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Game On!

Team up with one of these Chicago winter sports leagues and leave hibernation to the bears.
Friday Jan 02, 2009.     By Amanda Nyren
Centerstage Chicago Nightlife City Guide Arts

Game On!

You should probably join a winter sports league because: a) you need to start exercising now to stave off the looming holiday weight-gain, but the idea of signing your life away to a gym gives you pause; b) you want to relive the glory of your high school athletic career, but donning spandex in front of your coworkers for the office kickball league sounds like the fast-track to lunch-hour alienation and, let's be honest, a demotion; c) you need to find a way to quench your thirst for competition that doesn't involve screaming obscenities at players on "Wheel of Fortune," if not for your own sanity, then for the sake of your family/roommate/neighbor/house plant; d) all of the above. Whatever your reason, there's simply no excuse not to get active with one of these winter sports leagues.

Chicago Sport and Social Club The nation's largest provider of recreational sports leagues, premier social events and local social networking, with over 70,000 annual participants, the Chicago Sport and Social Club's mission is to provide places and activities where young Chicagoans can meet and have fun. Year-round league sports create the club's biggest draw. For the winter season, you can still check out broomball, dodgeball, indoor soccer or basketball. There's also a bar-sports league ($75-$120 per team, $40-$65 per individual), featuring ping-pong and euchre, in case you get winded just looking for your pack of smokes, or are more prone to drinking beer than Gatorade. Hand-eye coordination is overrated, anyway.

Player's Sports Group
Probably the only league operation to list a cornhole - or, for the faint of heart, "bags" - league, Player's Sports Group hosts an extensive array of winter sports, including basketball, dodgeball, bowling, indoor soccer and volleyball. Each league guarantees eight games (seven regular season, plus at least one play-off), experienced, professional referees, t-shirts and online schedule and standings. No wonder 40,000 Chicagoans get dirty and play hard with Player's Sports Group.

Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association
The largest not-for-profit gay and lesbian sports organization in the Midwest, CMSA offers recreational and competitive-level play throughout the year and welcomes all persons who wish to play, regardless of sexual orientation, gender or gender identity. Winter sports include dodgeball, indoor soccer, and badminton doubles in open (co-ed), men's and women's leagues. Membership costs only $20 and includes programs from the date accepted through August 31 of the following year.

Chicago Sports Monster
The name of this league organization may sound intimidating, but, really, Sports Monster is all about meeting people and having fun (and maybe a little harmless trash-talking in between). In business since 1994, Sports Monster prides itself on running a well-oiled league machine, enforcing rules, making sure leagues start and end on time and winning the respect of the host facilities in which it operates. Winter sports offerings include coed and men's indoor soccer, basketball, broomball, and dodgeball.

While you're at it, check out these parks, also hosting winter league sports: McFetridge Sports Center (aka California Park): Registration for men's and women's weekly winter tennis leagues begins in November.

Holstein Park: The cramped quarters at this historic Bucktown fieldhouse make for some interesting four-on-four basketball games.

Windy City Fieldhouse: Leagues tend to fill up fast at this multi-sport and entertainment complex, so reserve your spot for basketball, floor hockey, soccer, or volleyball ASAP.


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