There aren't many pick-up baseball, football, or basketball games going on anymore. On a given mid-summer day, for example, most baseball diamonds at the local park are unused. Sports are scheduled for kids now and they must be organized. It might be killing you, Smalls.
There's some evidence today that there's a physical price to be paid for that. Wired.com reports on the initial findings -- suggestions, really -- that athletes who play pick-up games in addition to their organized sports, are less likely to be injured.
The injured athletes who played only tennis spent 12.6 hours a week playing the game in a structured setting and only 2.4 hours in free play. The uninjured players spent about 9.7 hours a week playing tennis and 4.3 hours pursuing recreational sports. The injured players spent five times as much time playing organized tennis as they did playing for fun, while uninjured players spent only 2.6 times more time. A similar ratio was found when comparing injured tennis players with uninjured athletes who play many different sports: Injured tennis players spent 5.3 times as much time playing tennis as anything recreational, and the injured multi-sport athlete only spent 1.9 times as much time in organized sports vs. recreational sports.
Not sure where you hang out, but I saw pickup games happening all the time in South Minneapolis. Pickup basketball games start about noon and go until it is dark at the most parks North of Lake Street all summer long. Into the night at the ones with lights. I've seen tons of pick up soccer games at Riverside park and others, especially in the Latino and Somali neighborhoods. Pick up bike polo was happening often at McRae until the city stopped it and it had to move. I've seen quite a bit of pick up ultimate frisbee over north east and bocce and other lawn games throughout the city.
Come to the rocking East Side sometime. There are pickup tennis, baseball, soccer, handball, and basketball games going on constantly (weather permitting) at all the parks near my house.
This time of year it's mostly skating and sledding, but the kids are out and about.
I am new to the area, but have discovered the Mac-Groveland hockey rink has some really good pick-up hockey games; low key, fast, skilled players having fun.
Let me know if you find an outdoor one that features old, out of shape men. That's the one for me.
The Wired.com article is pretty consistent in its terminology -- "young athletes". Without reading the study itself, I would have to use the last sentence of the piece to infer that they mean pre-college.
I come across pick-up games going on for adults. How many are you all seeing where the players are kids?
Absolutely I see kids playing pick up games. Well, mostly teenagers, but under 18. Now, ask me if I see WHITE kids playing pick up games, I'll answer no (except hockey), but kids in general, yes. Probably also why I don't see a lot of pickup baseball.
Jordan famously had a "love of the game" clause in all of his contracts that stipulated he would always be allowed to play pick-up basketball whenever he wanted. He was also rarely injured.
As long as we're doing shout outs to our neighborhoods, NE is great for pick-up ball. Plenty of parks in the summer, and there's adult pick-up basketball at the neighborhood's several recreation centers on various nights of the week.
I wish the city would do a better job of turning on lights next to basketball courts in parks. I spoke with a city official about Windom Park, where the football/soccer field is always lit, but they city can't be bothered to turn on the light they have next to the basketball court. The city official, in no uncertain terms, told me that they don't turn on lights for evening basketball because "of the kinds of people it attracts." Ick.
And no love for the "Sandlot" reference, people?