughs) We thought it was really funny. You can do a whole ad campaign behind the fact that we play with blue balls. Plus, everyone else plays with red balls, so we thought it would make us different.

Did you guys just not get picked for your kickball team in school?

There's a good percentage of people that are pretty good athletes, but yes, I think most of the people who play didn't get picked for teams when they were in school.

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