Flag football, Ultimate Frisbee and more sports clubs and leagues

Relive your glory days with our roundup of social sports clubs and leagues, like flag football, Ultimate Frisbee and softball, or try something new

Photograph: Alex Strada
NYC Flag Football

Change up your routine and get fit at a sports lesson or with an intramural league using our guide to where to play social sports like flag football, Ultimate Frisbee, or once spring rolls round again, baseball and softball. Of course, if you're just looking to get up off the couch and make some new friends, we also have options for joining a Skee-Ball team.

Photograph: Alex Strada
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Flag football

What’s the most fun part of football? If you answered “helmet to helmet contact,” then that’s a 15-yard penalty and a concussion, mister. If you answered anything else, NYC Flag Football (ultimaterec.com) might be for you. A seven-on-seven no-contact league and an eight-on-eight contact-blocking league (both men only) are offered. Teams play on weekends on Randalls Island during the fall and spring seasons, and move to East River and Riverside Parks for the winter sessions. The skill level ranges from intermediate to very high—one former NFLer has even played. However, the group will be expanding in the near future into two divisions to accommodate other skill levels.

Photograph: Winston Suntaree
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Ultimate Frisbee

Not nearly as filthy as its acronym suggests, Manhattan Ultimate Disc (manhattanultimate.com) is one of the sport’s premier NYC organizations, offering a competitive league for committed disc hawks and a recreational option for beginners looking for a more relaxed vibe. This fall, matches will take place in three parks in Manhattan and the Bronx. To play for the season, you’ll have to obtain a waiver from MUD and the national organization USA Ultimate (usaultimate.org), and pay a registration fee of $45 for the recreational league and $55 for the competitive league.

Photograph: Erik Pendzich
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Baseball and softball

Decades ago, when Ebbets Field still stood and the Dodgers ruled Flatbush, Brooklyn was one of the baseball capitals of the world. And though pro batters no longer swing for the fences in Kings County, there are a couple ways you can help uphold the borough’s storied legacy. For 50 years, Brooklyn’s Baseball Club (brooklynsbaseballclub.org) offered collegiate-level training and a league that welcomes everyone from teens to seniors. The club briefly folded in 2010 due to lack of interest but returned in 2013, hopefully for good. If you find yourself overpowered by fastballs, try the lobs at Williamsburg Softball League (williamsburgsoftball.com), Brooklyn’s most convivial co-ed slow-pitch beer bracket. Featuring 16 coed teams sponsored by local bars, games take place at McCarren Park and are often followed by a few rounds of drinks at a nearby joint.

Photograph: Mike Chin
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Basketball

Whether you’re the next LeBron or are more suited to join Harlem Globetrotter fall guys the Washington Generals, there’s a place for you somewhere in the roughly 400-team, 40-division N.Y. Urban Professionals Basketball League (nyurban.com). The organization mounts three eight-game and one 12-game season a year for men and women ($1,350/team, $135/person for the 8-game season) and draws up rosters based on skill level, determined at preseason scrimmages. Games, made up of 24-minute halves, take place weeknights at more than a dozen Manhattan gyms. If you need to get in playing shape, take part in the league’s ongoing pickup sessions at several locations.

Photograph: Yanina Yanovitsky
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Multiple sports

Both Zog Sports, pictured, (zogsports.com/nyc) and NYC Social Sports Club (212-929-5353, nycsocial.com) offer a plethora of casual leagues for your pleasure. Between the two of them, you’ll find opportunities to get into a game of everything from soccer and volleyball to dodgeball and the glorious beer drinker’s pastime of cornhole. United Social Sports (855-752-9877, mysportsclubs.com) is also a fun option aimed at twentysomethings looking for action in Wiffle ball and bocce, and bar-friendly games like Skee-Ball. There may not be the same focus on postgame drinking at Chelsea Piers, but the complex offers just about any sport you could think of, as well as NYC’s only amateur adult ice-hockey league.

