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April 4, 2007

Kickballers cast aspersions, call competition 'Microsoft'

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano at 12:56 PM

The Seattle Weekly has a story on the behemoth of adult kickball leagues entering the Seattle market this season. It includes two references to ballers from rival leagues equating the World Adult Kickball Association (WAKA) to Microsoft. Even the story's headline proclaims: "'The Microsoft of Kickball' Has Arrived."

So are these comments meant to malign WAKA or compliment its success? (As the Weekly reports, 32,000 players in 21 states participated in WAKA kickball last year.)

WAKA clearly feels maligned. The kickball league sued another D.C.-based league, DC Kickball, for infringing on WAKA's copyrighted rules and accused a DC Kickball founder of defamation "for calling it 'the Microsoft of kickball' in a 2005 Washington City Paper story," the Weekly reports. "WAKA is seeking $356,000 in compensatory and punitive damages."

Later in the story, the kickball coordinator for local adult league Underdog Sports makes the Microsoft comparison again.

Lawrence Martin tells the Weekly he thought WAKA was awesome when he was in college, when "they were sort of independent. ... They sound like a Microsoft now. I think they've lost their way."

(Full disclosure: At least one member of the Tech Tracks staff played in an Underdog kickball and/or bowling league within the last 12 months.)

So what do you think when you hear a group described as "the Microsoft of (blank)"? Is this a compliment? An insult? Did it change somewhere along the way?

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Tricia Duryee
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