As a kid, there’s a good chance you were involved with a sports team or two. Maybe you begged your parents to let you play on your middle school football team until they said yes, or maybe they forced you to spend a season on a little league baseball team against your will. Either way, you probably haven’t spent much time considering the idea of having an intramural sports experience as an adult.
Although you may be unfamiliar with the concept, there are many adult social sports leagues in NYC and across the country. The purpose of these sports leagues isn’t usually to foster fierce competition or large time commitments, but to serve as a way for people to socialize and have fun.
10 Benefits of Intramural Social Sports in NYC
Right off the bat, you might be thinking, “I’m not a sports person. This isn’t for me.” Or maybe you love sports, and you’re excited about the idea of joining an intramural team. Either way, it doesn’t matter — you don’t have to be a “sports person” to enjoy social sports.
The emphasis is on the word “social.” It might take the form of kicking a ball around or throwing a frisbee, but it’s not really about how athletic you are or how many games you win. It’s about spending time with people, learning new things and enjoying yourself. Social sports leagues come with a large number of advantages for everyone involved. Here are 10 of the main ways social sports can benefit you.
1. New Experiences
One of the main benefits of joining an intramural sports team is that it can provide you with new experiences that you wouldn’t otherwise have. This may be the case for a sport like soccer or basketball, but even if you’re a veteran at all the most common sports, you can still find things you’re completely inexperienced with, like dodgeball or capture the flag.
Trying something new isn’t always within everyone’s comfort zone, but making an effort to step outside that comfort zone can make a world of difference regarding the quality of your life. It can lead to you finding things you didn’t know you enjoyed, and if you hadn’t tried it, you’d never have found out. Going out of your way to try a few new things can make it easier for you to step out and try other new things as well. Before you know it, you could evolve into a total social butterfly!
Plus, trying new things can make you better at thinking. Just taking the time to push your brain a little bit, making it learn something new, can do a lot to sharpen your cognitive skills. If you apply this mentality throughout your life, you can stay sharp and alert as you age.
2. New People
Social sports allow you to have new experiences and meet new people. Especially if you go in not knowing anyone, intramural sports can be a great place for you to expand your social circle. After all, adulthood isn’t like childhood, where you spent every day going to school surrounded by your friends, and had hours to hang out after finishing your homework. You have to actively take steps outside of work hours to go meet people, and social sports are one of the best ways to do that.
Since you’re working as part of a team and engaging in a physical activity, any first-meeting awkwardness is kept to a minimum. The ice is almost immediately broken. You don’t have to struggle for things to talk about because you have a set of very clear goals to work toward and discuss. And by the time you get to the point of spending time together outside of the sport itself, you’ve spent enough time around one another that there’s no longer any need for ice-breaking.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to strengthen some of the relationships you already have, you can join a team with people you already know. In that case, the sport can do a lot to help you bond, letting you spend some quality time together in a fun environment. Especially if you do this with coworkers, it can work wonders for the quality of your work environment. Likewise, you can use social sports as a way of spending time with a significant other as a couple.
3. Romantic Potential
Meeting new people doesn’t always have to be about making new friends. Intramural sports also give you the opportunity to find people to date, if that’s something you’re looking for. Maybe you’re someone who’s comfortable trying online dating or picking up people at bars, but a lot of people aren’t, and social sports give you the opportunity to meet someone in person and get to know them naturally before making a move.
If possible romance is part of your motivation for joining a team, make sure you pick one that will give you access to whatever group of people you’re interested in. You can find plenty of teams designed for either single-sex or coed social sports in NYC, so if it’s important to you to be on a coed team, make sure that’s the kind you sign up for. There’s certainly no guarantee that you’ll meet your life partner on your sports team, but anything’s possible.
4. Fun and Free Time
Another benefit of social sports is that it’s fun. Everyone needs to be able to enjoy themselves at times. You probably spend the majority of each weekday working, and you need a break from that every so often. But it can be hard to schedule free time for yourself amidst all your adult obligations.
When you sign up for a sports team, though, you’re committing to a certain time slot each day your team meets. That way, you ensure that you never cheat yourself out of your weekly dose of fun. And where many varieties of sports focus on the competitive element, social sports are different. They tend to be very relaxed. Everyone is mainly there to spend time together and enjoy themselves, so even if your team loses every game you play, you can still have a lot of fun being there and laughing about it with each other.
