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August 01, 2008

Undead Molly Hates Burlington's Kickball League

So, Burlington has this kickball league. Last month, VPR did a little segment on it. They've got a blog. And a Facebook group.

And now, they have a hater.

Last week, zombie aficionado Undead Molly declared her animosity toward their nostalgic pastime on her blog. In a post entitled "Dear fucking twee hipster kickball motherfuckers," she writes:

Dear Burlington Kickballers,

Oh my gosh, we so admire your childlike sense of fun.  Your wacky originality.  Your HILARIOUS taste in ironic beer. The best part is when you wear headbands, wristbands, and kneesocks - that makes you so Xtra wacky, original, and hilarious. I laugh just thinking about cans of PBR. What's that you're smoking? Marby Lights? You are too funny.

In fact, Molly's main beef with the kickballers is that Oakledge Park now charges for parking until 9 p.m. Molly attributes that change (they used to stop charging at 7) to the presence of the kickball league.

She says she's abandoned the park at night entirely, all because of the kickballers.

...even if I pay the $5 to get in, it's not even worth it because the chances of finding a parking space are slim - the lots are completely full of your gas guzzlers and hipstermobiles. I hate overhearing your banal meme-laden banter...

So fuck you, you pathetic vanilla American Apparel hipster doofus faux-literate faux-urban faux-vintage pop culture junkie self-adulating smug conformist kickball motherfuckers.


Any kickballers out there care to kick back?

Even though I may be acquainted with a few of the so-called "hipsters," I couldn't help but pee my pants a little when I read Molly's post. Especially the "monkeys-making-a-getaway-from-the-lab drunk driving."

But I wonder this: Doesn't the fact that she uses the word "twee" make her a hipster? That word freaks me out. That and "foodie."

Also, the fact that she's into zombies. Sorry, Molly, but aren't zombies a hipster thing? Or are they an anti-hipster thing?

They're the new ninjas (which were the new pirates). Although I feel like they're waning now.

WOW! How could something as benign as a kickball league be so bothersome.

Maybe I don't get it because I like me some kickin' (but i'm usually on the dance floor when I unload).

I say we have us a zombies vs. twee kickballers rumble! The kickballers can be armed with kickballs and cans of PBR and the zombies are allowed to eat the kickballers' brains. The betting pool starts now.

Hi! I don't hate kickball. I think anything that bring people outdoors and face to face is probably a great thing.

What I hate is that they completely monopolize the park. It's a public space that is for many hours each week the exclusive, private territory of the kickballers. They prohibitively overrun the small park such that nobody else can use it - there are so many people that dozens of them park in the nearby residential streets. The people who live there are annoyed by not only this but also the screaming and drunks to which they are subjected.

I don't hate kickball. I hate drunk drivers. I hate spectacularly bad citizenship. I hate that one of the few things I have left to enjoy in my daily life due to medical and financial restraints has been taken away from me.

P.S. Cathy, zombies are totally a hipster thing, much to my dismay. But I am a lifelong horror fan! With 30 years of both personal and academic pursuit invested. I can't just switch to romantic comedies because zombies happen to be de rigeur right now (pun totally intended).

So cynical! So snide! So. . . accurate!

You go, Molly.



Clearly you are you very jealous of the kickballers very innocent fun. Oakledge is a public park which kickballers use one night a week. Those of us who live and around Burlington are lucky enough to have access to many fine parks. It happens however that Oakledge is the only park big enough accommodate our growing league. Isn't there another park in Burlington (or just outside of of Burlington) you might enjoy on this night? Also, if there had been a parking or driving issue with the neighbors, shouldn't residents in the immediate area or South Burlington police be the ones to deal with it? I would beware of just sounding bitter or selfish with your opinion of these folks...

btw- I actually enjoy pbr and marb lights most days of the week, not just on the ones I play kickball

When making arguments as to why a particular event is detrimental to a place or community it is usually helpful to base anger on fact, rather than spewing forth unfounded vitriol.

As to the complaints about league overrunning the park on Thursday evening, they contract the use of the fields. The league pays a fee to reserve the fields each Thursday night. If you think this is an unwise or unfair decision, then I suggest talking to the department of Parks and Recreation.

