Dating Apps: How One Captain Found Her Entire Team On Tinder

Written by: Mike Doria | CLUBWAKA
Photo: Mark Stockwell | Boston Globe

Dating Apps & the Disqualification

The Kickball Cupid, AKA Gianna Pecchia, crosses her fingers that the current players on her Rhode Island team called “Basic Pitches” stick around for next season. Dating apps are onto her. Tinder, in fact, ejected her when her fingers swiped too far left and right..into the left and right fields. “One day, I went to log in, and it said you’re banned for life. For life! — it seems a little severe. So that put a huge deterrent in my recruiting.”

She says luckily, by that point, she already had most of the guys recruited from Tinder. In all, she found 25 players this season. 18 for her own team and the remainder to help fill in three other teams. 

“Whether they want to hook up or find a relationship, a lot of them are looking for friends or some form in their life,” said Pecchia. She admits recruiting female players was a little more challenging. “I don’t think the lesbians believed that I was a lesbian. Either that or I’m not an attractive lesbian.” Gianna isn’t a lesbian, but she had a backup plan. Enter Bumble BFF, a friendship app. 

“I was like, not only will I be your friend, I’ll give you a whole league of friends. The way I sell it to people is right there in my profile: I’m looking for you to join my kickball team because they’ll get pissed if I don’t want to date them,” Pecchia says while laughing.  

Pecchia says she did join the dating apps for their intended purpose – love. But it just so happened it was about the same time she needed to recruit for this current season underway. Why not feed two birds with one scone? “I usually get one of two messages from people. ‘I’d like to join because I’m looking to make new friends, but I’m not very good at kickball.’ And I’m like – perfect. Or, I get ‘I haven’t played kickball since elementary school.’ Like, who has?”


Dating Apps Only Got Her to First Base

Because this isn’t the first or second base the dating apps had in mind, Pecchia’s recruitment playbook needed a strategy. First, she would be fully transparent upfront in her dating app profiles. Next, to remove any potential awkwardness, she would send the first message to a connection. “And I’m like, I’m assuming you read my profile, and you match with me because you want to play kickball?” That’s how she weeds people out.


Dating Apps, Dating In and of Itself, People, & Mental Health

As outgoing as she seems and is, and as we celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month, Gianna says her struggle with social anxiety flared up when she first joined Clubwaka five years ago. “My friend made me do it (join CLUBWAKA) and I ran off the field on my first rookie night with a panic attack.  I was pissed because I paid for it and I didn’t ever want to go back,” she said.

In that run-off, however,  she ran into the Commissioner’s wife who said she also had a panic attack her first time on the field but ended up meeting her husband through CLUBWAKA.  “And I’ll never forget… she said ‘I’m not saying you’ll find a husband in this league, but it is amazing and you should give it a chance.’  And I did!  And now I’m bringing all these singles,” she added.

Playing Kickball & Playing the Field

By day, Gianna is a teacher and apparently good at math because she is able to simplify the chances of still meeting singles to those she’s recruited from dating apps. “Our league, as of today, has 245 people in it.  Cut that in half, or in thirds.  One-third of girls are gay or already in a relationship.  I’d say one-third are probably unavailable but two-thirds are still ready to flirt”

Speaking of percentages, Pecchia says her group chat of potential players had 100 or so people at one point interested in kickball.  Though her odds of recruiting on dating apps are reduced a bit with being kicked off Tinder – hope exists.  In fact, there is still “Plenty of Fish” in the app sea. 😉

Looking for love or to play on a kickball team?  Check out our openings.