The South Jersey Sports League - a coed, noncompetitive sports organization for adults offering nontraditional sports such as kickball and dodgeball formed in 2010 by Ocean City resident Jon Smith - is adding new sports for the spring and summer.
Beach volleyball will begin a spring season April 4, with spaces still available, cornhole will start May 8, with games held directly after the spring kickball games Tuesdays, and a Wiffle ball season will start sometime in August, with signups set to open in May. The exact dates will be announced on its website, southjersey
As in the past, SJSL offers kickball every spring and summer, with a few spots still open for this year's spring season, and dodgeball in the fall and winter.
Smith founded the South Jersey Sports League, or SJSL, because he was tired of the monotonous daily routine of adulthood and was looking for ways to make new friends and add some healthy fun into his weekdays.
"So much of our lives consists of going to work, coming home, watching TV or going on the computer and starting all over again," said Smith, a husband and the father of two boys, ages 3 and 1. "The human interaction is really kind of gone."
Smith and his family moved to Ocean City from Delaware in 2010, the same year he founded SJSL.
"I don't drink and I have kids, so it made it really difficult to meet new friends and just socialize," he said, though local bars and restaurants do sponsor the league and host weekly post-game parties for the players.
Now in its third year, SJSL has about 1,200 to1,500 players per year, with many returning season after season, jumping from sport to sport.
Lower Township resident and SJSL player Leslie Kramer, whose North Wildwood dodgeball team made it to the championships this season but lost to an Ocean City team March 20, said she joined SJSL for the fun and exercise and immediately was hooked.
"I fell in love with the camaraderie, I fell in love with the atmosphere and I fell in love with the friendships I made through the sports," said Kramer, who plays both dodgeball and kickball when in season.
Linwood resident and SJSL player Joe D'Agostino said he stumbled upon SJSL through a flyer its first year.
"It sounded like something fun to do," D'Agostino said. "Once you're an adult, it's difficult to find just fun, goofy team sports to get yourself moving."
D'Agostino will be playing kickball and beach volleyball this spring.
"I made some probably lifelong friends through the league," he said. "Even the people you're playing against become you're friends. It's all in good fun."
SJSL is open to everyone, regardless of his or her fitness ability, which is why the league runs nontraditional sports.
"It's all about participation, not winning," Smith said. "For a 45-year-old man who hasn't stepped foot on a baseball field in 20 to 25 years, baseball can be intimidating, but Wiffle ball, Wiffle ball's fun."
Also, all games are held on weekday evenings, as opposed to the weekends, to make attendance more manageable for busy adults. They take place in Ocean City, with some of the sports also offered in North Wildwood.
"We don't do anything on the weekends because people are busy on the weekends. For me, that's kind of my family time," he said. "But at 8 p.m. on a Tuesday night, the only other thing I'm going to be doing is sitting on butt watching TV."
Contact Elisa Lala:
For info or to register
Visit the league's website at southjerseysportsleague.com.