The second annual Docs vs. Jocks kickball game at Griffith Field unfolded like a scene plucked out of the old Abbott and Costello joke, “Who’s on first?”
Kansas State athletes seemed to fill every crevice of the field, making it difficult to tell who actually played which position. The game, which pitted the athletes against physicians who donate their time to the Flint Hills Community Clinic, was a fund-raiser for the center.
The Flint Hills Community Clinic, 401 Houston St., is a non-profit organization that has two full-staffed employees but relies primarily on medical volunteers to provide non-emergency care for the uninsured in Riley County for free. They also provide ongoing care for diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, and well-baby care. Because of its reliance on volunteers, the clinic is only open at Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night.
“We are only open at night so the doctors do not have to take any time away from work,” Foster said.
Unlike last year, when spectators were charged an admission, the clinic this time decided to ask for donations.
Foster said she was unsure whether the gamble would pay off financially.
“We have no idea if it will work, but it’s worth a shot,” Foster said.
There was also a silent auction and concessions. Attendees had a chance to place a silent bid on an autographed football a Frank Martin signed basketball, and a Kendra Wecker signed basketball. The football went for around $300, the highest of any of the items.
All in all, the game raised $3,500 for the FHCC, Foster said.
There were a total of 50 jocks at this year’s fund-raiser and they all saw some game action. For the first time ever, there were representatives from the football team including Heisman contender Collin Klein and starting linebackers Arthur Brown and Tre Walker. Unsung kickball extraordinaire free safety Ty Zimmerman and long snapper Marcus Heit carried the jocks team to late victory over the docs.
The docs used to play basketball against the Kansas State men’s basketball team, but after getting clobbered they decided to compete in a sport that might be more favorable to their skill-level.
In their first year of kickball, the docs were able to pull out a victory against the jocks team, a fact that had many of the jocks seeking revenge this year.
It was the first time many jocks and some docs had competed in the sport of kickball since the grade school.
Garrett Roop, a chiropractor at Nichols Chiropractic and volunteer at the clinic, was one of those working off the rust.
Roop said he was not very good in elementary school and “I’m probably not any good right now.”
Some of the athletes even switched sides for the evening, putting their loyalties to the ultimate test.
Women’s basketball players, Stephanie Wittman and Heidi Brown, were managers for the docs’ team. Wittman donned a white lab coat and showed a little enthusiasm when one of the docs crossed the plate, even though many of her teammates were competing for the jocks team.
There was not much animosity between the teammates. Like the rest of the jocks, the women’s basketball players were more than happy to help a good cause rather than to get caught up in the competitiveness of the contest.
Haley Texada, a guard on the women’s basketball team, said getting out and being active was a nice de-stresser before finals week.
“I love doing stuff like this for charities,” Texada said. “The kids are out here all having a good time and laughing.”
Even though the game was all in good fun, there were a few tense moments as the docs and jocks went in to the final inning.
The jocks faced a two-run deficit and were down to their last out before a flurry of kicks put runners on second and third with Heit up. He clunked one off his foot, but Dr. Jeremy Bennett was unable to correctly diagnose the pop-up and boofed the catch, allowing two runs to score. Zimmerman hit his second triple of the game just one batter later to give the jocks an 8-6 lead. A close call at the plate put the umpire on the receiving end of an earful from one of the docs’ fans.
“Whatever they’re paying you, we’ll triple it,” screamed the doc supporter. The proposed payment did nothing to sway the blue on his call, nor did it light a fire underneath the docs.
Unable to mount a comeback in the bottom of the seventh, the docs fell to an even 1-1 against the Kansas State athletes in the second annual kickball kerfuffle.
It was a tough break for husband of board member Mary Foster. Matt Foster, who works in the ER at Mercy Regional, jokingly said he kicked thousands of kickballs to ready his foot for the pounding it would take during the game.
A self-described bookworm, he described experiencing what a Big 12 linebacker experiences.
“It was scary being at home and seeing Collin Klein round third,” Foster said. “There was no way I was getting in front of that guy.”