At Northwest Athletic Club, patrons can train for almost any type of physical challenge. Those who want to become a tennis champion can reserve one of five indoor tennis courts for practice rain or shine. Those who want to dunk a basketball or just shoot a layup while yelling "dunk" can head to the facility's full-size basketball court.
Of course, the club has a vast fitness floor for those who just want to work out, as well as a studio that hosts Zumba dance parties, spinning sessions, yoga classes, and more.
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.
Each year, Chicago Sport and Social Club draws 70,000 participants together on fields and courts for laid-back games and practices. Looking to make new friends while indulging in some fun competition, players sign up for ongoing leagues and classes, along with single-session sporting events. Sports on the club's roster include tennis, volleyball, football, and soccer, along with activities like bowling and dodgeball. Some leagues and tournaments are co-ed, some are gender-specific, and some are for costumed mascots only. All of the events, however, promise as much opportunity for socializing as they do for scoring points.
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.