For so many people, the urge to compete in athletics has been instilled within them from a young age. Growing up, you had Little League and Pop Warner introducing you to the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Then high school came around, and many of us reached our athletic peak during senior year. Unfortunately, our athletic peak wasn’t more than a foothill compared to the mountains of athleticism needed to play college sports, so we did what any normal college student looking to scratch the itch of competition doe: got drunk and played intramurals. College eventually came to an end, but the t-shirt in your closet with the words “Co-ed B-league Champions” became a constant reminder that maybe, just maybe, you still had it. Upon joining postgrad life, the only place left to turn was city league rec sports. For some, this meant joining the long standing office team with some of your new, older coworkers. For others, it meant finding a team of fellow 20-something postgrads in your city to dominate the “old man league” with. In my time as a postgrad, I have been on both types of teams, and the experience is vastly different.
Forming The Team
Postgrads: Text, call, and tweet every person you have ever met to see if they’re free on Tuesday night from 8-9 for the next 10 weeks. Post on Craigslist when you still end up one guy short.
Old Man League: This team has been playing together since before you were born. You’re just lucky a roster spot opened up because a manager retired.
Postgrads: Everyone needs to have their money into the team captain before he can pay the league, because no one can afford to front the bill. Threaten to kick your neighbor off the team when he forgets to pay, even though everyone knows you can’t afford to pay his share, so you need him.
Old Man League: Team captain fronts the bill, and everyone pays at the first game. If you need to wait for your next paycheck, it’s not a big deal.
Postgrads: Everyone was a great high school athlete, but only a few have stayed in shape. No one is quite sure what they can and can’t still do, just like a pubescent boy after his first growth spurt. You might still perform at a high level, but most likely you will try too hard and come up short.
Old Man League: If a 40-year-old man is still playing softball, he has stayed in decent shape. He can’t run like he used to, but he knows his limitations. Also, “old man strength” is a real thing, and I can’t wait until I have it.
Postgrads: Your first few seasons will probably be a huge let down. Mercy rules will be enforced against you. If the team stays together, by season three or four everyone will have made peace with their limitations, stopped trying to show off, and start caring more about the team than their individual capabilities. This will result in a late twentiess rec league dynasty where you perfectly combine fleeting youth and newfound strategy.
Old Man League: Like the San Antonio Spurs, this team will always be competing for a championship with sound fundamentals and teamwork. Maybe you don’t win, but you never get blown out. The teams that suck don’t keep coming back year after year.