The Baltimore Sports & Social Club is exactly what it says it is—it’s about sports and it’s about socializing.
Games do not begin too early—time off work is precious—and extend well into happy hour at various watering holes throughout the city. It’s a league based on extending your social circle and drinking dollar drafts.
There are skill levels in various sports. Take its Winter Volleyball league, for example. Players can define themselves according to various criteria:
• Social: Have advanced athletic skills and love to socialize.
• Extreme Social: Have intermediate athletic skills and love to socialize. (Within this division, there are sub-categories of Tastes Great and Less Filling, which have to do with a team’s record the previous season, and the league’s major sponsor, Miller Lite).
* Super Extreme Social: Have basic athletic skills and love to socialize.
Are you getting the picture? It’s all about the socializing. Well, perhaps not all about it, but it is a major component. The club’s tag line is “For people who enjoy sports, but love to socialize.”
Prefer working out alone? This is not your group. It has, at present, nearly 7,000 members who participate in sports leagues as well as community work.
What kind of community work? All kinds. Mike Cray, club president, is presently planning an April 9 event that benefits recovering soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital.
“It’s Take A Soldier to the Ball Game,” Cray says, “and every ticket purchased allows us to buy a ticket for a soldier recovering at Walter Reed.”
And get this: It’s an Orioles/Yankees game. (If there’s better medicine anywhere than a happy group of fans rooting against the Yanks, well, we don’t know what it is).
The event is stereotypical for BSSC: equal parts sports, social and community action. The club has been around since 1998, and has expanded its offerings through the years.
Spring leagues, many of which are already underway, include:
Football (the spring season has just started);
Softball (starting the week of June 4, with meetings held in April);
Volleyball (starts mid-May, meetings begin in April);
Wiffleball (starts April 12, meetings start in March);
Kickball (starts this week);
Dodgeball (starts mid-September, organizational meetings starting in August).
There is also warm weather outdoor cornhole at the Power Plant, according to Cray; details can be found on BSSC’s website.
Depending upon the sport, teams use facilities from Canton (‘Du’ Burns Arena) to Patterson Park (which has multiple fields) to the Joseph Lee Fields near Patterson High School, to the Myers Soccer Pavilion in South Baltimore. Other locations, including Holabird Park, Dundalk Community College and the Mimi diPietro ice rink are also used.
Cray notes the group’s regular happy hours carry a $5 cover charge, which goes to purchase personal care items for soldiers at Walter Reed.
Information on upcoming sports can be obtained by going to BSSC’s website at www.baltssc.com.
by Mary Helen Sprecher