The inaugural game of downtown Bellingham’s urban kickball league was filled with music and 1980s costumes at Maritime Heritage Park on Thursday, May 14.
The Downtown Bellingham Partnership organized the league to help bring more people to the park. The Partnership is a nonprofit organization that connects the downtown Bellingham community to create a welcoming environment for the city center.
“The reason why [the partnership] is doing this is to get some traction with people down here besides the homeless so the park can be under use,” Vince Kisena said.
Kisena is an employee for Williams Form Engineering and is a player in the league on the Builders team.
“We need to transform this park and make a park that all people use, and this is one way to do it,” Downtown Bellingham Partnership Executive Director Nick Hartrich said.
The event brought about 35 people to the park and an additional 40 kickball players total.
The Partnership chose kickball as the sport because anyone can play it, Hartrich said.
Every match will have a 1980s theme, titled Throwback Thursday. Games will be played every Thursday evening beginning at 5 p.m. May 14 through June 11.
The league is currently composed of four teams: The Brewers, The Builders, The Bicyclists and The Brains. People who work within these industries around the Bellingham area came together to make the league and support the cause.
“I’m excited to bring more people to Maritime Heritage Park,” Bellingham Tap Trail Co-owner Scott Pelton said.
The first game was between the Brewers and the Builders. The match was pretty even during the first half, but the Brewers took a commanding 19-9 lead in the sixth inning. The Builders started to come back at the bottom of the sixth, scoring four runs, but it wasn’t enough to take the win. The Brewers won 19-13 and though the match had some competitiveness, the atmosphere was welcoming.
Kisena is looking forward to seeing familiar faces in the league.
“We all know each other here,” Kisena said. “I’m just hanging out with the folks that I typically hang out with anyway, but we’re doing a sport.”
There will be a final tournament between the teams on Saturday, June 13th, with food trucks present for the festivities. Currently the league is full, however Hartrich is planning on continuing the league into the summer.
“We’ll definitely do more teams and more players,” Hartrich said. “We’ll probably have to do another night as well.”
Anyone interested in participating can sign up for the summer league at the Downtown Bellingham Partnership website.