Focus On Fitness


Organization offers workout for all levels of skills



Simon Hayter/Torstar NEWS SERVICE file photo


Two TCSSC participants chase down a loose ball.

Eight flying discs hover above Sunnybrook Park like a scene from an alien invasion flick.

People, mostly in their 20s and 30s, are playing eight games of ultimate frisbee, while six soccer games are underway at the park.

It’s a common sight in the GTA. On any evening, people in the area take to the field, or court, or wherever their athletic pursuits lie, to play in a recreational sports league.

“It’s like intramurals for people who aren’t in university anymore,” says Kristi Herold, who founded the Toronto Central Sport & Social Club in 1996. The former provincial-level competitive skier says most people who play sports recreationally want an outlet to keep fit, meet new acquaintances and to share a pint or two with friends after the game.

Sam Selim, who owns a sports club, says there are two major draws to the recreational games. “People love to participate in sports ... (and) the social aspect of it, because you end up playing and socializing and going for drinks afterwards with people who are generally your age and with similar interests,” Selim says.

You’re far more likely to spot ordinary Joes than top-notch athletes in the city’s rec leagues, and that’s partly why they’re so popular, Herold says. “We’ve got people who have never played any sport and, now, it’s a social thing.”

But that doesn’t mean the leagues don’t have a few decorated athletes. Take Marnie McBean, who has three Olympic gold medals in rowing. She’s now trying ultimate Frisbee.

Others like Jody Halfall just want to do something at nights when she and her husband moved to Toronto. A year after she started playing recreational soccer in Toronto, Halfall was offered a job as a league co-ordinator with Selim’s business.

League details

• Fall season is about to begin. Sports offered: Soccer, basketball, curling, dodge ball, fitness classes, flag football, floor and ice hockey, softball, tennis, ultimate Frisbee, volleyball. • Number of participants: 11,000 to 12,000 players

• Cost: From $75 for individuals, depending on the sport

• Registration deadline was Tuesday, but check with league for availability.

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