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It's all fun and games in Boston's social sports leagues

Sports help foster friendships for city's busy young professionals.

As a hockey game finished up at Reilly Memorial Rink in Brighton Monday night, 40 sneaker-clad co-eds in brightly colored shirts took over the ice. They looked ready for a scrimmage.

The name of the game? Broomball.

It’s one of nearly two dozen sports offered to adults by a handful of sports leagues around Boston. Looking for a little competition? Check out the hockey, basketball or softball leagues. Broomball tends to be a little more laid back.

The fast moving, 40-minute games consist of a couple dozen people sliding around the ice in shoes chasing after a big orange ball with rubber sticks.

“It’s a little silly,” said ref Dan Deruvo, who likened the sport to hockey — with a few variations. “It’s about being social, having fun and then heading to the bar after to have some drinks together.”

Broomball is one of the “quirkier” sports offered by Social Boston Sports, a company that organizes games and leagues for its 18,000 active members. Besides the classics like volleyball and bowling, participants can join corn hole leagues, dodgeball, kickball and inner tube water polo, if you’re into that kind of thing.

The leagues at Social Boston Sports are tailored to young professionals. They take place after work, most of the leagues are co-ed and drinks are usually included.

“We started SBS to create a community in Boston that would allow us and others to continue having the same fun you had in college while meeting other awesome people and new friends throughout the city,” said Jason Obey, a Bentley graduate who founded the company with friends 10 years ago.

For a lot of young people who work and live in Boston, it’s become a resource to meet people and have a little fun.

“Sports break down barriers. Everyone is equal on the playing field, so it’s a really good way for people to organically meet one another,” Maggie Walsh, communications director, said.

When Brianna Allison, a 26-year-old accountant from New Hampshire moved to Somerville in July, it was a way for her to connect with her community and make friends in a new city.

“It’s a good way to be active and meet new friends,” she said. Allison plays softball, broomball and bowls with Boston Social Sports.

Melissa Kosztowny and Colin Parmalee of Brighton met playing broomball as free agents two years ago. They linked up with a couple of friends and now play together on their own team. Social Boston Sports allows players to sign up as singles, small groups or whole teams.

All the Social Boston Sports leagues benefit from sponsorships with local bars. On game nights throughout the seven-week seasons, players will get hooked up with cheap drinks or discounted apps, Walsh said. All the teams hang out together, further emphasizing the social aspect of the sports.

Some of the leagues at Social Boston Sports can take a more competitive edge, Walsh said. The company recently introduced an advanced volleyball league to satisfy the more diehard athletes in the community, she said.

“We try to have something for everyone,” Walsh said.

Social Boston Sports isn’t the only game in town, though. Various other adult sports organizations offer everything from pickup hockey leagues to singles-only meet ups to ski vacations. Like Social Boston, Singles Sports League, Hub Sports Boston and Boston Ski and Sports Club all offer rolling registrations on day and league activities year round.

 

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