What kind of recreational sports can I play in LA?
April 12, 2009 6:27 PM   Subscribe

What kind of recreational sports can I play in LA?

I'm a dude in my late 20s. I'd like to be active to promote, you know, healthiness, but I generally don't care for the gym (snooze), and I'm not nuts about running or cycling or anything with a lot of "personal bests." I do really enjoy playing sports.

What kind of recreational sports can I participate in LA?

Here are the catches:
* I like sports, but I'm not especially good at any of them. I mean, I'm better than the kind of people who always hated sports, but I'm worse than... well... basically anyone else. I'd love to be somewhere where I can learn to be better at something and people won't mock me or resent that I'm not particularly good.
* I don't really want to play anything, uhm, bone-crunching (like rugby, for example).
* All my friends are nerds who hate sports, so it has to be something I can sign up for solo.
* I live in Koreatown, and would love something nearby (though I'm open to other possibilities).
* I could spend some money on it (like buying a tennis racket or whatever), but I can't spend a bunch of money on it (hundreds and hundreds of dollars).
* No frisbees.

I guess my concern is that most adult rec sport is played by people who have been jocks all their lives. What's the sport for public radio host types like me?
posted by YoungAmerican to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you ever played racquetball? It's fun and you play it solo (or rather, solo vs. solo), it's cheap (racket, tight tight shorts, silly goggles, headbands/wristbands, etc.), and it's popular amongst academic types and public radio hosts alike. There are no frisbees involved. And the best part of it is that even if you're not that good, you can still unwind and just hit the crap out of the ball for an hour or two.
posted by billysumday at 6:43 PM on April 12, 2009

Make your friends play four square with you. Nerd-friends a typically suckers for that, at least around here. And, it's surprisingly good exercise.

Finishing reading your post, the "sport for public radio host types" would definitely be four square, in my mind. There's a league in LA, if I remember correctly.
posted by Precision at 6:49 PM on April 12, 2009

Response by poster: billysumday - do I not have to join an athletic club or something to play raquetball?
posted by YoungAmerican at 6:52 PM on April 12, 2009

Response by poster: Precision - keep in mind that *I* like sports. I'm not looking for an alternative to sports. So, I hereby expand the no frisbees rule to say no semi-ironic sports -- no kickball, no four square, etc.
posted by YoungAmerican at 6:53 PM on April 12, 2009

Oh, kickball!
posted by Ugh at 6:54 PM on April 12, 2009

Err.. ner'mind.
posted by Ugh at 6:55 PM on April 12, 2009

posted by roger ackroyd at 6:55 PM on April 12, 2009

Hmmm. You probably would. I suppose I've been spoiled lately in that I've had friends who are academics and we play in their school's facilities for free. Do you know anyone who is a grad student/postdoc/professor/student at a college or university in the area who would be interested in playing racquetball with you?
posted by billysumday at 6:57 PM on April 12, 2009

For a short while, I was in a 20s-30s recreational dodgeball league at the local Boys and Girls Club (I think they were just using the building) in Seattle. I am sure that LA has many similar organizations: search for adult sports leagues.

In Houston, TX, I've occasionally played tennis and badminton with friends or family in public parks. If you can't find a buddy to join you, Craigslist is a great place to find someone with similar skills to compete against.
posted by halogen at 7:01 PM on April 12, 2009

Oh, certainly nobody in my adult sports league came across a jock. As a five-foot-tall violinist-turned-biochemist who has managed to stay away from any sports for most of her life, I didn't feel out of place at all.
posted by halogen at 7:04 PM on April 12, 2009

Racquetball is great. The Hollywood Y has several courts AND loans you equipment.
posted by roger ackroyd at 7:06 PM on April 12, 2009

Response by poster: halogen - what adult sport did you play? also, I wonder if co-ed or women's leagues are different.
posted by YoungAmerican at 7:09 PM on April 12, 2009

As a untalented-but-enthusiastic athlete, I've really been enjoying karate - working on my balance in an organized fashion has actually addressed my biggest weakness, and sparring fills the competitive need.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:00 PM on April 12, 2009

what adult sport did you play?

Co-ed dodgeball.
posted by halogen at 8:19 PM on April 12, 2009

I'm a non-sporty, 25 year old nerd.

For the past three months, I've been playing paintball.

