Boston is Getting Its Very First Singles-Only Sports League
There is speed dating, online dating, and of course, going on blind dates, but none of those options seemed to work quite as effectively for Jessica Daniels as much as joining a singles-only sports league in New York City. And now that she’s been with her boyfriend for four years and is no longer scoping out the dating scene, she wants to give other singles the chance to find their soulmate.
In June, Daniels and her boyfriend will be in charge of bringing the first-of-its-kind singles sports league to Boston, branching off from similar groups started in Chicago and New York. Singles Social Sports, which describes itself as “more than a league,” will start up in June and bring hundreds of singles together to play weekly softball games on the Charles River, and follow-up the competition with social activities. “I have played in other sport leagues, and what was missing is most people join with friends and they don’t socialize that much. But because the only way to get to know people on a singles league is to introduce yourself, meeting someone new sort of happens organically,” says Daniels.
Singles Social Sports, or S3, was started five years ago in Illinois, but its success stretched it first to New York City, and now, Boston. Daniels says she has seen many successful dating stories stem from the league’s get-togethers, including marriages, and several long-term relationships. That success, she says, is based on the fact that the league unplugs people from their computers, and eliminates the awkward social anxiety that comes with meeting for dinner, and creates a common playing ground where soon-to-be couples can have a shared experience. “When Joe and I finally did go on a date, he already knew me. It was the first time he saw me not in a T-shirt and shorts, and we had a common interest already. It was more normal. We could start talking about things that happened with our teams and later get into us,” says Daniels.
The league accepts applications from interested singles and splits up teams evenly—half men, and half women. To kick off S3 in Boston, Daniels says the group will be playing softball on the Charles River this summer, and as the seasons change, so, too, will the activity. In the winter, she plans on launching a football league, with games being followed up with a singles fantasy league, and meet-ups at the bar to watch pro games. “I like the idea of building the community with whatever we do and binding the sport with a social aspect,” says Daniels.
In an age when online meet-ups and connections have reigned supreme Melysha Acharya, Boston matchmaker and host of MeetYourMatch.TV, says the concept could be a good avenue for the city’s singles. “I find that, especially in bars, you are usually [drunk] when meeting someone, so being able to meet someone in a competitive social environment without the assistance of alcohol, people will probably have a much better success rate for going out on dates.”
Acharya says when she worked in Detroit, a similar program that was specifically for singles worked well in terms of turning strangers into couples. “It’s another way to group people who have common interests together without making them feel like a spectacle. Sometimes when you do speed dating, or group dating, you can feel like you’re on parade.”
For Daniels, the success of the sports league in New York and Chicago has started to translate to Boston already. After putting up fliers around the city, the group has received inquiries from hundreds of interested participants. “We announced registration a week and a half ago, and we have almost all the spots full,” she says.