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Games People Play

Schools and the park playgrounds are probably the first and best places to learn how to play. Playtime is universal and some children’s games have changed very little over the years. Hide and seek, tag, hopscotch, jump rope, red light/green light, red rover: these and other games don’t need a lot of equipment just a congregation of kids and a sunny day. So, what happens now that you’re all grown up?

The chance to participate in organized games is still available to adults. What were “games” as children are now sports or team events. The basic rules stay the same — catch, evade, do X to score points — but there may be a few more twists or variations. When you live in the city, there are always other like-minded adult who have the time and energy to play.

Depending on the city, the parks service often runs recreational activities and/or sponsors leagues for some of the more familiar team sports: baseball, football, soccer, basketball, volleyball. Similarly, schools may rent out their gyms and equipment — online sites like Meetup are full of sports-related groups and hosted events.

For expats new to a city, organized sports is a great way to meet people and possibly try new activities. With the ability to choose the activity (unlike gym class), you may find you’re more able and skilled than you thought. And moving to a new city may give you access to activities that weren’t available or popular where you used to live: sailing requires access to waterways, skiing requires snow and hills, rock climbing has been spreading through the use of empty warehouses. You may never be an expert but it’s all for fun and practice makes perfect.

If you’re not into doing, you can always choose to watch. In the summer, almost all parks are open to some type of league or organized event. Google or check the local newspaper for listings. You may find yourself cheering for the Manhattan Mayhems at a roller derby game.

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