Back in Spring 1979 when Boeing's B-52 OAS (Offensive Avionics Systems) was in Phase 1 there were plenty of new hires, most of which did not know each other. Management decided we needed to know who the other people were in all of the other groups. Sure we could have informal meetings here at work but that would just be another thing we would have to attend keeping us from getting the job done. A few of us got together and said we would form a softball league that would allow employees to meet in an informal setting away from work where we could get to know one another.
We called it a Picnic League. The idea was for us to bring our families out, have a picnic, play some softball and enjoy ourselves while we got to know our fellow employees. The teams originally were made up of members of your own group or organization; such as Software, Materiel, Test, Systems Engineering, etc. The rule was you had to be either in that organization or you were a family member of someone in that org.
The first year was a success. The Air Force customer even got a team together to play against us.
As time went along, more and more people wanted to play in our league, it was just too fun. When this happened the rules were laxed and groups of people from different organization joined together to form teams. At one point we had so many teams we had two leagues, playoffs and championship games.
Then things got serious. Some players forgot this was a fun league and rivalries exploded. The league fell apart and almost came to an end. A few of us old timers said we wanted to keep playing but only for fun. Just the excuse we needed to get interns involved.
So we put together a few teams, got the sponsors to drag the interns out, bought a few cases of beer and the rest is history.