The Ringleader of Fun: Matt Jauch

Engineer, Musician and Softball Comissioner

The Ringleader of Fun: Matt Jauch
Photo by Frank J. Lanza

The postings come fast and furious and in all caps on Facebook. "LET'S GO RIDE BIKES, YOU GUYS." "PICKUP SOFTBALL GAME, 7PM, LET'S PLAY SOME BALL."

It is with all the earnestness of a kid rallying his friends to come play outside for a bit that Matt Jauch implores his pals to join him for some fun. 

"For me, it's just kind of how my adult life has evolved," says Jauch. "Putting on fun things for my friends to do."

And there are many, including a wide-ranging softball league that just celebrated its 5th anniversary. Cleveland Softball started years ago as a pickup game at the Clark Fields. It was a bunch of musicians and their friends. And then someone wanted a tournament, so a couple teams formed. And then another tournament, and now there were four teams. Friends invited friends and so on, until an intramural league formed with 14 teams, with sponsors like ABC the Tavern, Music Saves, Grog Shop, Crank-Set Rides, Pats in the Flats and more. It's a mish-mosh of musicians and artists, service industry folks and a ton of others. 

"You know, it was just a good time," says Jauch. "And me and Jay Kristoff sort of became the loose organizers of this thing."


Jauch is a mechanical engineer by day, has been for damn near 20 years now, repairing vending machines and upgrading the old ones to touchscreen magic. He's also a guitarist in Ragers, a four-piece band formed back in 2011 that's currently working on a new album.

"We just replaced our bass player and we're working on tracking the new record," says Jauch. "Before we record the masters, we'll play it for some people and see if someone will release it."

In less than three years, the Ragers have not only played countless shows around Cleveland but also tallied a few weeks of touring on the road. Those shows are great, filled to the brim with heavy guitars and rock that'll shake you to your bone. And a ton of fun, which, after all, is what Jauch is all about.

In addition to the softball games, there's the Frisbee get-togethers, and the semi-frequent dodgeball tournaments at Now That's Class.

"It's nuts. I feel like a babysitter on those days," says Jauch. "But instead of kids, you have a couple hundred drunk adults to look after. But it's insane, a bunch of people throwing dodgeballs at each other's faces. It's like school all over again."

Oh, and then there are the spelling bees — yes, spelling bees — and battle ball at 78th St. Studios, which is a loose combination of handball and squash mixed with a healthy dose of shit-talking and good sportsmanship, naturally.

So the next time you're bored and can't think of anything to do, go find Jauch. Chances are he's doing something fun.

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