Three years ago, we began discussing the development of recreational sports leagues for state employees. We felt this would be a way to have fun, build social networks by making new connections with other state employees and experience enjoyable movement. It would also be a good outlet to have fun and let off steam after work. We started with a bowling league and now, three years later, we have six different state sports leagues. I asked for feedback from participants of the different sports teams on what they liked about the recreational leagues and what they felt were the benefits. Here is what they shared:
- “It was a great way to meet people from other agencies. We all had fun as a team and with players from other agencies.”
- ”It was a great way to relax and de-stress after a hard day at work and it was a good way to get some exercise.”
- “Not only did I have the opportunity to meet and play with new people, I also got to meet and interact with people in my own agency that I would have never met or gotten to know.”
- “I feel sports has improved my teamwork skills with my co-workers and I've had fun focusing on fun activity as a team instead of a project for work.”
- “Conflict is a constant in sports and learning to manage and resolve conflict in a team sport is a great skill to have that can be used in work or family life.”
- “Job status is not a consideration when playing with my team. I met people within my agency that I did not know before that I can now go to as a resource when I need help with work projects."
Some unique benefits emerged from the recreation leagues that we did not consider in our original goals. Families and co-workers have attended to show support and made new connections as well. You do not have to be a great athlete to play and it is a fantastic way to go from sitting on the couch watching sports to actually playing them. If you have not thought about joining in on the fun yet, consider this your personal invitation to try it. Your social well-being will thank you.