I’m not a huge fan of paying for things that I can get for free. (Trying to reach financial freedom over here!) However, I do have exceptions if I think that paying for something will truly improve my quality of life. For example, I could avoid spending money by not traveling back home during the holidays but for me, it’s worth the price to see my family. After giving it a lot of thought, I decided that paying for an social sports league, was worth the hit to my wallet (about $50 for the season).
Playing sports doesn’t have to cost this much. I have been to the local park with some friends to kick around a soccer ball or toss a frisbee. People will even invite strangers to join pick up games at the park. There are definitely cheaper options. So why in the world did I pay for a rec league if I am trying to save money? I’ll explain my thought process.
New Kid on the Block
I just moved to Denver from NYC. Luckily, I knew a couple of people in the area before I moved but none of my closest friends live within driving distance.
Last time I moved to a new city, I was in a pretty fortunate situation. It was right after college and I had moved to start in an analyst class at a large bank. There were about 40 other people my age from all over the country who were in the same boat as me. Making new friends was hard but it was almost like being a freshman in college again. Totally doable.
This time is a bit different. Most people I meet in Denver aren’t new to the city and already have their friend networks in place. Making friends as an adult is hard. This is where a the rec league comes into play (sorry, I love a good pun).
I figured that even if I don’t find a solid friend group at the end of the season, I will at least get a weekly dose of social interaction. I’m also an introvert. Branching out makes me nervous so having an “in” with a group takes the stress off of one part of my life. I still plan to join more (likely free) groups to meet people with similar interests, but for now, I took the easy way out. I have enough stresses related to my move to take care of.
Think back to your early school days. Recess was a perfect break up to the school day. A chance to run around and feel free. Who decided that adults don’t need play? We have more stress and responsibilities than kids. I say, and so does the scientific community, that adults need play time just as much as kids.
Playing allows us to connect with others and socialize. Social connectivity is so important to our well-being that it can even lead to a 50% increase in lifespan. It strengthens our immune systems and decreases anxiety and depression.
Playing, laughing, and having a good time is not only fun, but you also get a ton of health benefits. Your body starts to de-stress and as a result reduces inflation (which we all know is awful for us). Your blood pressure starts go down and you get the awesome dopamine high that runners talk about. Not bad right?
My Experience Joining an Adult Sports League
Next week is our team’s last game. So now that the season is basically over, I can say that it was a worthwhile experience. Totally worth the $50.
I met some really fun people outside of my new 9 to 6 job who I probably would have never met otherwise. We’ll see if they turn into actual friends. Either way, interacting with a new group of people once a week helped break up the monotony of the work week. I had something to look forward to besides going home to do chores after work.
The specific sport I went with for the rec league was kickball. I probably wasn’t burning a ton of calories during it but for an hour every week it was a guarantee that I was going to be moving around. The gym isn’t the most exciting place so I prefer to add in creative ways to stay active.
Best of all, it was just plain fun. I didn’t think about how many miles or reps I had to do, I just played and had fun. Isn’t that what life is all about? To enjoy it?
Will I be doing this every season? No. But, I will probably make this a yearly activity, maybe change up the sport as well. Although it was kickball this year, soccer is one of my favorite past times. There’s a ton of options to choose from, even cornhole.
Although, I try to live my life frugally, I do spend money on activities that actually enhance my life. Because in the end, isn’t that what money should be spent on?