It was recently brought to my attention that not everybody — not only not everybody, but hardly anybody — grew up playing the World’s Best Game in elementary school gym class: Six-Base Kickball.
Not only did I not realize that Six-Base Kickball wasn’t a universally known game among the elementary school set, but I also didn’t realize that the version of Kickball the rest of the world has been playing all these years does not, in fact, utilize six bases. Apparently it’s just…baseball? But with a ball you kick? You guys…you have no idea what you’re missing.
Here’s how it works (fancy-schmancy MS Paint diagram included for reference; trust me, you’re going to need it).
The game is best played in a standard, rectangular gymnasium, utilizing the entire gym floor. You have two teams: Offense and Defense. The goal of the Offense is to kick the ball, round the bases, and score runs. Defense, obviously, tries to prevent that from happening. The rules are baseball-style: 3 strikes, you’re out; 3 outs, Defense moves to Offense and vice-versa; caught fly balls result in an out; if Defense tags Offense with the ball, that’s an out. Pretty basic, right?
Here’s where it gets interesting.
Okay, say you’re playing Offense and it’s your turn to kick. You start at Home Plate (H). The Pitcher (typically the gym teacher) gently rolls a dodgeball-style ball toward you, and you kick it, angling toward the far corner. If you have a successful kick, you run for 1st and try to avoid having a Defense player tag you with the ball. From there, proceed around the bases as you are able, following the arrows depicted above. If you make it back to Home Plate, you score. Great job!
Other Important Rules: Players may stay on any base for as long as they need/want, only running for the next base when they feel confident they have a good shot at making it. So if you’re on 2nd, and another player has a good kick and starts rounding the bases, it’s cool. You can just hang tight on 2nd if you want. Or you can run. Your choice! Also, there’s no limit to the number of players who may be on a base at any given time. At times, most of your team may be huddled around 3rd, each with a fraction of a toe touching the base for safety, waiting for just the right moment to make a mad dash for 4th. (Watch out for collisions in the outfield between players running from 1st to 2nd and players running from 3rd to 4th!) Oh, and if you make it back to Home Plate, you may either get in line to kick again, OR you can keep on running to 1st base and try to round the bases again!
It’s basically the funnest game ever and I can’t believe it’s not being played at every elementary school in the country.
- Thank goodness I never signed up for an adult kickball league. Can you imagine how distraught I would have been to show up and discover it’s not traditionally played with six bases?
- My elementary school gym teacher, who I now realize invented this game, was a freaking genius.