The Thursday night kickball games begin at 6:30 p.m. As most hipsters strive to be as perfectly fashionably late as can be, this means that games commence around quarter to seven. It would follow that all hipsters, arriving in their gas guzzling hipster mobiles, would attempt to park before this deadline. If all kickballers are parked and at their fields by seven, in what way would it make sense to lay blame at the feet of the league for a parking fee extension till nine? It seems as if the recent economic downturn and a decline in state or city funding would be a more logical place to point one's finger in the park's revamping of their parking policy?

Perhaps you need to take a look inward when it comes to the issue that you seem to have with the "Xtra wacky, original, and hilarious" (and here I'm assuming that you are making a concerted effort to use sarcasm as your main literary device) uniforms that most kickball players sport. The league was founded in an effort to offer an outside space during the summer in which people could congregate and have fun in a non-competitive atmosphere. Its intended function was to allow people to let loose and have a good time(you may remember what this feels like; that tingly feeling of glee that you had before you let your jaded world view and overblown sense of self worth cloud your judgement). People wear silly costumes in an attempt to achieve this "fun" of which I speak. If this offends you in such a great manner, my deepest and most sincere apologies.

This league is in its third year running. It started out as a much smaller group of players, but due to its popularity and in an effort to include all who have shown interest, it has grown expansively. With rapid growth comes additional problems that do need to be addressed. If there are noise complaints and concerns about drunk driving, bitching on a blog is a poor way to bring about much needed change; driving under the influence is a threat to the entire community of Burlington, not just prospective users of the park. Being proactive in one's community and attempting to open solid lines of communication with the offending party in order to solve these issues seems like a much more rational and civil way in which to respond.

The league has never been associated with WAKA. This means that it was created and run for two years, voluntarily, by a single person. It now has two chair persons, who I'm sure would like nothing more than to see the league prosper, rather than become a divisive event in the community. I am sure the organizers of the league would welcome any constructive criticism so that the bonds between the league and the community may heal and that the league may once again offer the benefits it provided at its conception.

Hey Molly,
Your concerns are valid but I've got to agree, you sound like a total hipster yourself. Even your EXTENSIVE knowledge of the makings of a hipster, unfortunately, makes it seem like you do your blogging in a room without mirrors. Oh, and the pic on your MySpace page with the jet black hair, extensive ink and vintage looking outfit doesn't exactly convince me otherwise... Our group "monopolizes" the park's fields from about 6:30pm-8:30pm on Thursday evenings. After that, we move into ONE of the TWO pavilions. Also keep in mind, the fields by the soccer goals and volleyball court and upper pavilion AND down by the beach at the end of the bike path aren't touched by us at all during the night. Oh, and yes, you're right: not a single one of us has a designated driver at the end of the evening, nor do the rest of us ride our bikes to get to/from there. Your rant's a bit "dramatic" to say the least, but thanks for making us look like vile, souless, brainless night walkers... which, PS, is super ironic that you hate us because aren't you into zombies or something?

Hey Molly,

We're sorry if we kickballers find our fun outside of Zombie Walks and L.A.R.P like you and your ilk do. Even though we find those activities laughable and sad in their own right, we don't go online spewing our bile about your ridiculous pastimes, so what gives? I suggest you may want to stop drinking the Hatorade and find a new night other than Tuesdays to get your Magic: The Gathering love on down at Oakledge. We know it's been hard on you and the rest of the dork squad since Algebars shut down, but maybe you can find a more creative outlet for your sick hipster hate fascination.. I wonder, did a hipster break your heart? can't we all still just get along?

First of all, it's one stupid blog post. One stupid blog post in whooooooole internet. Who cares??? Why does anyone care what I think? Who the hell am I? Nobody! Sheesh.

I will happily respond to anyone who takes the time to read my entire post and subsequent comments here. I will not, however, volley with trolls. If you expect me to answer your comment, you have to do your homework first.

1. I wasn't trying to change anything or bring about a dialog with anyone. I wasn't "Taking up" the issue. I was just venting on my stupid blog. I didn't send this to Seven Days or portray it as being anything but an outlet of venom that I wrote one night because I was hot and pissed that I couldn't go to Oakledge to cool off.

