By Tim Chambers
Kim Kleine is known as a go-getter and a pretty good one at that. Thanks to her efforts, adult softball is starting to take shape in Johnson County at Ralph Stout Park every Saturday.
Kleine has put her heart and soul into becoming a nurse but getting softball started back up for adults has been a good gig. Her Facebook post got the ball rolling.
“Everyone kept talking about how they wanted to play like back in the day, but Johnson County had no adult softball league,” said Kleine. “I posted on Facebook to try and get some interest going and the comments kept flowing back. We decided to have a meeting on a Monday and see how many people would show. We only had 10 people when I got there but then several others pulled in. That is how all of this came about. I was a little worried at first.”
The always-smiling Kleine doesn’t shy away from hard work. She once hung sheetrock as her profession but now has earned the reputation as a great finisher.
“I knew we had to get that spark going and create some interest,” said Kleine. “Once we did that people got excited. We played that first week and people brought some of their friends back the second week. It just keeps getting better each time out.”
Saturday’s attendance was a testament to Kleine’s hard work.
“We had nearly 40 players show up so we made four teams. That number was fitting for it being our fourth week. We used both fields and the winners played a second game and the losers played. It was great fun. We don’t put a lot of emphasis on winning but you do see the competitive side come out in some of our participants.”
Kleine is no stranger to Johnson County sports. She’s been a youth coach for several years but cut back to finish her nursing degree.
He daughter, Hazlee, plays basketball and volleyball for JCHS. Younger daughter Kendyl was a standout player in Little League softball. Her husband also plays in the league.
“Sports have always been a big part of my life,” added Kleine. “The ball field was always a special time and place for my family when I played during my younger years.”
Kleine said the ages vary that come. They start around 20 with the oldest player being 70.
“There is no age limit or anything like that,” said Kleine. “We don’t have anyone in charge. Somebody will volunteer to be a captain and then we’ll select teams. We usually pick male and then female until teams have been filled. It’s almost like playing the way we used to do in our back yards. Everyone is having fun and nobody is complaining.”
Kleine laughed when telling about the cops coming to break up play.
“We lost track of the time and didn’t turn the lights off by 10 pm last week. We invited Officer Chris Brown to play, but he didn’t have his glove and bat. He was just doing his job. We all got overly excited.”
Kleine would love to see more people come and participate.
“We have the core group that keeps coming back, but we would love to see more numbers. Nobody gets on one another and everybody is always encouraging. It’s a great thing to be a part of.”
Kleine is hoping to see a record number on Saturday.
“You’re never too old to play and you’re only as old as you feel. Life is too short not to participate. Come out, get dirty and sweaty.”