Recess for adults: Social club offers fun and friendship
How long has it been since you played kickball, dodgeball or even flag football?
"If you haven't played it since sixth-grade recess, there's a good chance we've organized it," said David Marquardt, the founder of Beehive Sport and Social Club, which offers organized leagues for kickball, dodgeball and flag football as well as sand volleyball, ultimate Frisbee, dunkball and bocce.
"These are the games that everyone can compete at no matter your athletic ability," said Marquardt.
More than 300 people a mix of men and women in their 20s, 30s and even 40s participated in the group's just-completed winter dodgeball league. Sign-ups are under way for the kickball league that begins at the end of April.
"Not only do we choose sports where athleticism doesn't matter so much, but we also engineer the rules of these sports so women get just as much touch on the ball as men," Marquardt said.
It costs about $50 for nine weeks of play with referees. Rather than trophies, champions receive WWE-style belts "that people get a big kick out of," Marquardt said.
Beehive Sport and Social Club is a way to get some exercise, meet new people and have a good time in a nonthreatening atmosphere.
"The social part is key," said Crystal Jacobson. "We're all friends before and after, whether we lose or win. We just have a good time."
A lot of people sign up to play on a team with their friends, but 15 percent to 20 percent are just interested in meeting new people.
"Those are the people who end up having the most fun," said Marquardt. "They end up bonding really quickly with their teammates. They're first out at the bars after the games and having the most fun."
After games, it's not uncommon for members to head to a local bar. That's why players must be at least 21 to participate.
But it's not all about the alcohol.
"There's drinkers and nondrinkers and we just all have a good time together," Jacobson said.
In a city where social experiences often revolve around church activities, Beehive is an alternative. It's not about dating, but that does happen.
"We keep an informal tally of the relationships that have come out of this," Marquardt said. So far the tally is six "boyfriend-girlfriend connections" in the past 10 months.
The idea for a sport and social club isn't original. You can find them in many American cities.
Marquardt picked up the idea while going to college and working in Richmond, Va. When the 25-year-old returned to Utah, he realized it was something Salt Lake's social scene lacked.
"This is something Salt Lake has been missing big-time," said Joe Williams, who has played flag football and dodgeball. "It's something we wanted and needed. It's just fun."
Which is the whole point.
"At our core, we try to be a goofy organization. Light-hearted and casual," Marquardt said. "We've thought from day one that if people have fun, then we're going to grow and do well."
Kickball • Thursday evenings beginning April 29 for nine weeks; at Glendale Middle School.
Bocce • Saturday afternoons beginning May 5 for eight weeks; at Warm Springs Park; register by April 7.
Social Frisbee • Monday evenings beginning May 1 for eight weeks; at Glendale Middle School; register by April 7.
For more information, go to BeehiveSports.com.