2. Am I jealous of people who can play kickball? Hell yes! I am disabled and unable to play sports like that. That was part of the point - that swimming at Oakledge was one of the few things that I am physically and financially able to do, and I'm sad and angry that I can no longer do it.

3. I didn't say that the kickball league was associated with WAKA. Cathy posted that pic, not me.

4. I'll help you out in pointing out all the ways I'm a hipster:
a. frequently wear cutesy rainbow shoes, 50s style dresses, etc.
b. shop at thrift stores very frequently
c. keep a blog
d. zombies, zombies, zombies!
e. are my tattoos hipstery?
f. I like kitten notebooks and binders
g. I can't think of anything else right now. I'm sure there's a lot.

5. I'm not sure how my anger is not based in fact? The fact is that I can't use Oakledge on summer evenings anymore. I can't afford to pay $5 every time I want to go swimming or sit in the tree house. I'd be equally mad if this was as a result of any group of inconsiderate people, it just happens to be hipsters and therefore my vitriol is directed at them.

But in conclusion, why does anyone care what I think? I mean, look at all that swearing! I'm clearly mentally unbalanced. Why is this touching anyone's nerves?

Ninja's were the new pirates? I wasn't sure of the historical rise of the two. Sort of thought they came to hipster prominence around the same time. Having been a geek a hipster though it's often hard to tell when I like something because it's geeky or hipster.

I play on Monday nights and we don't let hipsters into our league

I play on Monday nights and we don't let hipsters into our league

Yeah, I posted that picture of the kickball. I saw a similar one posted somewhere associate with this league and thought the league was affiliated. Guess I was mistaken. I'll take it down.

It's true, Molly didn't send me this post. I'm just a fan of her blog, and I thought her creative rant was worthy of a wider audience. And I figured it might generate some discussion.

Hey Molly,

Hipster kickball only happens one night a week, so I'm confused as to how this inhibits your swimming every evening? Also, I think that season long parking passes are only thirty-five bucks for Burlington residents, which would help you to have access to water every other night of the week on the cheap.
I write in order to vent as well, but when you post something on a public forum, there has to be some understanding as to why there is such a strong response. I understand that it was posted on a personal blog, but seven days took public information, opened it to a wider audience, and then essentially instigated the argument by asking players to "kick back". Granted it would be ideal if folks responded to the actual accusations, rather than making personal attacks, but when you issue such harsh blanketed statements about a lot of individuals involved in the activity, you're bound to get some low jabs.
If anything, hopefully this creates an open forum in which the problems that the league creates can be addressed in a way that accommodates both regular park users and kickballers.

Hey Molly,
We don't play kickball in the water, on the beach, in or near the tree house. Because, well, that would be difficult. Plus getting sand, water, or tree leaves in our stripy socks or worse our PBR's is not ironic enough for us hipsters. So there is nothing preventing you from using the areas that you seem to want to ( unless you too are afraid of getting sand on YOUR orignal T-shirt. Just don't you wander into one of the kickball fields unless you are ready for some shenanagins Come say hi, we don't bite-- which on second thought may be a turn off for you.

Aarhg, for the millionth time. The problem isn't ACCESS, it's MONEY. There is now a $5 fee ($6 for non-residents) every night - there wasn't one before. The park was free between 7pm and 9pm. I never used the fields, I don't care about the fields. I used to be able to go swimming at Oakledge between 7pm and 9pm, and now I can't because they have started charging.
The kickballers only play on Thursdays. But here is the after 7pm fee schedule:
Monday: $5
Tuesday: $5
Wednesday: $5
Thursday: Kickball
Friday: $5
Saturday: $5
Sunday: $5
Is anyone comprehending this? Do I need to make a funny song-lyric style diagram?

Don't you think hipsters totally taste like chicken?

I'm a bit confused - how does Kickball one night a week translate into the park extending its fee window by two hours every day of the week? How is this a direct correlation? Did the parks & rec department confirm this and if so, how in the world could they use this as a valid explanation when extra fees are paid to them by the league and pretty much every kickball car is parked by 6:45?

