ORWBL Player Profile: Kevin May
Throughout the rest of the season, we will be releasing new player profiles each week. Each player profile will be filled with a mixture of 15 different Wiffleball and personal questions. This week we have Rolling Prairie Emery's Army skipper Kevin May. Kevin is an established ORWBL veteran who is currently in his 13th year.
1. How were you introduced to Wiffleball?
Back in the Summers of the mid-90s I spent a lot of time at my Aunt and Uncle’s house in Hudson Lake because they had a pool that my friends and I would swim in.
They had a perfectly-sized yard next to the pool and one day my cousin, Joel Taylor, brought out the classic yellow bat and a few wiffle balls and asked me and my friends if we wanted to play.
There were times where we altered the rules to accommodate a 3-player, 1 v. 1 v. 1 game. We used ghost runners and every hit was either a single or HR. In the field, all you had to do was field the ball in front of you to record an out.
I’m still good friends with the guys who were also introduced to this kind of backyard wiffle ball back then: Koby Keck, Garrett Curless, Jared Colanese, Tyler Seniff… I’m sure there’s more.
I’d like to think this is where Koby got the idea to start this whole thing, but you’d have to check with him on that.
2. What’s the biggest difference in the league now compared to how it was back during the early years?
For better or worse, the internet. If someone told me back in 2007 that ORWBL would eventually be online, I would have laughed at their idea that MySpace would be a cool spot for the league’s public presence.
Yet here we are in 2020 where every team has a Twitter account, hash tag, and a desire to end a lukewarm (at best) take with “don’t @ me.” Kidding aside, it’s fun to see the online chatter and engagement.
But I hope people don’t get too carried away with it like that one guy who made a burner account just to run his mouth in a weak attempt to feel important.
But, like Sir Charles Barkley said, “the internet is where losers go to feel important.” Thankfully 99.9% of the guys in this league respect each other enough to not become that aforementioned “loser.”
3. What is the toughest part about being an ORWBL Manager?
Deciding which teammate to disagree with. We are all close friends who, like everyone else, walk that fine line between fun and competitive.
I try to get as much input from everyone about lineups, matchups, and everything in-between but occasionally I’ll have to make a judgment call that someone doesn’t like. Oh yeah, losing sucks a little more too.
In any leadership position, you have to take all the blame for the L's and accept none of the praise for the W's. Otherwise you’ll end up with either a team of winners who hate each other or a team of losers who respect each other. I’ll take the latter every time.
4. Which ORWBL series is your favorite ORWBL series?
As a player, that’s a tough one. Conventional wisdom would go with EA/Newts, but I have some of the best memories when we played the Bajer Beerfarts (currently known as Speedy’s Chickenheads).
There was never a shortage of competition, beer, or “f**k it, he’s safe.” When we first played them at their field in South Bend, we didn’t know what to expect. Thankfully those guys showed US a thing or two about wiffle ball and the rest is history.
When the game itself becomes secondary - just as it did with Speedy’s, Newts, and B-Slugs - that’s when you know you’re doing it right.
As a spectator, Newts vs. Magic. I know almost all the players on both teams and there’s always some spectacular plays in that series. Tensions tend to run pretty high between those two as well - who doesn’t like a little drama?
5. For those new to the league, what is the story behind the name Emery’s Army?
Back in 2009, twin brothers Kyle and Eric Johnson, with a little inspiration from Zach Blackwood, decided that Rolling Prairie wanted in on the ORWBL fun.
A group of us were sitting in the Johnson’s basement and Blake Murray noticed a weird cowboy-ish painting on the wall that, to everyone’s surprise, looked exactly like Kyle and Eric’s dad, Emery. Fun fact: that painting is still EA’s current logo and won’t ever change.
So, with the logo selected, next was the name. There was no way in hell we were going to be Emery’s Cowboys and Eric suggested Emery’s Army. Well, technically, it’s General Emery’s Army. Although he will never admit it, Emery was thrilled with the name.
You’ll hear us spit out several of Emery’s infamous lines that he yelled at us back in the day, such as “that’s why we run them out!” or “this ain’t no party, Eric.” Not sure if that second one was during a game… I’ll let your imagination be the judge.
6. What was your biggest takeaways from your experience in law school?
I knew a questions like this would come up. Ok, here it goes…
For those of you who don’t know, I obtained my JD from Western Michigan after undergrad at IU. However, I don’t currently practice law and don’t regret my decision to leave the legal industry - not even a little bit.
Takeaway 1: The Socratic Method of teaching is 100x more impactful than traditional lecturing. Curious why you can’t seem to remember anything from high school? Because you were force fed the “knowledge” and merely regurgitated it come test time. The Socratic Method, however, forces you to think creatively, objectively, and with no wrong answer so long as your reasoning is sound.
