Good news for those who like a healthy dose of beer with their workouts: Playground Sports is bringing its adult kickball, dodgeball, and leisure sports leagues to Corvallis this summer. Founder and head coach Bec Williams was born and raised in Eugene, but don’t hold it against her—she’s a Beaver alum. And she has grand plans to get you off your couch and into the game.
Williams has been running basketball leagues in Eugene for different recreation centers since 2001. The idea for Playground Sports started after she pitched a bowling league idea to her then director who was not “super pumped” about it. She had been thinking about creative ways to get the community engaged and socializing. A point guard at heart, she made an aggressive move and started Playground Sports to develop fun, creative ways to get active.
“It’s nice to have a salary, but it’s a little more fun to hunt for your own food. It made me a little more hungry to come up with these ideas. Now I’m only limited by who will let me rent their space,” said Williams.
Over the past four years, that idea has grown from four kickball teams into a successful venture fueled by sweat and Ninkasi beer, Playground Sport’s official sponsor. The leagues attract a broad demographic—from late 20-somethings all the way to the retirement crowd.
Ping-pong, shuffleboard or dodgeball, Williams has a way for you to get off your butt and meet people. Her goal is not to create uber athletes or win championships. Instead, Williams wants to create a vibrant social scene. Kickball is just the gateway drug.
“There is a tendency to go a little more competitive I think, especially as we get older, so it’s nice to have a different option,” Williams said. She notes that sometimes she has to remind players to stop chatting and actually start the game.
How successful is the socialization? “I haven’t had my first Playground Sports wedding yet,” but “we definitely have had some love connections. It’s obviously not our emphasis. Our emphasis is on socializing, but you socialize, you meet people,” she laughs.
About 50 percent of participants in her Eugene leagues come to the social hour afterwards at a local bar. And we all know Corvallis can beat that statistic.
“Corvallis is just starving for some extracurricular activities like this,” she said. “It’s such a great town and it would be awesome to have some alternative sports.”
Playday on Saturday, Aug. 24 at Cloverland Park will be the league’s official introduction to Corvallis. There will be kickball, dodgeball, bocce ball, and other yard games. Starting in September, Teamkick leagues will meet every Thursday and the lawn game-focused Teamleisure league will meet Wednesdays. Participants can start their own team or sign up as a free agent to join a team.
Don’t worry—she has already started filling out the paperwork to have alcohol allowed at the parks during events.
In October, Teambowl will start at Highland Bowl. And for all the drinkers out there who think bowling requires too much coordination or muscle, October will also mark the launch of Teampub. Co-ed groups drinking beer and playing darts, shuffleboard, and pool will be invading a local establishment each week. She promises it will not be Ruby Tuesdays.
Playground Sports celebrates its fourth anniversary this July. Williams’s next goal? No fun-seeker left behind and total domination of Oregon’s recreational sports scene. Corvallis may just be the tipping point for such a takeover.
For more information or to sign up, visit http://www.playgroundsports.net/. Cool photos of people doing incredible things while drinking Ninkasi can be found on Playground Sports’ Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Playground-Sports/125839469295.
By Bridget Egan