I am sorry that the money issue has gotten in the way of you enjoying the park the way you have in the past, but I think you are be blaming people who have nothing to do with your situation. It's not a logical explanation for the fee/time window increase, and if that's the reason you were given, someone is lying to you.

I also feel that if you did explain your situation to the proper people, you may be able to get some assistance, and perhaps could be granted access for a reduced/no fee.

As far as drunk driving, that's a pretty heavy accusation to lay on a large group of people, and from what I have seen in the past two years, not true at all. The police are well aware of us - if there are so many drunk drivers rolling out of Oakledge on Thursday nights, why not set a honey trap outside the park and let the revenue roll in? DUI's are expensive, you know. I have only seen the police there once for an alcohol-related incident, and it was someone not involved with kickball.

It really is just a group of overall very nice people having some fun. Nothing more, nothing less. Come and watch a game or two - you might be surprised.

Alright already. You have done your collective due diligence defending your ridiculous endeavor.

The anonymous hipster comments in this string are increasingly superfluous and annoying. Piling on isn't clever.

Give yourselves a round of applause and move on.

Hey, who won the Aliens / O.N.E. Ballers game?

Season passes may be purchased at LeddyPark, North Beach, Oakledge Park and Perkins Pier when gate attendants are on duty. Season passes allow unlimited admittance to all Burlington parks. Park admission is always free if you enter by foot, bike, or other non-motorized transportation. Season passes are $35 for Burlington residents and $50 for non-residents. Burlington residents with limited incomes may apply for a free season pass in person with recent proof of income at the Burlington Parks & Recreation Office. Call 865-7247 for a packet."

Everyone between the ages of 5 and 90 in Burlington is an annoying hipster.

I hate all of you. Can't wait to get back to Burlington.

Why are you fucking driving to the park anyway?

So, I see Simpleton Psych, puerile name calling, and Poor Reading Comprehension 101, isn't anyone going to call me a Nazi? C'mon! Hitler me!

Oh my, what a hornets nest you stirred up Cathy (and what a wise online editor you are).

I'm not sure why hipster is such a dirty word but that is a discussion for elsewhere.

Since many of you do not know her personally, I would like to state for the record that Molly is an amazing, thoughtful, considerate friend and human being. She brings a lot of good into this world and also writes very witty blog posts and comments.

I know many of you kickballers are also fine people who are just enjoying your Thursdays together and I realize your feelings have been hurt. I just ask that you have some understanding.

Molly has spent most of her summer indoors suffering from crappy, hateful, dehabilitating medical issues. It just plain sucks.

So let's all just agree to drive/bike carefully and be as respectful of one another as we can be.

i cant wait to get drizunk this thursday and kick some ballz baby!

This shit is ridiculous. Its a park...there's room for everyone...even angry Germans.

Also, the reason you see people parking on side streets is because its free to walk into the park.

If you go to the park to swim, you sure seem in well enough health to walk your ass there in the first place.

Gosh, I think the kickballers have very effectively exhibited their shining character and civic spirit here and over on my blog. I woke up to three more banal abusive comments this morning.

Well done!

I suggest you may want to stop drinking the Hatorade and find a new night other than Tuesdays to get your Magic: The Gathering love on down at Oakledge. We know it's been hard on you and the rest of the dork squad since Algebars shut down,

Really? You're calling Molly a "dork?" And then you're playing kickball? I think you might be taking your ironic gym class thing a little far.

Yikes. What's the big deal? I go away for just a little while and come back to find links to all this craziness in my inbox? Let's dial it back, please. We use and share a public place. As far as I can tell no one is stepping on anyone else's rights to it. We just bumped up against differing asthetics- so what?

Kickball is a fun, wonderfully ridiculous, well-organized outdoor group activity. Yes, it can sometimes be a bit loud and rowdy (not unlike other sports, public BBQs, etc.). Does this come as a surprise to anyone? I think we do a excellent job maintaining a level of civic responsibility. We like the place. We want to keep coming back.