Photograph: Ben Shyman/Asphalt Green
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Triathlon

Test your endurance limit with the Asphalt Green Triathlon Club (212-369-8890, ext 2272; agtri.com). Whether you’re a first- or longtime iron man, AGTC will put you through the gauntlet with rigorous swimming, biking and running training, as well as teaching you proper warm-up and cooldown techniques. Workouts for the club’s 300 committed members take place in Central Park (meet at Engineer’s Gate, 90th St and Fifth Ave), at Asphalt Green’s Aqua Center (1750 York Ave between 90th and 91st Sts) and at the club’s new Battery Park City location (212 North End Ave between Murray and Warren Sts).

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Badminton

Try your hand at a glorious ninth-grade phys-ed staple. New York City Badminton (646-271-3228, newyorkcitybadminton.com) will show you how this weird amalgam of tennis, volleyball and flying doilies is done during group lessons with top-of-the-line instructors—including former Olympic coach Chibing Wu—at its home base in Queens (New York Badminton Center, 132-70 34th Avenue between Collins Pl and Prince St, Flushing; group lessons Sat 10am-3pm; 12 lessons $300, 24 lessons $500). The organization hosts private lessons at Humanities High School (Humanities High School, 351 W 18th St between Eighth and Ninth Aves, seventh floor; Tue 6:30–10pm), and both group and private lessons at Robert Wagner Jr. High School (Robert Wagner Jr. High School, 220 E 76th St between Second and Third Aves; Wed, Fri 6:30–10pm). The New York Badminton Center in Flushing also offers various open hours seven days a week. The practices attract various skill levels, but the atmosphere is generally loose and recreational, and as long as you show up ready to play, a club manager will find you a partner.

Photograph: LeRoy Shepherd
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Fencing

Coney Island is famous for many things—the beach, the Cyclone, hot dogs—but at the rate the New York Fencing Academy (2896 W 12th St between Neptune and Surf Aves, Coney Island, Brooklyn; 718-996-0426, fencenyfa.com; membership is $50/month for people born in 2004 or later, $70/months for everyone else) is churning out youth-circuit champions and national-team stars, south Brooklyn will soon be synonymous with swashbuckling épée and foil fencing. Fortunately, the 3,000-square-foot gym—complete with eight fencing strips (not to mention free Wi-Fi)—offers membership and training to current and aspiring masters of the blade. Sign up for beginner, intermediate or competitive classes, or show up to open fencing (Tues 5–6:30pm, Wed 5-7:30pm, Fri 6-8pm, Sat 4:30–6:30pm).

Flag football

What’s the most fun part of football? If you answered “helmet to helmet contact,” then that’s a 15-yard penalty and a concussion, mister. If you answered anything else, NYC Flag Football (ultimaterec.com) might be for you. A seven-on-seven no-contact league and an eight-on-eight contact-blocking league (both men only) are offered. Teams play on weekends on Randalls Island during the fall and spring seasons, and move to East River and Riverside Parks for the winter sessions. The skill level ranges from intermediate to very high—one former NFLer has even played. However, the group will be expanding in the near future into two divisions to accommodate other skill levels.

Ultimate Frisbee

Not nearly as filthy as its acronym suggests, Manhattan Ultimate Disc (manhattanultimate.com) is one of the sport’s premier NYC organizations, offering a competitive league for committed disc hawks and a recreational option for beginners looking for a more relaxed vibe. This fall, matches will take place in three parks in Manhattan and the Bronx. To play for the season, you’ll have to obtain a waiver from MUD and the national organization USA Ultimate (usaultimate.org), and pay a registration fee of $45 for the recreational league and $55 for the competitive league.

Baseball and softball

Decades ago, when Ebbets Field still stood and the Dodgers ruled Flatbush, Brooklyn was one of the baseball capitals of the world. And though pro batters no longer swing for the fences in Kings County, there are a couple ways you can help uphold the borough’s storied legacy. For 50 years, Brooklyn’s Baseball Club (brooklynsbaseballclub.org) offered collegiate-level training and a league that welcomes everyone from teens to seniors. The club briefly folded in 2010 due to lack of interest but returned in 2013, hopefully for good. If you find yourself overpowered by fastballs, try the lobs at Williamsburg Softball League (williamsburgsoftball.com), Brooklyn’s most convivial co-ed slow-pitch beer bracket. Featuring 16 coed teams sponsored by local bars, games take place at McCarren Park and are often followed by a few rounds of drinks at a nearby joint.

