Like at a medieval fortress, a two-story structure made of wood and stone towers over a pool of water. And like the garbage chute that empties into the open mouth of a moat's crocodile, two diving platforms and a water slide deposit swimmers into the main pool at Batavia Park District's Harold Hall Quarry Beach—a 60,000-square-foot swimming hole chiseled into a former stone quarry. Though visitors can always brave the free falls, a zero-depth edge allows for a more leisurely entrance into the water, where guests of all ages swim laps in the lanes, practice slam-dunking on one another under the basketball hoop, or pull themselves onto a wooden island to sunbathe. On the shore, landlubbers can relax at the picnic area or head to the beach-volleyball court to prevent lobstermen from stealing the net.
Simply put, Players Sport & Social Group helps more than 60,000 people each year get together, meet new friends, and have fun. The two-decade-old company has more than doubled in size in the last five years, due in no small part to the wide variety of sports leagues and clinics that it offers at venues throughout the city. Teams or individuals can sign up for sports ranging from dodge ball to beach volleyball to games of "bags," otherwise known as cornhole. Players can check their weekly standings online and review each sport's rules, learning exactly what is considered a foul in kickball or how to dispose of a football opponent's captured flag by burning it in a respectful ceremony.
The company also hosts and sponsors social events such as happy hours, fundraisers, and the Luau: a 55,900-participant grass-volleyball tournament with DJ music, food, and beer. Similarly, The Big Dig volleyball tournament offers the same mix of munchies, brews, and live entertainment, but on the sands of North Avenue Beach.
From bar crawls to street festivals, there's plenty of ways to meet new people in the city. There's also plenty of ways to get exercise, such as jogging along the waterfront or scaling a skyscraper in a gorilla costume. Cities and Sports brings both worlds together through seasonal sports leagues that are as much about winning and getting exercise as they are about socializing and having fun. After the games, players can hang out with their team members and meet new people at the league sponsor bar. During warmer months, the company organizes leagues at local parks and beaches for weekly rounds of softball, kickball, and volleyball. Then, when winter rolls around, it moves its operation indoors for properly sheltered sessions of dodge ball, volleyball, bowling, and basketball.
When Ben Shimon first started S3 Leagues, he envisioned recreationally competitive leagues full of people with whom he wanted to be friends. Six years later, they've run 112 leagues total and attracted 15,100 participants. S3 Simply Social Leagues and S3 Singles Leagues hosts dozens of coed leagues year round, such as 16-inch softball, kickball, skeeball, beach volleyball, Whirlyball, and dodgeball at locations throughout the city. After matches, all teams hang out at local sponsor bars for celebratory sips or to plot their comeback in the next game. Each of the leagues meet once a week, with off-field events happening as players' social calendars dictate.