Molly seems like an intelligent articulate person sometimes riled up enough to spout on her blog. Call me crazy, but that seems to be why many blogs exist. Whereas you used to call your friends and say "Can you believe those kickball motherfuckers?", now it's a (potentially) worldwide "discussion". Puh-leeeeze. If I had a blog, I'd rant about those who hit the keyboard every time they have an opinion. Instead I do the next best thing. I just don't read them. It's not that tricky. Live and let blog.

In fact, I've spent too much of my time on this already. I'm going to do something more meaningful like paint my toenails. Come thursday I'll be there trying to send that red ball to outerspace and relaxing with a burger and a cold (probably cheap) beer. I do hope parks and rec gives Molly and anyone else who wants to share the park but needs assistance a pass. We're all pretty lucky to have a publicly maintained choice piece of lakefront. If it was her family that kept it from developers then they have my utmost thanks.

What's a hipster sign off? Is "Peace Out" ironic enough?

"...I will not, however, volley with trolls. ..." That's OK, Molly- I got nothing better to do. I have a little time before I have to go to my "Unix Users who play Magic and LARP while drinking Absinthe at the LAN center" Meeting...

First, I find it interesting that non-kickballers have the guts to use their real names- I suppose that even when dorks get a little sporty they lose their courage and go the "pile on" route. Not all of you, but most, it seems, can dish it out only while hiding behind Nom de Plume. I address this particularly stupid missive by "DasBoot";

"If you go to the park to swim, you sure seem in well enough health to walk your ass there in the first place."

Wow. Slow clap, genius, you just managed to shoot an awesome anti-disabled-person cannonball off her bow. Good JOB, SPORTO! So I guess maybe it might not have occurred to you that many individuals have no(or less) problem driving or riding in a car because they can deal with a reclining position? Or that said disabled individuals MIGHT need to cut an impossible walking distance by using a car to get to their destination. Maybe you were just blissfully ignorant of the fact that even individuals with no lower body mobility whatsoever operate specially designed vans to get from place to place(and in fact have every right to do so)? How about the fact that to be honest, she and anyone else with special needs or not has a right to drive up and use the facilities? Or maybe you're just an ignorant @$$h01e? Dasboot, the only thing funny about you and your thoughtless glib retort is your alias. "Dasboot" Ignorant attacks on those weaker or vulnerable. Hm. COUGHNazisCOUGH-I mean nothing.

On to the Mensa member that seems to believe that only the neighbors of the park have the right , duty or something to report noise, drunkenness, etc. Um, actually, no. In fact, last time I remember, anyone in the proximity of behavior that is illegal or disruptive to the degree of calling in the law is, in fact, allowed to do so. Also don't count on the fact that the neighbors won't complain- it's possible they might just be waiting for you guys to get it together and police yourselves.

PLW? Thanks for posting some useful info.

Now please excuse me while I leave with my Hookah- I'm late to go smoke my green tea/clove/herbal X blend with my fellow pretentious Steampunk/gamer/vampire/art-fags.

I play kickball and I DID use my real name. Why wouldn't I? There are alot of people who play kickball in this league and a few of them got shitty and rude about someone's (pretty shitty, rude, and inaccurate) comments. Most of us don't vent like that. I remember you, Greg (from a long time ago- I worked at Boomer's and the O.P.). You never seemed like the type to roll in the mud either.

This sucks all around. Thanks, Cathy, for bringing such an important topic to your forum.

Actually, I have no problem with rolling in the mud considering the comment by "DasBoot"; "...If you go to the park to swim, you sure seem in well enough health to walk your ass there in the first place." If "Dasboot" wants to insult individuals with disabilities then yeah, it is worth slapping the gutless troll with a mudball. I don't have any need to respond to this "shitty, rude inaccuracy" (well put, Bridget) with anything less vitriolic or insulting. Yes I'm argumentative and I speak my mind; angrily, peacefully or otherwise. If I see something that stinks I say it stinks, not tip toe around it.

Having said that, my comment was not a response to your post Bridget. As I said in my original comment, "...Not all of you, but most, it seems, can dish it out only while hiding behind Nom de Plume. "

Not all, but most. Not you, but most of the rest of these folks. I think that was made clear. Unfortunately, unlike a message board,where specific quoting is possible, I suppose it could have been confused as such- but really given my clear language- "...I address this particularly stupid missive by "DasBoot";" and my complaint over "joanna"(again anonymity) I'm kind of at a loss as to why you might think my post was directed to you. I wouldn't imagine you to be the type to be guilty of any of the ignorance and somewhat threatening opinion that fellow baller "Dasboot" seems to be harboring. And as you say you do use your name.