Basketball

Whether you’re the next LeBron or are more suited to join Harlem Globetrotter fall guys the Washington Generals, there’s a place for you somewhere in the roughly 400-team, 40-division N.Y. Urban Professionals Basketball League (nyurban.com). The organization mounts three eight-game and one 12-game season a year for men and women ($1,350/team, $135/person for the 8-game season) and draws up rosters based on skill level, determined at preseason scrimmages. Games, made up of 24-minute halves, take place weeknights at more than a dozen Manhattan gyms. If you need to get in playing shape, take part in the league’s ongoing pickup sessions at several locations.

Multiple sports

Both Zog Sports, pictured, (zogsports.com/nyc) and NYC Social Sports Club (212-929-5353, nycsocial.com) offer a plethora of casual leagues for your pleasure. Between the two of them, you’ll find opportunities to get into a game of everything from soccer and volleyball to dodgeball and the glorious beer drinker’s pastime of cornhole. United Social Sports (855-752-9877, mysportsclubs.com) is also a fun option aimed at twentysomethings looking for action in Wiffle ball and bocce, and bar-friendly games like Skee-Ball. There may not be the same focus on postgame drinking at Chelsea Piers, but the complex offers just about any sport you could think of, as well as NYC’s only amateur adult ice-hockey league.

Triathlon

Test your endurance limit with the Asphalt Green Triathlon Club (212-369-8890, ext 2272; agtri.com). Whether you’re a first- or longtime iron man, AGTC will put you through the gauntlet with rigorous swimming, biking and running training, as well as teaching you proper warm-up and cooldown techniques. Workouts for the club’s 300 committed members take place in Central Park (meet at Engineer’s Gate, 90th St and Fifth Ave), at Asphalt Green’s Aqua Center (1750 York Ave between 90th and 91st Sts) and at the club’s new Battery Park City location (212 North End Ave between Murray and Warren Sts).

Badminton

Try your hand at a glorious ninth-grade phys-ed staple. New York City Badminton (646-271-3228, newyorkcitybadminton.com) will show you how this weird amalgam of tennis, volleyball and flying doilies is done during group lessons with top-of-the-line instructors—including former Olympic coach Chibing Wu—at its home base in Queens (New York Badminton Center, 132-70 34th Avenue between Collins Pl and Prince St, Flushing; group lessons Sat 10am-3pm; 12 lessons $300, 24 lessons $500). The organization hosts private lessons at Humanities High School (Humanities High School, 351 W 18th St between Eighth and Ninth Aves, seventh floor; Tue 6:30–10pm), and both group and private lessons at Robert Wagner Jr. High School (Robert Wagner Jr. High School, 220 E 76th St between Second and Third Aves; Wed, Fri 6:30–10pm). The New York Badminton Center in Flushing also offers various open hours seven days a week. The practices attract various skill levels, but the atmosphere is generally loose and recreational, and as long as you show up ready to play, a club manager will find you a partner.

Fencing

Coney Island is famous for many things—the beach, the Cyclone, hot dogs—but at the rate the New York Fencing Academy (2896 W 12th St between Neptune and Surf Aves, Coney Island, Brooklyn; 718-996-0426, fencenyfa.com; membership is $50/month for people born in 2004 or later, $70/months for everyone else) is churning out youth-circuit champions and national-team stars, south Brooklyn will soon be synonymous with swashbuckling épée and foil fencing. Fortunately, the 3,000-square-foot gym—complete with eight fencing strips (not to mention free Wi-Fi)—offers membership and training to current and aspiring masters of the blade. Sign up for beginner, intermediate or competitive classes, or show up to open fencing (Tues 5–6:30pm, Wed 5-7:30pm, Fri 6-8pm, Sat 4:30–6:30pm).

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