Overtime: This kickball is on a ‘Whole ‘Nother Level!’

“BLACKOUT” is the name of this kickball team that plays in the Steel City Kickers league in Pittsburgh.

by Bill Neal, For New Pittsburgh Courier

From the first kick you know that’s true. This kickball is on a “whole ‘nother level!”

Actually, before that, the update is locked in: “This ain’t your Grandma’s kickball!”

Let’s take this back to the beginning…as you know, I can be last to the party…but don’t get that twisted, when I get to the party it’s on! Anyway, my partner “Smokin’ Jim” Frazier had to give me a flashback reminder.  It was over a year ago when we had the lady kickballers on our sports show, “Champions Live,” down at the Walnut Grill in Fox Chapel. But of course, COVID wiped it from my concussed memory bank.  Needless to say, I was surprised and impressed by it all; and was invited to the games, but I didn’t follow up.

Flash forward to mid-2021 and my cousin, Luvenia Dudley, and her daughter, Karmen Chapman, pulled my coat to what was happening. That put the wheels in motion.

Fortunately for me, I made it to the championship game.  However, unfortunately, it was in time to see my other cousin Coach Jay Calfee Sr. and his son JJ and their team “Blackout” take one on the “shin” to the eventual champions, “Renegade,” 3-2.  It should be noted that Blackout was the league champs.

Now you’re caught up. But hold up…wait a minute! That’s not the whole story. Granted the smell of competition and the sweet taste of victory is what it’s all about. And if you’ll allow me to input, I know something about this kind of competition.  I’m the man that created and operated the nationally recognized Connie Hawkins Pro/AM Summer Basketball League. (I know it’s a shameless plug, but as my grandfather, Robert Gore, would say, “It’s a poor dog that don’t wag his own tail.”)

“RENEGADES” is the name of this kickball team that plays in the Steel City Kickers league in Pittsburgh.

When I pulled up, I knew something special was going on because I couldn’t find a parking space…moving forward, it hit me loud and clear.  The music, the smell of “our” food, the crowd, the noise, the vendors, the uniforms…man this is the neighborhood doing something good, and in a big way.  And most importantly, the family atmosphere was in full effect.

I am told that this fantastic operation was established here in Pittsburgh by the late, great Easha Sheard who passed away much too soon, but it was left to and passed on to the mother/daughter combo of Barbara Moore and Mylia Jackson, and, “The Pittsburgh Way” of how we do it took off!

With the championship run now in the history books, the Steel City Kickers have set their sights on next season.

The new season “kicks” off June 5. Teams are welcome to register by contacting Ms. Jackson at 412-795-4904 or emailing to steelcitykickers@gmail.com. Teams can range in ages 18 and over, up to 17 players and of course there is a registration fee.

My recommendation…Lock this in for your summer fun of things to do; you won’t regret it. Who knows, you may even want to kick up your heels and play a little!!!!






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