I think you're spot on with your defense and assessment of Molly's rant on her blog- and what goes on in blogs in general.

Wow! I haven't seen this kind of inane sniping in a long time. Kinda reminds me of Solid State. Isn't blogging fun?

I don't play kickball. But before I add my two cents, I should point out that some of my best friends are hipst . . . um, kickballers. No, it's true. My girlfriend plays (Hi, honey!). So does the co-commissioner of my hipst . . . um, my bowling league (we wear funny shoes too, but mostly 'cuz we have to). In fact, I think there's probably a lot of crossover between the ol' WBGL (Whiskey Ball Gutter League) and kickball. They all seem like nice folks to me — and responsible drinkers, for what it's worth.

Now, I malign hipsters as much as, if not more than the next guy — even though you could argue that I am one (ironic, no?). And I make fun of dorks too — again, you could argue . . .

In any event, as both a borderline hipster and borderline dork (dorkster?), I'm uniquely qualified to comment on this one, methinks. I usually reserve my comments for my own little corner of Cyberspace, but here goes:

You're all fuckin' nuts.

Molly & dorks, it blows that you've been priced out of Oakledge. But I still fail to see how it relates at all to kickball. It's $5 bucks until 9 p.m. every night, right? The timing of the price hike with the advent of kickball seems more coincidence than causation. BTW, I really like your blog, Molly.

Kickballers & hipsters (& closet dorks), chill out. I understand Molly's post struck a nerve and was unnecessarily insulting. But it's just a blog, fer chrissakes. Take the higher ground. So one person doesn't like you. Big effin' deal! Pssst . . . she's probably not the only one.

As someone who is regularly the target of invective-laden rants, I can tell you it's not worth your time to respond. And when you get overly defensive, it just makes you look insecure. By lowering yourselves to petty insults, you just add fuel the flames and end up with . . . well, this crap. To mangle a phrase, speak softly and kick big red balls.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to wash my "Balls Out" jersey for my own pseudo sport, beer league softball. Someone spilled Miller Lite on it and it smells like Camels.

PS- Greg, "Das Boot" is a kickball team named after the Wolfgang Peterson movie. And while the film is ostensibly about Nazis, it's a classic. I've aways thought the name was pretty clever, actually.

Thanks, Greg. I didn't really think it was directed toward me. I just wanted you to know that there are LOTS of us and only a few dove in to comment at all. In fact, I received some emails from other players who saw things basically the way I do asking everybody to just back off. They're all doing their part by not joining in here. Isn't that the creepy part of all the blog/MySpace/Facebook stuff? I'm soooo glad I'm not a teenager right now, airing my every thought and move so everyone can comment on it.

Really, the kickball thing is just laid back fun. Some people took offense (from Molly's angle and the players) but ultimately we all share the space and try to use it well.
Hope you (and your hookah :) are doing well. -B


Happy to stand up for my comments. First name Joanna, last name Pawluk. Do you want my home address and first born too? I didn't know my integrity was at stake- can't say I've ever blogged before and I guess I didn't know giving your last name was protocol.

Dan- thanks for the comments taking both sides in a reasonable manner. I know about the film and the reference, etc.- the point of my sarcasm was that I find it ironic for a bunch of folks to dogpile someone with health issues and in a literal physical sense, debilitated, one of whom uses a fake name that brings up images of German militarism. Kind of uncool for a few reasons, in my opinion. Either way- I say again, thanks for seeing a both sides.

Joanna- Actually, no I don't really need your SSN or your address of your Aunt Petunia either- I think your retort is more than a a bit melodramatic. Of course there's no protocol, there are no rules- anyone can lay down a trolling on anyone else here. There are (as of yet) no moderated rules here on Blurt censoring anyone. I just think that when commenters want to sling around the sarcasm, attacks, mud or what have you, they at least should be willing to say who they are rather than snipe and run anonymously. In this public forum we all choose what is or is not our level of privacy and tolerance for exposure- I'd just rather not hide when I vent. If I'm wrong or right- then I'M wrong or right, not "Dasboot", "Anonymous",etc., and accept the responses and be called to task by the rest of the public who wish to do so.

