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Sport events in prison, including kickball, can get competitive

By Brian Wood, Behind Bars - | Jun 20, 2016

Brian Wood, formerly of Layton, is an inmate at the Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison. He pleaded guilty to nine felony charges for offenses from 2011 to 2014, including counts of burglary, drug possession and prescription fraud. He could spend up to 35 years in prison, depending on parole hearings.

There was a kickball tournament in the prison a couple of weeks ago. I try to participate in most of the sporting events, but thought this might be particularly fun. I hadn’t played kickball since the 6th grade and had some fond memories of the game. My team won the section tournament and moved on to the next round where we would play teams from other housing units. There are numerous sporting events in the prison throughout the year and they are really organized.

Within the last couple years, the prison has taken away the 5v5 basketball tournament as there were too many fights. Perhaps they chose to play kickball because guys would be less competitive. There were no fights, but, of course, the prison aspect was still in full effect.

In our game, the guy keeping score was from the other team’s unit and was accused of flipping an extra point over for their team and taking one away from our team. He was caught in the act of taking one from us, so we got it back after an argument. We couldn’t prove he gave them an extra one, though it seemed apparent to my team, so no further corrections were made. I wasn’t paying close enough attention to know for sure. We ended up losing 10-11, but not before I was reminded that this wasn’t the same game I played in grade school.

I was playing third base and was attempting to catch a short pop fly. Unfortunately, the ball was coming down right in the path of the baseline. The runner took his opportunity just as many other prisoners would likely have done. I made contact with the ball at about the same time he made contact with me. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see he had lowered his shoulder a bit and put his elbows out in front of him. Our courses were set. We were both just trying to make a play. I figured I would try to catch the ball and make a double play. He wanted to make sure I didn’t.

I guess you could say it went more his way than mine, I was completely knocked off of my feet. I had no idea where the ball went, but the ground was fast approaching. I landed pretty hard on the rocky surface. After their team got done laughing they asked if I was alright. My hand was little cut up, but I was fine. I wouldn’t say my pride was hurt as he was a big guy, but I felt stupid. I should have paid more attention. I got up, said I was ok, and wiped my hand off on my shirt. By the end of the game half of my shirt was covered in blood.

I was sent to the nurse’s office despite my pleas against the idea. So, not only had I just got done playing kickball, a game from childhood, but I was being forced to see the nurse get a band-aid. I found the whole situation comical. It really took me back.

The officer that had escorted me kept some hand sanitizer in the holster on his belt. He popped it open and said, “Would you like some hand sanitizer? You can’t have this, but I can give you a little.” You see, we are not able to have hand sanitizer in our possession because prisoners have been known to drink the stuff. Apparently the alcohol can be separated from the soapy part with some salt, though I’ve heard of inmates drinking it just as is. I told the officer, “No thanks, it doesn’t hurt that bad, and anyways, I quit.” He laughed, but the doctor didn’t seem to find my comment funny.

Though I was making light of the situation, it reaffirms the reasons why we are treated the way we are. We behave worse than children and consequently can only hope to be treated like such. There’s really nothing to complain about, we bring it on ourselves. Still though, I had a lot of fun playing kickball.


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