From left, Kia Foster, of Penn Hills, Jasmine “Happy Feet” Thomas, of East Liberty, team manager Yvette Harrison, of Wilkinsburg, Sandra “Ma Duke” Douglass, of the Hill District, and coach Haywood “Cheddar Melt” El, of Wilkinsburg, come together at the end of practice for their Wilkinsburg Alive and Kicking Kickball Team on April 26 at Whitney Park in Wilkinsburg. Games start on Sundays in June, and are broadcast on YouTube. (Photo by Stephanie Strasburg/PublicSource)
Kicking in the right direction
by Jourdan Hicks, PublicSource
The Steel City Kickers Kickball League is not just any sports league. It’s a community of women who come together to bond, have fun and promote healthy habits. Founded as a social impact organization, the league aims to equip the next generation of Pittsburgh-area women through movement, cooperative economics and the enjoyment of a little competitive sport.
From June to August for the last six years, up to 14 teams with 19 players each compete in weekly games, playoffs, championships and skills competitions. It’s a space where women of all ages can safely come together, with emphasis on sisterhood and health.
One team, in particular, has made significant contributions to both the league and its community: the Wilkinsburg Alive and Kicking Kickball Team.
Yvette Harrison, a lifelong resident of Wilkinsburg, is the team manager. She first learned about the organization through a colleague at Allegheny County Children Youth and Family Services and became involved in 2017 when Esha Sheard, the league’s first president, encouraged her and her colleagues to join.
“So I started going to the games in like 2017 or so. Me always thinking about ways to make money, I was like, they need snacks here, you know? So I got my daughter, she was still in high school, and we got nachos and candy and pop. And we start selling stuff to them,” Harrison said. “We would go up here and do that. So like for two years, I guess I did that, you know, so hot dogs on the grill and stuff like that. And so then I started saying, I think I need to get a team together.”