Even if the last time you played sports was when you were picked last in high school gym class, don’t rule out joining an adult sports league this summer. There are a ton of benefits, including that now, as an adult, you and your teammates can celebrate a win with a beer afterward.
“It gets you out of the house and interacting in real life as opposed to online,” says John Teel, founder of Cleveland Plays, a coed league offering beach volleyball, flag football and more. “Plus, you get a little bit of exercise and you meet a lot of interesting, fun people.”
In fact, the social aspect is maybe more important than the actual exercise. Cleveland Plays is billed as a sports and social league, and while competitive, the games are all for fun (and bragging rights).
Stonewall Sports Cleveland, a LGBTQ-focused league, even has two divisions (competitive and social) for some of its sports, such as kickball and its most fiercely competitive offering, dodgeball. Stonewall Sports Cleveland will start up leagues again in late summer.
Both leagues offer opportunities to hit a bar after a game, and Stonewall organizes group trips to try out other activities like ice skating and skiing. No need to worry about jocks being jerks either.
“Here that’s not going to happen,” says David Cross, communications director with Stonewall Sports Cleveland. “We’re among LGBTQ people and allies and you can be yourself and not worry about what anybody is thinking because no one’s going to judge you.”
Stonewall offers another benefit — charitable opportunities. Members have organized the creation of Valentine’s Day cards for LGBTQ senior citizens, painted churches and the winners of the league’s championship games get to donate leftover proceeds to a charity of their choosing.
“It’s not always about just donating money but time and energy,” says Cross.