South Charlotte

Adults finding fun in Recess games

It's similar to school-day recess, but this time it's for grownups.

About three dozen men and women show up at Southview Recreation Center every Sunday to play some of their favorite childhood games.

Organized by SportsLink Charlotte, Recess is a season's worth of dodge ball, kickball, Wiffle ball and recreational volleyball league games. Five teams of eight to 10 players have made sure all their homework is finished so they can play.

Adults playing sports they associate with elementary and middle school gym class is not uncommon. Adult kickball and dodge ball leagues have sprouted nationwide in the last 10 years. However, combining the different sports into the same league is something unique to Charlotte, says Christian Crute, SportsLink's managing director.

Crute says he picked up on the Recess concept from sports clubs in other cities.

"It's a fun throwback," said Ford Eubanks, a 24-year-old uptown Charlotte finance consultant. "My favorite game in middle school was Jailbreak (a dodge ball variation). ... That was a lot of fun."

Crute says he's offering the program as a winter diversion from SportsLink's more traditional warm-weather, outdoor sports.

Because the Recess concept is new, Crute and the players are figuring things out as they go. They are trying to determine some of the games' modified rules (for indoor play) and they'll probably wait until closer to the end of the eight-week season to determine a playoff format.

Teams can play up to two sports each week. A win or loss in kickball, for example, will count the same as a win or loss in volleyball.

Uptown residents David Wilkinson and Pat McKenna have been teammates for two kickball seasons. Their team wasn't very competitive its first season but was league champions in its second try.

McKenna and Wilkinson hope their kickball success will translate into a Recess league title, but they are just as interested in having fun.

Wilkinson's team may have an early advantage: He's taking a cerebral approach to bringing outdoor games inside.

"Kickball will be a smaller, quicker version of kickball," he said. "I don't think kicking (the ball) hard will be much of an advantage. With all these indoor sports, I think it will be more about strategy, being smarter."