Social softball

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I’m not athletic (at all, really), but I love playing casual sports with friends—or, at least, I did until I got to college. Now I feel like people are rarely in the mood for any kind of pick-up game, and if they are, they’re looking for something more competitive than I am. So I’ve gotten the idea in my head that I want to start some kind of sports organization that helps people meet up to enjoy playing and watching sports without getting too competitive. The only problem is that I’ve never started any kind of organization in my life before. So, uh, any tips?

Your idea sounds like a good one! Organized activities are a great way to make friends in college. With college freshmen growing less social—38.8% say they spend less than 5 hours per week with friends, and that number is rising—it’s more important than ever to find ways to make great relationships. Countless experts say clubs and teams are great ways to do that, so you are certainly on the right track.

In fact, your idea is such a good that it may be a good idea to check with your college to see if there aren’t similar clubs active on your campus already. You mentioned that your peers seemed to prefer a more competitive atmosphere, but college campuses are home to all different levels of sports competition, from varsity teams and club teams down to intramural and casual sports that invite all different levels of commitment. Consider joining an existing softball league—be honest about your laid-back attitude and look for a team that thinks like you, and show up with softball equipment (you want aluminum bats, not wood or plastic) or refreshments to win over the new crew.

But maybe you don’t see a good fit for your super-casual attitude towards competition, or maybe there’s no organization that offers the diversity of things you mentioned, like viewing sports and playing more than one type of sport. If that’s the case, maybe you should start your own club, as you say. You’ll need some funding, but you’re in the perfect spot for that: college. Universities give student organizations resources and, sometimes, funding. They can make it easy for your to find fields to play on and places to recruit members.

Sports represent a $496.1 billion industry in the United States, so it’s easy to forget that sports are also a way for individuals and communities connect. The world of sports, Lansing Sports tells us, is a vital part of what brings a community together. Your friendly sports club sounds like a great way to get involved beyond campus, too. Perhaps your group can support small local teams or volunteer at regional races. Still, it’s a good idea to rely on your university when it comes to the legal structure of your club—being a part of a larger organization will help you limit your own liability.

Good luck! With any luck, you’ll find that your fellow casual sports fans can’t wait to join your organization. Studies show that college friends are often friends for life, so go out and make yours!

The score never interested me, only the game. ― Mae West

 

Written by Martin J. Young, former correspondent of Asia Times.