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Five Reasons Fort Lauderdale's Young Professionals Play WAKA Kickball

FastForward is a column documenting the nighttime scene in Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach County. It's a weeknight stop at your neighborhood dive; it's a blurry, bass-filled Friday night in the club; it's that one moment in a conversation you hope you'll remember the next morning.

No one ever said growing up was easy. Luckily, since the rampant rise of WAKA Kickball, the latest sensation to hit the scene for 20- to 30-somethings in Fort Lauderdale, it seems you don't ever really have to.

If you're unfamiliar, here's the gist of it: WAKA stands for "World Adult Kickball Association," and its goal, according to the official website, is "to provide and promote the joy of kickball to those young at heart." Sounds simple enough.

Each week, hordes of young professionals seeking respite from the monotony of their grueling and tiresome work gather at a local park to drink, socialize, and, of course, kick around some balls in friendly competition.

Teams are composed of friends across a spectrum of careers, namely law and accounting, with an occasional nurse sprinkled in, donning matching league T-shirts and water bottles spiked with alcohol. After each game, teams migrate to the local designated watering hole, Dicey Riley's in downtown Fort Lauderdale, where festivities carry on till late in the night.

A WAKA kickball afterparty is exactly like you might imagine: Sweaty bods, sticky floors, the stale aroma of sweat, flip cup, shots, $2 beers, and a playlist featuring the "Thong Song" and other similarly danceable gems. In surveying the rainbow of teams in attendance last week, we attempted to get a better grasp on what motivates these young(ish) folks to make kickball a regular part of their lives. Not surprisingly, no one cited fitness or health benefits.

Here are the top five reasons why Fort Lauderdale's young professionals play WAKA kickball.

5. "To relive the glory years... and get drunk"

We watched their eyes glitter as their imaginations lingered for just a moment on the simpler, purer times of yore. "It lets you be a kid again," they told us. The getting-drunk part helps them forget that they're actually 30 and still playing Xbox on their mom's couch.

4. To flex in public

Ain't no shame in it. (Well, maybe a little bit.) Many a quasimatured man has come to understand the importance of bodily upkeep. He works hard to maintain that rock-hard chest and good looks; this is his chance to show it off. He probably thought he was being subtle, but we know... We know. Good job, Mr. Man in the Middle. We really do appreciate your gun demo.

3. To rave

Every team christens itself with a name, and most strive to make theirs the cleverest. After hearing what they came up with, we think the tie-dyed team wins. Word on the street is that "We're Rolling Balls" aren't the greatest players, but they do bring a certain festive spirit to their game.

"Sometimes it looks like they're actually rolling," someone from another team gushed. Each game, Rolling Balls brings their boom box and lets the beats drop as they circle the square, if you will. This is probably what we'd do if we were partaking.

2. To escape married life

She has her mani-pedis, and he has WAKA kickball. Sport, drinking, and male validation all wrapped into one night? Maybe, just maybe, this is actually a good deal.

1. "Why not?"

Many couldn't quite put a finger on exactly why they do it, but they sure as hell couldn't think of any reason not to.

It's unclear how long this after-work trend will carry on -- you know what they say about our ever-dwindling attention spans these days. However, as long as able-bodied young pros enjoy drinking, dressing up in matching outfits, and getting sweaty together, we're confident WAKA kickball will have a following.

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Falyn Freyman is a freelance multimedia journalist based in Miami. She previously produced videos for Univision and edited music content for New Times Broward-Palm Beach. Her work has been featured in Vice, Bustle, Broadly, Time Out, and other publications. She has a master's degree from the Columbia School of Journalism.
Contact: Falyn Freyman