If I offended anyone other than "German film reference", I apologize for setting phasers on broad pattern.

Hi Greg. Yes, there is a commenting policy — it's linked in the top right-hand corner of every page. And yes, I do delete or shut down comments on occasion, though rarely (see the white supremacist comments on the recent Second Vermont Republic post for an example).

This lively discussion didn't rise (sink?) to that level.

For the record, I have no opinion either way about kickball. And I could easily be lumped in with either the twee hipsters or the Algebars (RIP) dorks.

I think it would be kinda cool to host a hipster/dork BBQ at one of the picnic shelters at Oakledge, to make up. Maybe we could all play bocce?

We could play croquet! But I would unfortunately not feel safe. In fact, I don't think I will feel safe going to Oakledge for a very long time.

Thanks Eva, Greg, Bill, and everyone else who chimed in. You all get big hugs next time I see you! In case anyone else is listening:

1. I have systemic lupus and idiopathic colonic inertia. The former means photosensitivity, joint pain, fatigue, fevers, pleurisy (inflammation of the linings around my lungs), vertigo, and nephritis (inflammation of my kidneys). The latter means that my large intestine does not work. None of this is fun and requires tons of medications, constant medical monitoring, a whole team of specialists bugging me and disagreeing with each other all the time, surgeries, and feeling too sick to even leave the apartment to go out to the grocery store many days.

2. My blog is not a rant blog. I've kept it up for about three years (starting first on MySpace) and it's mainly just a way for me to keep in touch with my friends and family. In all these years I have only 20 posts labeled "complaining", whereas there are 108 with the label "happy". To judge my entire life philosophy and the content of my character based on one short blog post is cretinous.

3. I still don't understand why anyone gives two damns what I think, anyway?!

4. When I contacted the parks department to ask them to update their website to reflect the new charging hours, they said the hours had changed because the pavilions were being rented out until 9pm so they needed to now have staff there to collect for parking. It was not a correlation/causation fallacy on my part.

If I might say just one last thing: the fact that they had to be instructed by their organizers to stop acting like a bunch of vicious thugs speaks louder and more poignantly than any of the feeble sentences on my blog ever could. Innocent fun-lovin' scamps, indeed.

Right, OK, last one- for the record we weren't instructed by anyone to stop acting like vicious thugs (as far as I know). This just clearly got ridonkulous very quickly and some thought it best to leave it alone. I agree.

You clearly have alot on your plate, Molly. Good luck continuing to manage your difficult and compromising conditions. Don't sweat the kickballers and we'll just keep doing our thing, too.

oh you Burlington folk have it SOOOOOooooo freaking hard. LOL very newsworthy.

Thanks Bridget. I hope that if nothing else people might give a second thought to their alcohol consumption. We all know how dangerous drunk driving is, but one in three fatal bike accidents is linked to alcohol use by the bicyclist, too.

And to those planning to say 'no, no, no we don't'. First of all, we've seen you. Second, I know people who play who confirm this. And third, there are cases and cans and bottles of beer in every single one of your Facebook album photos. You can't realistically claim that everyone stops after just 2 drinks. I don't want to argue about it, just be safe, okay?

Things sure seem wrapped up nicely here. Glad everyone can be friends, enjoy our beautiful parks, and move on.

1- Sorry you have so much to deal with Molly, it sounds difficult to say the least. I wish you the best.

2- DasBoot, I imagine you had no idea of Molly's circumstances before you wrote what you did. Be careful... things can clearly be taken in the worst way possible. To be fair, this whole blog started with some nasty words towards your friendly neighborhood's silly to read too deeply into any of this...if I did I would have called the police for fear that you might kill them all.

3- Molly, in response to what you said here; "I can't afford to pay $5 every time I want to go swimming or sit in the tree house. I'd be equally mad if this was as a result of any group of inconsiderate people, it just happens to be hipsters and therefore my vitriol is directed at them."

