Take a walk with me down memory lane. You’re 7 years old. Maybe 8. Bleary-eyed on a Saturday morning, you respond to the frantic urgings of your parents by pulling on shin guards and socks, or grabbing your muddy bat bag from the trunk – and crest a hill to arrive at a field complex. Hundreds of other kids are there with brightly colored shirts, also wolfing breakfast down as the sugar high and adrenaline kicks into gear.
Wasn’t that THE BEST?
That feeling – running around on a field or court, burning mega calories, looking slightly absurd and uncoordinated – is being manufactured (for adults) on a daily basis by Sportslink here in Charlotte.
I play Ultimate Frisbee on a team with SportsLink, and it’s far and away more fun than any yoga, barre, spin, pilates, P90x, MADabolic, Zumba, CrossFit, or boot camp offered. There’s something about the big field lights, mad dashes from the parking lot after an afternoon call runs late, and camaraderie that makes this – the team game – the best workout of all. If you haven’t tried it, you must. SportsLink is somewhat of a hidden gem, and I say that not because they don’t have a huge pool of participants, but because whenever I mention it, no one has heard the name. They offer all sorts of intramural-type events for grown-ups, so it’s the true shake-up if you’re in a workout rut.
Bethany Jahn is the coordinator for the disc side of things at SportsLink, and I asked her a few questions last week:
How long has SportsLink been around? Wasn’t there some kind-of merger, a la Wachovia/Wells?
SportsLink actually started as a company called InterLink by Christian Crute in 2000. Sports Connection and InterLink merged to form SportsLink. They were merged for 1 year when it was decided to separate while keeping the name SportsLink.
How many sports are offered through SportsLink?
At the moment we offer 9 different sports. Bowling, flag football, kickball, outdoor soccer, indoor soccer, softball, ultimate frisbee, indoor volleyball, and sand volleyball. We also run sand tournaments during the spring and summer for a few of the sports we offer.
How many total people in Charlotte participate in SportsLink each year?
Between sports and events we have about 30,000 that participate with us every year.
What’s the average age SportsLinker?
The average age is 28.
What’s the most popular sport?
Based on number of people, softball is our most popular sport. Based on number of teams, volleyball is our most popular sport.
Working at SL seems like the coolest job ever. What are some good parts and hard parts?
One of my favorite things about my job is being able to make other people happy and see them having a good time. Whether it’s at our beer festival, New Years Eve party or just a happy hour, I love seeing people come alive when they are in groups and come around for an event.
A hard part is not being able to always participate in the events we have. I’ll have groups of friends that are taking part in one of our events but I won’t be able to hang or participate due to having to work the event. For instance, the beer festival we have I can’t actually take part in the drinking (which makes sense) but it just is kind of a bummer sometimes.
Is there anything new in the pipeline?
(1) We are getting ready to start a series of events that will benefit several charities. We haven’t established those events quite yet but will be doing so shortly.
(2) BeerMe BrewFest is scheduled for Sunday, May 31st. This is our 3rd year.
(3) Mud volleyball is scheduled for Sunday, June 7th and will benefit Habitat for Humanity.
(4) Field Day is scheduled for Saturday, June 20th and is an event we hold every summer where coed teams come out for a day in the sun and a chance to compete in old school field day events.
(5) We have several others in the works but those are the ones coming up soon!
What would you tell someone who has never heard of SportsLink?
If someone is looking to get plugged in and be active and social, we are the place to be. It’s a great way to meet new people and get involved. We have a range of sports that we offer and numerous events and happy hours to participate in year round. It’s never a dull week or weekend when it comes to participating with SportsLink.
Give SportsLink a try. I challenge you to trade the gym workout for a chance to feel like a kid again, grinning goofily when you slide into home base, make the perfect catch, and arrive home covered in mud, sweat, and (if you’re lucky) the thrill of victory.