Yes, sport is about keeping fit – but more than that it should also be about having fun. Whether it’s after the five-a-side or the netball game, a post-match get-together is much a part of the scene as the game itself.
It’s this which has inspired the new wave of so-called ‘sports social clubs’ sweeping the capital. These action-packed oases aim to make playing a game as fun as it should be – not a chore you feel you have drag yourself out of bed for on a morning.
“It’s a fantastic place to meet people. We have plenty of social events. Some people find it very difficult to meet people in London. It’s like big family, a big community with us,” says Chandresh Thakkar, the affable founder of Playfit, a Wimbledon-based sports social club.
“It works well because it doesn’t require a lot of commitment such as a gym or specialist sports club does,” agrees Luke Mohr, who set up Go Mammoth, which claims to be the biggest such provider in the capital and runs everything from touch rugby to beach volleyball at sites around the capital. It really sells the chummy aspect of it all – bars sponsor proceedings and participants head off for post-match cocktails. “The sport is a lot more recreational and there’s less commitment in terms of time in the week for training,” says Mohr. “It’s one match a week and more relaxed than traditional offerings.”
Companies, individuals or groups can sign up for leagues, which crucially last just a few weeks, not a whole season – so you can manage your precious time better.
Says Thakkar: “Social sports clubs are a great way to keep fit and have a lot of fun at the same time. We run team sports like basketball, netball and volleyball at a variety of levels so everyone can take part.” That range of levels on offer is another key aspect. “People who thought they were useless at sport at school love our club,” adds Thakkar. “It builds their confidence and you can see them transform.”
There is a slew of people doing this all around town – other ones to check-out include Social Netball, Hot Custard, Come Play and the London Sports and Social Club. Everything from dodgeball to hockey to ultimate frisbee and even water polo is on the menu, so there’s a sport for everyone.
And who knows – you could even find love on the field. “Most Go Mammoth sports are mixed,” points out Mohr, while Thakkar has even found himself cast as an unwitting matchmaker. “We’ve had one couple from our club get married!” he smiles.