By Charli James
You don’t need an expensive monthly gym membership to stay in shape in the city. Staying in shape means staying interested and keeping variety. Gym memberships can only take you so far – consider checking out intramural sports leagues to further your gym fix.
New York is full of intramural sports leagues where you can get active, meet new people, or learn a new game.
Intramurals are recreational sports leagues. Some clubs focus on a specific sport, while others have a variety of activities to choose from. Intramurals are played for fun, but many leagues can get very competitive if you’re looking for aggressive action. Fees are generally low, and typically cover uniforms and equipment, gym or field fees, referees, and league administration. Players can sign up as individuals or form a team with friends or coworkers and sign up together.
If your workout is becoming a bore or you just want to meet some fun new people, here are five great places to find intramural sports leagues in the city:
Founded by Robert Herzog after 9/11, Zog Sports is a co-ed club that combines athletic, social and charitable opportunities. Targeting young professionals, Zog has leagues in basketball, bowling, dodgeball, football, hockey, kickball, soccer, softball, volleyball and wiffle ball. Happy hours are also organized so players can mingle with other teams after games!
At the start of the season, each team picks a charity to play for and if the team wins, Zog donates to their cause. More than 80,000 people have played and over a million dollars has been donated so far.
Leagues range from casual to very competitive, and participants can register as individuals or as a team. Fees range from $30-70 per person for a season, depending on the sport. Games are played in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. Visit zogsports.com to view current activities and register.
NYC Social Sports Club
The NYC Social Sports Club (NYCSSC) is a co-ed league started in 2004. Over 10,000 members participate each year in full seasons of soccer, kickball, bowling, mini golf, dodgeball, kickball, broomball, flag football, ultimate Frisbee and inner-tube water polo. Additionally, they offer activities such as team trivia, card games and scavenger hunts.
Five 7-week seasons are offered each year, as well as pickup games, individual tournaments and social activities. Each league has a “sponsor” bar where players meet for drinks. NYCSSC also donates to charities by holding flip cup tournaments at sponsor bars, with proceeds going to a number of causes.
Fees are $100 per season, and individual drop-in fees are $15 a game. Games are played in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. Visit www.nycsocialsportsclub.com for league info and registration.
New York Urban Professionals Athletic League
The New York Urban Professionals Athletic League offers year-round men’s and women’s basketball, coed, men’s and women’s volleyball, as well as open-play volleyball in Manhattan. Last year they fielded over 2,500 teams.
Basketball seasons include eight games plus divisional playoffs, and volleyball teams play 10 matches. New York Urban Professionals Athletic League is America’s #1 league for intramural volleyball.
Fees are around $125 for an individual per season or $15 per single open play game. Visit www.nyurban.comto download forms and see schedules.
NoPro Sports is a non-profit league open to non-profit workers in the city. Founded in 2010, NoPro was created to strengthen the non-profit community in New York and contribute back to the organizations players work for. If you work in the non-profit sector, this is a great way to meet others in your field!
In addition to games, NoPro organizes BBQs and parties for participants. Visit www.noprosports.org to see what sports are being offered each season and get contact information.
United Sports League
United Sports League offers sports for a variety of age groups in flag football, basketball, softball, handball and volleyball. Games are offered in all five boroughs and you can sign up as a team or “free agent.”
United Sports League appeals to more serious players who are looking for well-organized and spirited games. Team fees are between $1,100-$1,200 per season for adult leagues. Visit www.unitedsportsleague.com to sign up online, view leagues, glance through photos and more.
Charli James is a 20-something writer, reporter and editor. Raised in Nashville and the Virgin Islands and schooled at American University in Washington, DC, she now lives in New York City. Learn more about Charli and her work at CharliJames.com.