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Find Love On The Playing Field


Learn how getting outside and trying a team sport can lead to romance this season.

By Jennifer Derryberry Mann

ure, now that the weather’s warmer, you can hang out at outdoor cafes and the park in the hopes of meeting someone special. But here’s a better idea: play a game instead. Coed outdoor sports have a way of leading to sweet summer romance. Maybe it’s that certain sunny glow of your skin, the energy boost
Coed outdoor sports have a way of leading to sweet summer romance.
that comes from running around, or the teamwork that comes from working together. However the attraction starts, how you play the game counts — it can speak volumes about whether two people will click off the playing field. Here are some guidelines for meeting someone through sports — and some ground rules about courting on the court.

Get set to meet a lot of new faces.
When you sign up for a sport, know that you’ll meet a lot of people. Surprisingly, even an individual sport can offer that. Janelle Bergquist recommends choosing a sport that includes events where you’ll find lots of people. In her case, that meant triathlons. “At a small tri, there might be 250 guys. Most are physically fit, dedicated to their sport, can obviously follow through on a commitment, and have an interest outside of work,” she says. When you share a sport in common, it’s easy to strike up a conversation. And you always end up running or biking next to somebody, she points out. Might as well get to know him! Bergquist is a woman of her word: she met her husband, Paul, while participating in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program.

Discover a new way to get to know people.
Let’s face it, getting to know a person in a loud nightclub or over an awkward coffee date can be difficult. But playing sports together can be just the ticket… you gain insights both on the field and off. Listen to Michelle Sutherlin’s story; she met her future soccer teammate and husband when he was the fifth wheel to her roommate’s double date. Michelle, a soccer junkie since childhood, immediately noticed Brad’s shoes — soccer kicks. Without hesitation, she invited him to play on her club soccer team. While Michelle didn’t see much in common at that first outing, she eventually changed her mind over the weeks of practices, games and team socializing. “By the time we started dating, I already knew a lot about him: Was he a team player? A good sport or a bad one? Did he have good character? I knew he had all the traits I was looking for.”

There’s little pressure to make dates.
Another great aspect of meeting people via sports is you don’t have to make the effort to socialize… well, at least not at first. Just show up for practice and games and
It’s no secret that love is part of the action at many sporting organizations.
everyone else is there, too! Mary Delaney, who’s now married to Michael, met her guy when he was a substitute player in her neighborhood volleyball league. Weekly games paved the way for an easy courtship. “We lived 45 minutes away from each other,” Mary says. But knowing they’d see each other at their weekly volleyball game, in addition to time together on the weekends, took the pressure off having to schedule weekly dates amidst busy schedules and commuter traffic.

Know that mingling is part of the plan.
Don’t be embarrassed: It’s no secret that love is part of the action at many sporting organizations, like at the World Adult Kickball Association. Every issue of the WAKA monthly newsletter highlights recent love connections. One issue featured WAKA weddings. And the Valentine’s edition went so far as to include a list of best and worst kickball-specific pickup lines.

Whether you consider yourself athletic or not, keep in mind that there are plenty of recreational summer leagues (add ultimate Frisbee, dodgeball and softball to your list) where the first order of business is fun. And fun is a turn-on for everyone, right?


Jennifer Derryberry Mann is a freelance writer based in Minneapolis.
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