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What Happened to the Recreational Sports I Used To Play?

Us grownups often wonder why kids don’t play pick up games anymore in neighborhood yards or fields. “When I was a kid” is how we start sentences about how we played basketball every night all winter.

We found ways to put together baseball or touch football games several times a week. Where I grew up kids of varying ages and skill levels would show up with a glove, or a ball and bat and we’d put them on a team. When we didn’t have a field we’d find a yard and use a tennis ball instead of a baseball so we could spare some window panes. Its what we did in small town Maine “back in the day.”

This doesn’t seem to happen much with today’s youth.

But I also wonder why us adults don’t play recreational sports any longer? For more than 20 years I played mens softball in leagues all around the region. Leagues used to fill up with teams quickly, many of the same players returning year after year. We had summer and fall leagues. All full.

I traveled to many a weekend softball tournament throughout the state. Summer meant softball. This seems to be largely in the past. Many towns don’t even have softball leagues any longer. Others have smaller leagues, church leagues or a few coed teams.

Its not just softball. For decades Candlepin Bowling was huge in this state. Bangor-Brewer Bowling Lanes often featured two leagues on many nights. The lanes would be full. While bowling leagues certainly still do exist, numbers are way down and many local bowling alleys have closed over the years.

Are there any over forty mens basketball leagues in your town? Or do you wander down to your local YMCA or gym and wait your turn to take part in pick up hoops game? Those games seem hard to find now.

There have been some wooden bat baseball leagues in the area. Im not aware of any in the northern part of the state.

Heck, my core group of friends don’t even play nearly as much golf as they used to just a few summers ago. And golf is what us balding,middle aged men are supposed to do now, right?!

I know adult recreational sports have not completely vanished. But, just as times have changed with how our kids play, they have for us grownups as well.

I have a little more to say about this and will in next weeks Sports Chowdah.

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