This summer, the third season of the OTR kickball league will return to Cutter Field, this time, with a little more organization.
The kickball league was started two years ago by Jenny Kessler, who, until now, has found sponsors, rounded up teams, organized referees and scheduled the 22 teams who have competed during the first two seasons. At the end of last season, Tom Hodges, an OTR resident and lawyer, asked Kessler if she was going to plan a third season. After a short discussion, Hodges and Kessler, along with Joe Yoo, decided to form Urban Sports Cincinnati (USC), an LLC which will help govern the kickball league, and other downtown games like bocce ball at Neons and ping pong at the Drinkery.
"The idea is to have something in place so once the person who started doesn't want to run it anymore, it still continues," Hodges says. "It's about the neighborhood. We want it to continue to thrive, and small things, like kickball, contribute to why people want to live here."
USC will create an infrastructure, complete with a website, to help in the planning of sports in the downtown area.
"When I decide I don't want to run kickball anymore, someone won't have to build it from scratch again," Kessler says. "I can give someone the contacts, the set-up and all the other information they need to keep it going."
USC will also help keep the funds in one place. Soapbox contributor Casey Coston started ping pong at the Drinkery last year, but it has since stopped because of a lack of functioning tables. Hodges hopes that with USC, gathering the money needed will be easier, and better than having one person invest in the equipment alone.
The third season kicks of in late June and runs through August with a cost of $15 per person. The low cost has always been a goal, and is aimed at making the league more relaxed and all-inclusive, rather than ultra-competitive. It was a goal of Kessler's to bring the community together. Neighborhood children have always been encouraged to join teams when substitutes are needed, and those children have since become welcomed members of some teams.
"I think the organization will give these games legitimacy, so people won't mind paying the $15," Hodges says. "But it's also cheap enough to keep the feeling that this is for fun and to make the community a more vibrant place."
Sign your team up here.
By Evan Wallis