Go fools! (l-r) Patrick McQuillan (’93), Patrick Cropper (’99), Tim Hardy (’99), Jeff Phaneuf, Carrie Yacono (’00) and Lindsay Tyrrell (’99).


Pity da Fool

These alumni know what’s kickin’

Patrick McQuillan (’93) doesn’t have to worry about finding something to talk about at parties. He is the pitcher for Pity ’da Fool, a team in the World Adult Kickball Association that went undefeated in 2001 and won the inaugural WAKA World Championship. In August 2002, the team won its second division title, but lost the championship in a heartbreaker, 2-1.
Yes, believe it or not, it’s the same kind of kickball you played in elementary school, but just a tad more competitive.

“It’s great. The pitches are a lot faster. The ball goes a lot farther, and referees are a lot stricter,” says McQuillan, one of nine JMU graduates on the 2002 coed Northern Virginia team. “It’s a pretty good conversation piece. Everyone wants to find out how they can get on a team.”

“Most people are just flabbergasted that there are adults who play the kickball game,” says outfielder Charley Miller (’99), a political science major.

Centreville resident McQuillan got a call two years ago from Herndon native Tim Hardy (’99), who heard about a kickball league for adults after listening to a popular Washington, D.C., morning radio show.
“I was pretty excited. It just sounded so fun,” says McQuillan, who works for American Management Systems in Fairfax. “It has turned out to be just what I thought it would be. Everyone loves kickball.”

Hardy is now the player/coach of Pity ’da Fool, which competes during the summer in Fairfax. The team had 16 players for the 2002 season.

Hardy noted that Chris Murphy (’96) was one of the league founders, though he was not involved with Hardy’s team and is no longer part of the league.

“We were just looking for something to do once a week to get people together,” Hardy says of forming his team.

“It was kind of a joke at first. I thought it would be more of a beer-drinking softball league,” adds Miller, who works as a production coordinator for National Geographic Television.

But Miller learned that is not the case.

Last year, Pity ’da Fool won its division and the world championship game on The Mall in Washington.

The team beat The Grass Kickers, 7-6, as Bryan Frazitta (’98) scored the tying run to force extra innings and Ken Dyer (’99) scored the winning run in the extra eighth inning as Pity ’da Fool became the first unbeaten team to win a title in the WAKA.

“Half of the teams are out there to have a good time and half are out there to win,” says Hardy, who has known Frazitta since they were 7. “We really didn’t have any expectations. We kept pushing ourselves.”

First baseman Patrick Cropper (’99), Frazitta’s roommate at JMU, says the team did not set out to be champs. “We thought we would go out there and have a good time,” he explains. “We never even thought about winning. But by chance we put together a really good team.”

Cropper’s wife, Christy DeFusco Cropper (’99), also plays on the team.

The WAKA, which began in 1998, is trying to start leagues in other parts of the country, according to Miller. The WAKA Web site states the league is hoping to expand to Richmond, Baltimore, New York City, Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco and Cary, N.C., and other locations.

During the 2002 season Pity ’da Fool, which has a photo of one-time television star Mr. T on its Web site, won seven of its first eight games, and outscored opponents, 81-18. They beat one team 19-0 and won six straight games after losing for the first time early in the season.

Miller, who played intramural sports while in Harrisonburg, is one of several Herndon High/JMU graduates on the team. Patrick Cropper and Ken Dyer, like Miller, also graduated from Herndon in 1995. Cropper played soccer in high school while Dyer played baseball. Hardy and Frazitta both played soccer for Oakton High in Northern Virginia.

McQuillan says that in kickball, the ball cannot bounce more than one foot above the ground on pitches, and that his tosses must be within a foot of either side of the plate.

Teams consist of 11 players, and the pitcher and other fielders must stay behind the pitcher’s mound until the ball is kicked. “Bunts” are allowed and bases are located 60 feet apart. Games last a minimum of five innings, and there are normally two referees. At least four females must be in the field for defense.

“Most of the girls on our team have played soccer in the past and are athletic. That obviously gives us an advantage,” DeFusco says.
“I think our success exceeded my expectations,” Miller says. “We have a lot of young, athletic people who are good at team sports and mesh well together.”

The winning combination of Dukes who complete the Pity ’da Fool roster include, Christy DeFusco Cropper, Patrick Cropper, Ken Dyer, Bryan Frazitta, Tim Hardy, Patrick McQuillan, Charley Miller, Lindsay Tyrrell and Christy Yacono.

See what’s kicking with these alums at the Pity ’da Fool Web site at www.pitythefool.org.

Story by David Driver
Photos by Tyler Mallory

 


Publisher: Montpelier Magazine • For Information Contact: montpelier@jmu.edu