You haven’t felt truly exhilarating competitive fire until you’ve been screamed at by a grown woman over a game intended for 10-year-olds—a game you thought you were playing because it’s funny.
Recreational sports leagues have a history of providing aging athletes with a way to burn a few calories while reliving their former glory on the field, rink, court or diamond. But in recent years, the rec-league notion has expanded along a sillier, irony-laden axis to include “sports” like kickball, dodgeball and capture the flag.
Along with the obvious pros (inclusiveness, lighthearted fun), these seriously staged kids’ games deliver an unexpected bonus: pure, hyper-competitive rage.
Maybe you’ve butted heads with some jerk in a heated game of hoops at the Y. But you haven’t felt truly exhilarating competitive fire until you’ve been screamed at by a grown woman over a game intended for 10-year-olds—a game you thought you were playing because it’s funny.
Blame unresolved aggressive feelings, or a little self-delusion, but the irony-motivated are the fiercest competitors in recreational sports.
Objectively, an organized game of adult dodgeball doesn’t matter even a little bit. But without a frame of reference (no professional matches on TV), it only takes a minimal amount of mental gymnastics to convince yourself you’re playing the most important dodgeball game in the world. That’s when things start to approach an intensity you rarely see this side of the Super Bowl—the sort of life-and-death stakes that we invented sports to approximate in the first place.
If you want to taste that real competition, stick to the kids’ stuff. You can expect a little sportsmanship from the boys in your Sunday-night hockey game. But keep that just-for-fun crap off my kickball