Whiff-It, whiff it good9/17/2014
After the inaugural Whiffle Ball Classic, Doug Vinsand, Katie Ketelsen, Chris Juhl, Jason Wells and Brian Flynn got together for drinks. Their conversation steered toward setting up a tournament that combined memories of their youth with fundraising. The solution was simple: more Wiffle ball.
“We wanted to have a true tournament winner, add a home run derby and encourage participants to tailgate and make it a fun atmosphere,” says Vinsand, who is also the president of Whiff-It Des Moines. “With the Kiwanis Miracle League’s blessing, we started our own tournament in the fall of 2010, held at the Kiwanis Miracle League field.”
After only three tournaments, demand grew enough that Whiff-It moved out to Campbell Park in Clive so they could utilize all three fields.
“I have played in all the Whiff-It tournaments since it first started,” said Brian Flynn of team Take a Whiff of This. “I decided to participate because it was a fun and unique way to help raise money for charity.”
While Whiffle ball may be a child’s sport, it’s not without its fair share of difficulties. For Vinsand, the trickiest part is fielding.
“The ball takes crazy hops and can change direction quickly because of the wind and the holes in the ball,” Vinsand says. “Also, because there are no base runners, fielders have to guard lines instead of bases.”
Remember ghosts? They’re not just found in haunted houses; they’re also quite the base runners. Lines on the field dictate how many bases a person receives. Once on base, the ghost runner advances as much as the next hit takes him or her.
Another classic anecdote one might recall from peewee league is that the pitcher is on the batter’s team. While this can make hitting easier, it does make things a little awkward when the pitcher accidentally manages to strike out his or her teammate.
The fun starts two days earlier (Sept. 18 at 5:30 p.m.) at the Keg Stand for the Kick-Off party.
“It’s a chance for teams to get together to smack talk about their team, discuss the power rankings and their odds of winning — determined with no factual base at all by me,” Vinsand says.
There’s no telling who’s going to come out on top. Even halfway through the tournament, things can take an upswing like you wouldn’t believe.
“I remember this past spring’s tournament the most — we placed fourth!” says Brian Springer of team Cheat-Duhs. “We lost all three pool play games, then got a hot streak going and won our way to the semifinals. We love the whole experience — tailgating, competition, friends and the cause that we are all donating and helping.” CV
David Rowley is an Iowa native with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa and a master’s in film journalism from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.Fall Whiff-It Tournament Saturday, Sept. 20 at Campbell Park, Clive Tailgating: 7:30 a.m. Round robin play: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. Home Run Derby (anyone can participate for $10): 12 p.m. Single elimination tournament play: 1 p.m. For complete rules visit http://whiffitdsm.com/2014-fall-whiff-it/whiffing-rules/ Registration is closed at this time but folks are encourage to come out and enjoy tailgating, home run derby and cheering on friends. Alcohol is allowed in the parking lot and the stands but not in the dugouts or on the fields.