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Unofficial Sports Breakthrough

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Photo by John Rothwell
Photo by John Rothwell

By Max De Leeuw – Collegiate Staff

Shatterproof glass is but a myth. While jumping through my rear windshield wasn’t what I had in mind, I did at least tap my opponent down before he could score on me in our pick up game of touch football. There must be sports options that don’t result in stitches. Not to say that pickup sports in the street aren’t great, but there have to be better alternatives.

What are some opportunities for students to have fun playing their favorite sports, while managing to come home safe?

While Man v. Windshield is one shining example of sports mixed with stupidity, not all informal sporting events end in disaster. Most are very rewarding experiences. Sports allow us to stay healthy, interact with people, and simply have a great time. Whether it’s football, hockey, soccer, ultimate frisbee, basketball, or any other sport, it’s important to find opportunities to play them. And even when bad things happen, like breaking yourself on the windshield (or breaking the windshield on yourself), it’s the crazy stories in life that make it fun.

Finding opportunities to play sports may seem difficult at first. After all, most of us aren’t headed to the pros, or are even good enough to sit on the bench at the college level. If we’re not part of a sports team, what can we do to ensure that we still have a blast when it comes to playing sports? Believe it or not, there are several ways that you can get involved locally.

The YMCA in downtown Grand Rapids holds basketball, volleyball, and even racquetball tournaments at various costs. For more information about these tournaments and to find the closest YMCA, visit grymca.org.

If you like hockey, then Patterson Ice Arena has many good opportunities for you to get on the ice. Patterson has three different days where those who are at least 18 can come in and play some pick-up games. Monday hockey costs $6 and is during the afternoon, but Patterson has the night owls covered as well. Friday night hockey runs from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., while Saturday hockey runs from 10 p.m. to midnight. Both Friday and Saturday entry costs $10. Even some churches offer sports leagues that are normally laid back and inexpensive to join. Some of the sports played in these situations include golf and softball.

These options are great if you can afford them, but it doesn’t take much to get involved with sports even if spending money is out of the equation. Our very own Ford Fieldhouse offers open swim and open gym. Find an open time slot, grab a basketball, and start playing, or go to the pool and challenge a friend to a race.

Now that winter’s here, throw some two by fours on the ground, put a tarp down, add water and you have your very own ice rink for hours of skating and hockey all winter long. When it’s warm out again, you can still play hockey. Just slap on some roller skates and head out to the street (try to steer clear of windshields), or grab some friends and check out a local park. There are basketball hoops, baseball diamonds, tennis courts, and a lot of open space for football, ultimate frisbee, or whatever else you feel like playing.

With a little cooperation and planning, you can get started playing sports very easily. There are numerous opportunities. Some involve money and are more organized, while others involve a lot less organization and cash. All you need is the drive to get out and play, and a few people who share that mentality. Just make sure, no matter what you’re doing, that you don’t go jumping on cars.