A lot of the reasons why you need a sport are similar to why you need a martial art: you’ll get in shape, the competition and learning new skills will give confidence, you’ll be able to meet new people, and, hey, being active in sports (especially winning) is attractive to many women.
To being with you probably want to join a recreational league; no offense, but you’re probably not cut out for competitive leagues. If you are, all the best to you, compete away. Also, rec leagues are usually less financially demanding.
Now, summer is over, and fall is coming up, so you’ll probably have to join a fall, winter, or all-year league at this time or find a casual, but regular, drop-in sport night. That’s fine, choose a sport that interests you and will be available in fall. Even if it’s not your first choice, play a season, then in spring register for a sport that’s more to your liking.
I’ll run down a few sports you can look at at the end of this.
Where to Find a Sport
Your city should probably have a leisure guide. If you have no idea what kind of sport you’d like, find the leisure guide online and see what’s available that peaks your interest.
Some churches, especially the larger ones, have intramural sports, drop-ins, or a team in a church league. These are usually comparatively inexpensive as the churches often fund parts of it as a ministry or own their own facilities. If you go to a church check to see if they have something you can join; if you don’t go to church but live near a mega-church check out they have anything, they’d probably be thrilled to have you join.
Many community centres will offer some kind of sports. Check your local centre to see if they offer anything of interest.
If any of your friends, co-workers, relatives, etc. play a sport, ask if you can join them and their team.
If you are going to school (college or high school), your school will probably have intramurals of some sort. These are usually cheap and easy to join.
Larger companies will sometimes have a team in a local league of some sport or another. Check with your company/union’s social committee or the work bulletin board to see if you can find something.
If all else fails or you have a particular sport that interests you, simply google for a rec league or open-door sports night near you. You’ll find one and most allow individual registrations. There’s also more general rec leagues that will offer a variety of sports.
There are lots of ways you can find a place to play sports.
Choosing a Sport/League
Unlike martial arts, there’s not a big list of things to watch out for. It’s pretty hard to make a scam out of rec sports; you simply show up and have fun. Make sure the cost is in your budget. Make sure the league takes safety into account and has rules of good sportsmanship. Make sure the team you’re on is good folk. Other than that, there’s not much to it, but here a few considerations for your sport:
Keep in mind cost. Some sports, such as ultimate or soccer, require little much more than park space and a ball/disc, others, such as hockey, require more equipment and/or a special facility rental.
Is it co-ed? Some leagues are, some aren’t. Which you want to join will be up to you. Co-ed leagues are generally less ruthlessly competitive and will often have more rules concerning safety/sportsmanship. On the other hand, you’ll get a chance to meet some women in a co-ed league and it will likely be more casual/less intense. Which is better depends entirely on your preferences.
Is it an individual sport or a team sport? Simple enough, a team sport will give you more chance to interact and develop bonds with a small group within an us vs. them context, while an individual sport will be lead to more loose interactions dependent more on your actions. I’d suggest a team sport, especially if you intend to try to make friends, but its up to you.
Do you have the time? Some sports demand more time than others. Since you’ll be playing rec league, it probably won’t require more than one game a week and possibly an occasional practice, but make sure you can commit to that game on that night. You don’t won’t to be the asshole whose always letting the team down.
You can choose a league or a drop-in/pick-up sport. A league will require more commitment from you; drop-in nights are more casual. Drop-in nights or pick-up games are usually not as easy to find as they are often associated with particular organizations or a group of friends rather than a rec league which is generally open to all.
Below are some popular rec league games you can try to join:
Ultimate – Ultimate Disc has become an increasingly popular sport in recent years. It’s cheap and it’s a good workout. There’s no contact and big on sportsmanship. It’s usually co-ed and mandates gender numbers per team, so it has a comparitively high number of females playing. It can be played most of the year, outdoors in summer and fall leagues and indoors in winter. Indoor leaguse are more physically demanding and faster due to the smaller field space. It’s a good choice for a sport.
Soccer – Along with ultimate one of the two I’d recommend. It’s generally cheap, a good workout, and fun. It’s also low contact with both outdoor leagues in the summer and indoor all-year round.
Hockey – I’m Canadian, so I have to mention this. It’s played in winter, but street hockey leagues can be played in the summer. It can be one of the more intense and high contact sport and due to the need for ice and safety equipment it can be more expensive, but is it ever fun. Broomball and sponge hockey are usually a less intense and less expensive alternative.
Basketball – The classic sport; not overly expensive. Generally male and often more competitive. Teams can often be smaller than in most other team sports. A good one to try.
Football – Contact football will be expensive and there’s not many rec leagues for it due to the chances of injury. You’ll probably be able to find a touch or flag football league if you like football. It’s usually outdoors and doesn’t run in winter. It’s usually male only and can be more competitive and intense than the other sports here.
Baseball – The American classic. A summer sport of moderate expense due to the specialized field and personal equipment. The large team size and slow game pace makes it well-oriented to getting to know other people, but doesn’t provide as much physical activity. It will often be slo-pitch in rec leagues. Baseball rec leagues are rarer and will usually be mostly male; softball/slo-pitch are more common and will be higher proportion of women.
Bowling – The classic working-man’s game. It doesn’t require much of a work-out but its relaxed pace and atmosphere gives you plenty of time and opportunity to shoot the shit. It goes all year-round and is easier to join as it less tied to seasons than other sports, but it can be a bit more expensive due to lane costs. Ten-pin has heavier balls and more pins; I prefer it, but a lot prefer the smaller balls of 5-pin. If you want to join, contact a bowling centre.
Dodgeball – SWPL-types have adopted this children’s game for adults. If you enjoyed it as a kid and don’t mind SWPL-types it can be fun. It can go all year round.
Racquet Sports – Rec leagues will usually use badminton, but tennis and the rest are similar. It’s an individual sport (or teams of two), so most of the people you meet will be competitors, meaning you’ll have to try a bit harder to get to know people.
Volleyball – Not much to say on this. Do you like volleyball? Also, it generally has a higher proportion of women than other sports.
There’s a bunch of other sports, but those are some of my suggestions to look for. You’ve probably played most of them in gym class as a kid so you already know which ones you enjoy.
This week, your goal is to find a local rec league and join the fall season. Alternatively, you can find a weekly drop-in/pick-up night and join that.