To the best of my knowledge you should have a pass that allows you disabled parking. Yes? These parking spots at Oakledge are located outside of the gate where money is collected, making it free to park there at any time. Knowing this, the money should not be an issue.

Secondly, blaming a group of people that have used the park for years for a recent turn in the economy and the subsequent extended entrance fee schedule seems uncalled for, uneducated, and unfounded. Recessions are a bitch, and in a small city like Burlington the first place that gets chopped is recreation. We are lucky the parks are still viable, and in my opinion, everyone should pay to use the park, all the time, so we have them for years to come.

4- Yes, people drink. Yes, they drive. And yes, it is dangerous if they drink excessively. One point to note, many teams have 15-20 people, making 2 cases of beer just about 2 drinks each, give or take. It does look excessive when you look at it as one event, but for the most part it just seems like innocent fun to me.

5- AND MOST IMPORTANT - Molly, there is no way, AT ALL, that you should feel unsafe to enjoy the park, on any night of the week. This is the last thing that anyone involved with the kickball league or not, would ever wish. Please don't allow anyone to take away something that is so important to you. No one wishes you ill regardless of what has been said here.

On behalf of everyone who uses the park, we hope to see you out there enjoying yourself.

Best wishes.

David S. Alofsin
298 South Winooski Ave
Burlington, VT

(I hope that will suffice)

Well put, David.


1. Thanks. I was diagnosed with lupus when I was 19 (twelve years ago) so I'm kind of accustomed to living this way and trying to make the best of it.

2. The one gentle chiding you issue to the kickballers gets immediately twisted back into a insult directed at me. How very passive-aggressive.

3. A. I have never pursued getting a handicapped parking tag because I've never had any great need for one and the paperwork you have to fill out and then constantly renew is a pain. I am mostly homebound and mainly go out to places where finding a decent parking space has never been a problem.

B. "... uncalled for, uneducated, and unfounded..." As I had just explained, I was told by the parks department that the booth hours were extended due to the pavilions being rented out. The pavilions are rented out to the kickballers. If I am wrong it is because I was misinformed. Good of you to add to the list of nasty adjectives and descriptive phrases hurled at me, though.

4. Thanks for the amusing mathematic proof of innocence, but as I also had just explained: I have seen the Thursday kickballers excessively drunk; my friends have seen the them obnoxiously drunk; people I know who play kickball have seen their cohorts falling down drunk; local resident have seen and heard them drunk, etc., etc..

5. Too late. When I wrote that post, I thought the kickballers were just a bunch of mostly harmless douchbags. But the social psychology revealed by this mess has been sadly illuminating. The idea of being surrounded by this mob of people who have written such vile and even violent things to and about me is terrifying.

I will not being going back to Oakledge anytime soon.

I know it's a little late in the game, but this has been bugging me: Cathy, you didn't exactly do your journalistic due diligence when putting together this post. I think this fact may have gotten buried in all the caterwauling, but you're conflating two different kickball leagues. The VPR story was about WAKA, which has nothing to do with the Thursday-night kickballers (who are indeed associated with the Facebook page and blog you linked to). I don't know anything about WAKA, but I do know that a bunch of people have been getting together Thursday nights for three years now. The Free Press has written a couple of stories about it (good luck with the FP's awful search function, though).

It might seem like a minor point, but it's frustrating that you put up an intentionally provocative post—one that was bound to generate so much "debate"—without actually ensuring its accuracy.

Wait, there are two different kickball leagues that both play at Oakledge Park? Somebody kick me.

I've known about the "hipster" kickball league for years, and know a bunch of people who know people who play.

How is it that through this entire brouhaha, no one else has pointed out that there are two completely different leagues? And that the VPR story and the Facebook page and the blog are not all operated by the same kickball league that Molly is addressing in her post?

I'm confused.

But I'll sort this out. My apologies if I've conflated two entirely separate groups of people. Email me directly with more info if you'd like -- [email protected].

Yeah, there's the WAKA group that plays on Mondays. They seem nice and respectful of state laws, other people, and park rules. It's the Thursday group that acts like a giant frat party and spawns little baby frat parties (pick-up games) throughout the rest of the week.

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