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Oklahoma kickball leagues allow grownups to act like kids again

The World Adult Kickball Association draws many professionals to leagues in Oklahoma for fun and friendship.
By Nasreen Iqbal, Staff Writer Modified: July 6, 2014 at 10:00 pm •  Published: July 6, 2014

Oklahoma City public school teacher Rachel Galloway lays down the rules for her fourth-grade students before they play kickball.

What they don’t know is that when Galloway, 25, plays the game in her own league she abides by no rules.

That’s because in the World Adult Kickball Association, of which Galloway is a member, there are no rules.

On a sunny day at Wheeler Park in south Oklahoma City, Galloway and her WAKA teammates prepared for the upcoming kickball season with a routine practice.

Real estate agent Ryan Noe, 33, skipped across the field in orange and blue soccer cleats and shin guards, while event fundraiser Tatianna Proctor, 27, kicked the iconic red ball while wearing wedge high heels.

Suddenly, Galloway is back in the fourth grade.

“This is a group for people who don’t take themselves too seriously,” said James Speegle, spokesman for WAKA’s Oklahoma City league. “As adults, we get so used to the daily grind of the 9-to-5 that we forget what it feels like to have fun.”

Galloway joined WAKA after moving from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma City one year ago to pursue a career in teaching.

“There’s not a lot of teaching jobs in the north,” she said. “But we have a great job market here in Oklahoma City.”

The job market is one reason young people are flocking to Oklahoma City, Speegle said. In addition to looking for careers, they look for social networks.

For Galloway, WAKA fit the bill.

Making friends

Fresh out of college and faced with the harsh and often lonely reality of “the real world,” friends Johnny LeHane, David Lowry and Jimmy Walicek created WAKA in 1998 in the nation’s capitol.

What began as a way for a small group of friends to reconnect has blossomed over 16 years into a national movement.

Tens of thousands of kickballers, usually between the ages of 21 and 45, play in hundreds of leagues across the nation, Speegle said. Kickball is the primary sport, but the organization also hosts dodge ball, karaoke, bar games and the latest sports trend — footgolf, a crossbreed of soccer and golf.

WAKA has nine sports leagues in Oklahoma City and three in Tulsa. Leagues are always looking for new members, Speegle said.

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We’ve had WAKA marriages and WAKA babies. With Oklahoma City growing like it is, we’ve had young professionals who are new to Oklahoma join a league and make lifelong friends.”

James Speegle,,
spokesman for WAKA’s Oklahoma City league

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