I'm totally and completely hooked. But, you are looking at at least $300 for equipment, and it's not cheap to play either (I drop about $60 for a day's worth of field fees and paint).
posted by Netzapper at 8:25 PM on April 12, 2009

There are hundreds if not thousands of recreational soccer leagues in LA for all levels of players. The co-ed B or C or D leagues (whatever is the lowest skill level in your local league) are usually pretty chill and encourage beginners and people who haven't played in years. They usually only play once per week but lots of people play in more than one league and once you start playing you will learn about regular pick up games all over town.

There are also lots of recreational softball leagues, which aren't really as good of a workout but are still fun.
posted by fshgrl at 8:35 PM on April 12, 2009

It seems to me that you are looking for Little League. It fits your description perfectly.

Like me, you have an obsession with baseball but you are not actually any good at it. You would like to play 6 or 7 innings once or twice a week and be lauded for your effort rather than your skill. It's competitive and rule-oriented enough to be fun, but you still get a participation trophy at the end of the season, win or lose.

Your two options are clear: falsify a few documents and join a Babe Ruth league or find a 16 inch softball league for adults.

I'm from Chicago, so I can't help with specific softball leagues in LA, but I'm sure there must be one or several.
posted by swellingitchingbrain at 5:52 AM on April 13, 2009

Why not just join a non-competitive, co-ed softball league? I'm sure LA has multiple leagues for different groups. And you can definitely join solo. Just a thought.
posted by skechada at 11:58 AM on April 13, 2009

You're in LA, 25 minutes from the biggest natural playground on earth! Learn to surf!

As an enthusiastic newbie surfer, who lives waaaay inland (read: 1.5hr drive to the coast), I'd love to be in your shoes.

I dunno what lessons cost (I learned from my surfer gf, who I've been with for a little over a year, so that tells you how long I've been at it.), but an afternoon worth of lessons in small summer surf, would be a worthwhile investment just for the experience, even if you didn't get hooked.

You'd best enjoy a challenge though. Even though I never really got into the traditional stick & ball sports (I'm more into outdoorsy stuff. Mtn. biking, climbing, snowboarding, etc.) I consider myself a reasonably athletic guy, and I've never found the initial learning curve of any sport to be quite as steep as that of surfing. That challenge, and the joy of just being out in the water, are a big part of it's appeal to me. I love it, and I'm hooked. In fact, I just bought my first board on Friday. Been riding borrowed boards up 'til now.

Given your proximity to the coast, and depending on your schedule, you would probably progress a lot faster than I have (I only manage to paddle out 3 - 6 times/mo. you might be able to manage that in a week.).

The one place where surfing will run afoul of your requirements is the buy-in. Your initial gear investment will run you into the low hundreds of dollars. I paid $350 for a board off of craigslist (7' 6" "mini mal", in excellent shape + board bag + leash. I think I got a pretty good deal.), but after you get a board and wetsuit ($120 - $150 for a full suit, $50 - $75 for a spring suit.) all it's gonna cost you is wax and transport costs to the beach and back. If you found it wasn't your thing, you could probably recoup most of your investment by re-selling your gear, if you bought used to begin with.

Chances are if you live in LA you probably already know someone who surfs, and someone who's been surfing for a long time is almost certain to have a spare longboard or two lying around. Ask around and see if you can find a loaner that someone would let you try out for a couple months. They might even offer to take you out your first few times. It's getting warmer too, and within a month or so you'll probably be able get buy with just a spring suit (short legs, short arms). I bought my spring suit at a used sporting goods store for $20.

Where there's a will...
posted by zen_spider at 1:56 PM on April 13, 2009

I suggested bocce via Twitter, without reading this thread, or frankly, doing any research about the availability of courts in your immediate area. It just seemed like the kind of thing that one might easily find in Southern California, since we have courts here in rainy Portland. Of course, all you really need is a flat sward, a sack of heavy balls, and a friend or three who are up for a day in the park.

If you can make it out to Torrance on the 24th, the Sons of Italy are having an open house/wine tasting/bocce party. Maybe not so much with the wine, but hey, Italian social club!

Serious LA ball rolling action, however, looks to be the province of the Holmby Park Lawn Bowling Club. Looks like they've got crazy room for play, a heavy calendar of activities, and welcoming instructors.
posted by mumkin at 7:56 AM on April 14, 2009

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