5. Physical Activity
Running, throwing, kicking and so on all exert a good deal of energy. These things make sports a great way to get a workout. When you’re an adult, especially if your job requires that you spend most of your time at a desk, it can be easy to let physical activity fall by the wayside.
However, staying physically active is key to your health. Like with trying new things, doing so throughout your life can reduce your risk of health problems like heart attacks and falls in your old age. Especially if you’re not someone who enjoys jogging down the sidewalk or hitting the gym, sports are a great way to get your exercise in each day.
6. Mental Health
Physicality isn’t the only health benefit sports can offer. They can also prove beneficial to your mind. Physical activity leads to the release of endorphins in your brain, which encourage positive feelings. This effect is amplified by the experience of working with other people in a positive environment.
The endorphins create positive emotions in your brain. Because of this, they can help fight issues like depression and stress, both of which are huge detriments to your general well-being and productivity in your personal and work lives.
If you’re going through something stressful at work or at home, the physical element of sports can let you work off that stress. You can channel whatever frustration you’re feeling into a hard kick in a game of soccer or by hitting the ball in a game of volleyball. Plus, as you spend more time playing the sport, you can become good enough at it that you grow in confidence as well.
7. Teamwork Skills
It should come as no surprise that playing on a sports team can also build teamwork skills. You’re not just spending quality social time with the people on your team — you’re working together with them to accomplish a goal.
For you to be successful, you have to employ trust and team strategies. These mentalities can prove a huge benefit to you in other areas of life, especially in a work environment. Teamwork requires communication and accountability above all else, and most people need those qualities in their jobs. When you strengthen your ability to be accountable to people and talk to them about things, your coworkers will be sure to notice.
Furthermore, you can gain positive takeaways from how you interact with opposing teams as well. Being friendly and a good sport can foster positive interactions with others in your life down the road, particularly those you’re prone to disagree or compete with.
An additional psychological benefit is the feeling of achievement that comes with victories in the sport you play. Whether it’s a simple act of successfully passing a ball or a greater accomplishment like winning the game, sports give you many different opportunities to succeed at what you’re there to do.
As inconsequential as they might seem in the grand scheme of things, these successes can do a world of good for your mental state. When you feel like you’re achieving something, your mood vastly improves, and you’re encouraged to pursue that feeling in other things that you do by putting forth your best effort in all of them.
Sports give you an outlet to set and achieve small goals. As you’re rewarded for these small accomplishments with dopamine, it gives you more motivation to achieve the bigger goals in your life as well.
9. Equal Status
The world is full of hierarchies. Particularly in the work world, the structure of every organization seems to be rooted in who ranks above or below whom. Successes are marked by moving up the corporate ladder, while failures are marked by stagnating on a single rung or even moving down. Such an environment can be very discouraging, preventing you from being able to treat many of your coworkers as equals.
Social sports remove that element entirely. When you join a sports team, you’re on the same level as all your teammates. It may be that you have slightly more or less experience at that sport than someone else, but there aren’t generally any sort of tryouts or evaluations. It’s not like a school or professional team. You’re all there primarily to have fun, so it doesn’t matter how good everyone is at the sport. From both a literal and a social standpoint, you’re all on the same playing field, and that’s a very good feeling.
10. Other Perks
On top of all the social and psychological benefits of social sports, you also stand to gain a fair share of more superficial perks. For one thing, you can sometimes come away with a decent amount of new gear. T-shirts, pads, shoes and so on are all common things for sports teams to distribute amongst their members, and you can often keep those items even once you’re no longer a part of the team.
Depending on how successful your team is, you might also come away with some medals. This ties back to some extent to the feeling of accomplishment. It can be incredibly satisfying to hang a medal on your bedroom wall — not one from your childhood days, but one freshly earned in your adult life.
Finally, socialization with your teammates outside the field or court can help you find new places to eat or drink. You might be stuck in a pattern of eating at the same places every week, and going out with your new friends can help you expand your horizons on that front. Many social sports leagues in NYC are even directly affiliated with a particular bar or eatery.
Join the Live Axe Throwing League
When you’re looking over your options for sports leagues to join in NYC, you may be enticed by something like a softball or soccer team. But if standard sports like that don’t do much to catch your interest, consider seeking out a league that veers away from the elements common in the most well-known sports.
The Live Axe Throwing League in NYC is a special venue located on Lafayette Street in Tribeca. As the only axe throwing venue in Manhattan, we offer a safe environment in which to hone your inner Viking and compete against other axe throwers. We also have a bar where you can relax after a bout in one of our throwing cages. To book a reservation, just get in touch with us today!