Women’s Wiffle Ball :: 3 Reasons To Join Or Start A Community Team

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A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon in June.
Let me preface this blog by making known that I’m not generally what you would call an athlete. The extent of my participation in team sports involved a handful of seasons of church-league basketball and softball, two seasons of high school track, and a round of college intramural football.
 
The high point of my sports career was making it to the state track meet to run the 400m race. Everyone was impressed I made it. So naturally I left out the fact that I only competed against two other runners in my regional meet, guaranteeing my spot at state. (Merely details!)
 
My low point was getting tackled by a Tri Delta who was taking her college anxiety out on the intramural field. I left team sports behind at that point and stuck to yoga and Zumba. 

Enter Wiffle Ball

I moved to the Bluff Park neighborhood in 2019 and met a couple of people playing in a brand-new, women’s-only league in the neighborhood. Knowing I wanted to meet others in the community, I figured why not give it a try?
 
2020 wasn’t really the best year for me to be joining a team sport though, for a number of reasons (thanks Covid). But when the 2021 season kicked off, I was ready to jump in. 
 

What an awesome decision!

What started as a silly-sounding idea became the highlight of my summer. When each game ended I was already looking forward to practice and vice versa. I had “wiffle-withdrawal” when the games ended, and I can’t wait to practice again with my team in the “off-season.” 
 
I am not excited about wiffle ball because I’m especially good at it. After most of the games I came home with sore muscles and frustration about all of the balls I dropped! But it has been worth it.

Why Wiffle Ball?

Here are the reasons I play wiffle ball, and why you may want to consider joining or starting your own neighborhood league:

 1. Community:

Wiffle ball offered me a unique way to connect with other women in my neighborhood. Some of us have kids in school together. We all live near one another and frequent the same places. In a time where many women can feel isolated from one another even when in close proximity, games offer a time to commiserate not just about bad ref calls, but real life issues too.

One of my teammates, Amanda, shared: “The best part about wiffle ball is building relationships with so many amazing women in my community. I was surprised that I only knew one of my teammates before we started; and now I have a whole team of new friends.” 

2. Stress Outlet:

For a couple of hours each week during the season, the only thing I had to worry about was hitting or catching a wiffle ball. Talk about freedom! As a wife, mother, daughter, counselor, friend, etc., I have unending worries and responsibilities. Letting that go to run around on a field and laugh with teammates was cathartic. My body appreciated the chance to move in different ways and use different muscles as well. 

Another teammate Catherine agreed: “As a health care provider, wiffle ball provided such great opportunity for me to de-stress from the heaviness of the pandemic in a safe and healthy way!”

3. Self Confidence:

As I stated before, I am not an especially impressive athlete or “wiffler”. But I could see improvement in how I played over the course of the season. I improved in my ability to focus and tune out my internal chatter that can be so distracting. Laughing at my mistakes became easier. And, I noticed I felt more assured of myself. Encouraging ourselves to try new things, especially when it feels vulnerable, can often have that effect.

I also value my son watching me participate on a team. Hopefully he’s learning from my attitude. Getting to set that example felt good, and I’ve heard other moms say the same.

My team, “Hitter’s Full” for all of you Christmas Vacation fans

Start A League in Your Neighborhood!

I play for the Bluff Park Women’s Wiffle Ball League (BPWWL), which is open to those zoned for Simmon’s Middle School. If your neighborhood doesn’t have it’s own league, consider connecting with others who may be interested in creating one!

Sherrie Roberts, co-founder of the BPWWL, had the idea for the league after attending her niece’s wiffle ball game in Ross Bridge. She used social media to gauge community interest. Her post generated an overwhelming response, and soon the league was born. Co-founder Kimberly Barber joined Sherrie in pursuing hosting the league at the Children’s Fresh Air Farm (CFAF) in Bluff Park, and within 60 days the league began. 2021 was the league’s 3rd season and it now consists of eight teams.

According to Sherrie, giving back to the community is essential to the foundation and success of the league. CFAF is a staple in the Bluff Park community, and the league offers a way for neighbors to give back by monetarily supporting the work there in exchange for use of their field. 

For anyone considering starting their own league, Sherrie has one suggestion, “Make [the league] have a purpose aside from just the friendly competition. The fact that our teams are made up of a cross section of all ages and abilities lends to our focus of meeting your neighbors and getting to know people you only know of through social media. And a charitable component even furthers that sense of common purpose.”

So what are you waiting for? Play ball!

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Katie, a native Alabamian, came to Birmingham in 2012 to pursue a master's from UAB in Mental Health Counseling. She works as a Licensed Professional Counselor in her practice, Present Wellness Counseling, LLC, as well as in a residential treatment center for substance abuse. She and her husband were married in 2007 and have a son, Harpin, who's been keeping them busy since 2016. She is learning daily how to bridge her child development background with real-life motherhood moments, and she is excited to share these experiences with her BMB readers. Katie loves any time spent outside, loves opening her home to share meals with friends, and loves her faith community. She practices yoga and Reiki, and leads meditation groups for developing self-compassion. You can find out more about her practice and her upcoming community trainings at her website, PresentWellnessCounseling.com.

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