Just for Kicks - Destin Nightballers in it for the kicks
They may not have finished at the top of the league, but they had fun along the way.
Out of the 20 teams participating in the city of Destin's Kickball League at Morgan Sports Center, the Destin Nightballers finished first in fun.
Bobby Bess is the ringleader of Destin Nights, a social club that raises money for good causes. He says "Having fun is first; playing and winning is secondary … that's how we roll."
And one of the ways the team has fun is with their uniform — or lack thereof.
"We don't have jerseys, we do theme nights," said Chelsea Hummitzsch, who helps to fill out the lineup for the team.
The team dresses in a different theme each week. One week it was the ’90s with a lot of neon outfits, another was in honor of breast cancer awareness and everybody wore pink. They've had a "super hero" week with players sporting capes and mask, and then a "tutu/crazy hat" night with even a few of the guys wearing tutus.
"We've been having a blast with it," Bess said.
"They've had some great costumes," said Chuck Hopkins, who works for the city of Destin's recreation department.
"Last night was pretty impressive," Hopkins said referring to their final night of play in Hawaiian wear, which consisted of a lot of grass skirts and coconuts.
Hopkins laughs when he remembers the sight of the Nightballers "running the bases with capes."
"Most everybody is out there to have fun," he said.
The Kickball League started three years ago with just eight teams. Last year the league boasted 14 teams and then this year it grew to 20 teams with 300 players. Hopkins said the league ran for seven weeks of regular games with most teams playing doubleheaders each week. The league will wrap up with the finals on Aug. 21.
As for the Destin Nights, they enjoy the game, but most of all they enjoy just being together.
"We started as just a group of friends that like to party together," Bess said.
But then they started doing things in the community with an opportunity to give back such as the Santa Pub Crawl that benefits the Salvation Army, and a Fourth of July event that benefits the Wounded Warrior Foundation.
"We go all out for it," Bess said.