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Options for Playing Sports as An Adult

This article is part of our Post Grad Survival Guide for the recent grads out there that we’ll be rolling out this summer. Join our email list to follow along all summer and email if you’d like to guest write.

There comes a point in every adult’s life when they realize that for the their body is rapidly disintegrating and the rest of their life will be one long decline. Sure, you’re going to be in progressively worse shape for the remainder of your days, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up the camaraderie, exercise and misplaced competitive aggression that come with sports.

As an adult, there are a few options for how you can continue your athletic career that we’ll be discussing below. Please note that this does not include things like hiking, cycling clubs or training for a marathon. That is exercise not sports. It’s also completely unnatural. I’m sorry but the human body was not meant to run 26.2 miles at once. There’s a reason that guy in Greece died doing it in like 500 BC. It was a literal warning to humans everywhere to not push our bodies to those limits and yet we continue to do it today?

You know what is natural? Pushing your body to 5% of its limits 1-2 times a week in a desperate attempt to recapture fond memories of youth sports that you’ll never actually attain. Here’s how you do it.

Options for Playing Sports As an Adult

Sadly, “join a Little League team with two of your childhood friends” is not really an option in the real world

Option 1: Very Casual

Really only considered “sports” in the most technical sense, in this option, the sport is generally just something you do in the background of a social event.

Option 1 is inclusive of things like:

  • Top Golf or hitting golf balls at Chelsea Piers
  • Shooting hoops and maybe playing HORSE
  • Throwing the football or kicking the soccer ball around in the park
  • Playing wiffleball at a barbecue
  • Bowling at a birthday party or work event

Someone told me once that you can never know the measure of a man until you see them throw a football at a barbecue and I firmly believe that. You don’t have to be great at any of these sports, but you have to know what you’re doing on a basic level or risk humiliation. That’s a pretty good approach for life in general, but that’s a topic for another blog.

On the flip side, you don’t want to be the guy who takes any of this stuff too seriously. We get that you can kick the ball like 50 yards (meters, we know) and you call it football, not soccer. No one wants to play with that guy. You have to master the art of nonchalant dominance, so people can tell that you’re good but you’re totally being cool about it.

Option 2: Leagues that are Excuses to Drink

The social leagues of the world, these are vehicles for weekday binge-drinking that you don’t have to feel as bad about since you kind of sweat beforehand. They awaken your competitive spirit ever so slightly, but at the end of the day, the point of the game isn’t to win – it’s to be way drunker than the other team.

Option 2 includes things like:

  • Kickball
  • Slow pitch Softball
  • Dodgeball
  • Every single thing on the Zog website.

These leagues can be a great way to meet people and flaunt your raw, animal athleticism in a healthy way. Sure, you have to wear a brightly colored T-shirt with your not-that-funny team name on it, but a great way to get fucked up on a Tuesday and not feel bad about yourself.  

However, you do run the risk of joining a team that takes it way too seriously. If you find yourself ever attending a practice for a social league team, quit on the spot. On the flip side, you might be on a team with some of the worst athletes that you’ve ever seen in your life, and want to die from frustration. I get these leagues are for fun and all, but sometimes you want to field a single in the outfield on one hop, crow hop and delivering an absolute strike to home plate. But when the catcher is the IT guy and it hits him in the chest and knocks him unconscious, suddenly you’re the bad guy? Don’t play catcher if you can’t catch Bob.

This level is also where the most adult injuries occur. Since it’s not that competitive, you don’t think you have to stretch before hand but before you know it, you’ve pulled a hammy rounding first base or torn a rotator cuff with your first dodgeball throw.

Hands down the worst part of playing on an adult dodgeball team is the amount of reference to the movie Dodgeball people make.

Option 3: Leagues that You Only Sometimes Drink at

The ideal option for people who want to pay $500 a year to recapture the dream of playing high school sports and need a healthier outlet for their competitive rage than board games or burning down rival small businesses (don’t ask.)

Option 3 is inclusive of:

  • Rugby
  • Organized indoor basketball league
  • Flag Football
  • Any sport you play on a weekend (soccer, softball, lacrosse, etc.)

As a former adult league men’s rugby player, I am very in favor of Option 3. It’s a great way to stay in shape, actually be as competitive as you want to be, and give your life some sort of purpose in this meaningless post-Industrial Revolution existence. The downside here is it’s just a little too much commitment, which isn’t worth it if you don’t love the sport or the people you’re playing with. I’m sorry but I’m not giving up a Saturday and risking tearing a hamstring to come off the bench for my adult league soccer team. I have a bottomless brunch to humiliate myself at.

Option 4: Golf

At a certain point, everyone needs to come to terms with the fact that golf is the superior adult sport. There’s maybe a 1% chance of getting injured, you get 5 hours away from your life responsibilities and you can get as drunk as you’d like. It’s an incredibly valuable social tool, and allows you to fit seamlessly into any group of 3 strangers, whether it’s a bachelor party, work event or anywhere in between. Plus, it’s the only sport you can play until you’re in your 70s, so you might as well learn how to do it now.

The way I see it, there are only a few downsides to golf. Here’s how you fix them.

Problem: It’s not that fun if you suck

Solution: Play as much as you can, take a lesson, or just get drunk and pretend you don’t care. I firmly believe that you’re a loser if your handicap is below a 10. Who has the time to practice golf? Losers that’s who.

Just be the guy who sucks at golf and it’s totally fine. And check out our guide to playing golf with the boys.

Problem: It’s expensive

Solution: Make more money. It’s an investment in the next 30 years.

Problem: It’s hard to access from a city

Solution: I don’t have one. This part sucks, especially when you have to carry your golf clubs on the subway to a train in Penn Station to make a tee time in New Jersey by 9 am. If someone has a solution, please let me know asap.

2 thoughts on “Options for Playing Sports as An Adult

  1. Left out tennis or some other racquet sports like racquetball, pickleball etc. Tennis has been a godsend for an old bahhstid like me.

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