By Lindsay Harrison
Author of Missing
Two days before beginning graduate school, I moved from suburban Massachusetts to New York City, where I would be living in an unfamiliar neighborhood with roommates I'd found on Craigslist. I didn't know a single person in the city, and to say I felt like a fish out of water is an understatement.
Lucky for me, being in a small graduate program fostered fast friendships. My first two years in the city flew by in a whirlwind of classes, nights discussing books with my new writer friends, and then, all too soon, our graduation ceremony. The friends I had made moved to other cities and moved on with their lives. I stayed on in New York, moving to Brooklyn and selling my first book. My social life was suddenly nonexistent. Out of school for the first time in my life, I had to find new ways to make friends. Working from home as a freelance writer does not lend itself to making work buddies. When I heard about a co-ed social sports league called Zog Sports, I immediately signed up for a soccer and dodgeball team, hoping to meet new people and have some fun.
Like most of my new teammates, I hadn't played dodgeball since elementary school. The idea of adults hurling big red playground balls at each other sounded rather silly, but it also sounded like a lot of fun. I was a bit more skilled at soccer, and looked forward to my first game. Through these two teams, I not only met new people who have since become my closest friends, but also reconnected with my sporty side, which had been dormant since high school. Zog Sports offers leagues for young professionals in everything from dodgeball to bowling to hockey. There is, truly, something for everyone. Weekly games are followed by a league-wide happy hour at a local bar, and this casual setting is great for networking and meeting fellow players.
The benefits of joining are many:
1. To meet new people outside of your normal social and professional networks.
2. To become more active. Playing on a soccer team is a lot more fun than logging time on the gym's elliptical machine!
3. To discover a new passion and let your inner athlete out.
4. To tap into a sense of community in your neighborhood.
5. To play for a cause and raise money for charities.
Here's how to find a recreational sports league in your area:
1. Zog Sports offers leagues in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. Visit zogsports.com to find a league near you.
2. NYC Social Sports Club also offers many leagues in New York. Visit nycsocialsportsclub.com for more info.
3. Do a Google search by sport or location, trying such keyword phrases as your specific sport and city name, "co-ed sports league for adults" or "recreational sports league." You may be surprised to learn how many leagues exist in your area.
Joining a social sports team exceeded my expectations. I couldn't have guessed the extent to which trying something new would improve my physical fitness, happiness, and social life. This summer I will be playing in a kickball league, and my inner elementary schoolgirl can't wait.
Get relationship tips. Find help with your love life. Have a happy marriage. Sign up for our newsletter!
Buy Missing by Lindsay Harrison
How Even a Slow Jog Can Save Your Life
7 Great Flirting Techniques that Aren't Totally Obvious
Like Tips on Healthy Living on Facebook
Follow Tips on Healthy Living on Twitter