Takeaway 2: Don’t do something just so your family has something to talk about during dinner. I met countless people in Law School who had absolutely zero desire to be there, but always mentioned how proud their parents were that someone would take over the family-owned law firm back home.
My dad was a lawyer and when I told him I wanted to go after a JD he said, pointing at 4-foot-tall stack of papers and folders, “you sure? This is is what you want to do?” That was his way of telling me to do what I wanted - not what anyone else thought I was supposed to do. So, I always encourage people to follow that same logic when choosing their career path.
Takeaway 3: Brevity breeds clarity. Do all that you can to effectively say more with less words.
7. Who is your favorite teammate that you have ever played with?
Without a doubt, Jake Lawrence. My brother, Joe, is a close second though. He was soooo good at pissing people off. Still is, actually.
8. Create your ORWBL Super team of 5 players. Tell us why you chose each player to be on the team.
Garrett Curless - the dude hits bombs but will subsequently spank a duckfart down the line in clutch moments. You can’t buy that kind of sweet ’n sour sauce.
Daivyn Davis - when we played Granger a few weeks ago, he was just raking and I told him “Dude, you’re the wiffle ball player I always wanted to be.”
Wes Ellis - he’s the OG “HR GUY!” How couldn’t you want that on your squad?
Matt Serge - he’ll keep your grammar on point and your head out of the gutter.
Noah Shail - he’s basically the Mike Trout of ORWBL, without the contract. Hint: here’s your cue Jared Emmons.
9. You are stuck on a deserted island with 3 other ORWBL players. Which 3 players would you want to be stuck with and why?
Matador - you think that physique would let us go hungry or without fire? I think not.
Eric Johnson - impossible to lose your mind if it’s constantly listening to hour-long short stories.
Bobby Bushman - my gut tells me he can spearfish at an elite level
10. Word on the street is that you played a role in the creation of the New Carlisle Newts name. Can you elaborate?
I can. Back in jr high and high school we’d play snow football in New Carlisle on the field(s) closest to where the HTD festival is. It was always the New Carlisle natives vs. La Porte natives.
Needing a name, I came up with the Newts (although Koby will dispute this and attribute the name’s creation to a combination of him, Garrett Curless, Jared Colanese, Tyler Seniff, and myself.)
The name stuck and the rest is history. At that time, Jake Lawrence lived in La Porte and he came up with the La Porte Wallabies. I don’t know why nobody ran with that name. Probably because the Newts always kicked their ass.
11. Which team do you have the most beef with? Which team do you like the most?
Beef? This is a game designed for 10-year-olds. There should never be any beef between anyone, unless it’s their nap time.
Conversely, there’s no team I can place at the top of a “most liked” list. I try to introduce myself to everyone in the league simply to get to know them. You’d be surprised at how many of us share the same interests.
This league will only be as good as its worst team - both now and in the future. For those who preserve the reasons why we all get up on Sunday mornings, you’re my favorites!
12. What is the usual pre & post game routine for you and the rest of the Army?
For pre-game, we fire up the EA playlist to get in the proper mindset. Most guys take BP but I personally don’t like to due to superstition.
There’s not much postgame routine besides bs’ing with the opponent about upcoming games and tournaments. I usually have to take off immediately afterwards since I have to drive back to my house in Chicago. 13. What does IU vs. Purdue mean to you?
It means I have 5 reasons why Purdue wishes they could be like IU. But, the older I get the less I really care about the rivalry. 14. Why is Hometown Days weekend so special?
It’s the experience, the hype, and seeing all the guys in the wiffle community all in one weekend. Plus, TENT CITY. 15. If you could build the ultimate ORWBL player, which player would possess each skill set and why?
Hitting: Caleb Jonkman. His length allows him to have a strike/hit zone that arguably spans St. Joe and LaPorte County. Defensively you just have to hope he’s having an off day (which rarely happens). Pitching: Jake Lawrence. He gives you pitches to hit but it’s his quick feet off the mound that makes him great. I don’t know how he and I haven’t ran each other over in the 10+ years we’ve played together. Fielding: K. Webb. He came into the league as an Oreck but quickly evolved into a Dyson. It’s fun to see him hurt batter’s feelings when they prematurely bat flip or celebrate. He’s simply a Lee Corso “Not So Fast!” highlight reel. Baserunning: Only because this is the last question I’ll make a personal plug and say myself. It’s funny how, after all these years, I still somehow manage to surprise people with how quick I get down the line to first base. I’d love to see a 40-yard dash amongst all the speedsters in ORWBL!