8 Wacky Organized Sports You Can Play in Philly

Compete in almost anything you can dream of!

Deep breath. Look straight, aim straight. I slyly test the wind. Concentrate, I tell myself. Concentrate! (Sometimes, this takes two tries.) I have one shot, and I’m going to make it count. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose! This shouldn’t be hard. I take another deep breath. I make one final adjustment and throw …

Safe it to say if you know anything about my athletic career you know that I missed the shot. I miss most shots. My hand-eye coordination isn’t terrible, but I’m much better in sports that value brute strength and endurance. Plowing through until a breakthrough is my sport. It’s why I like running over, say, Beirut.

I wasn’t angry that I missed the shot—and not just because a lifetime of failure prepared me for it. No, it’s because I was in the park and just playing bocce.

I love bocce. It is maybe my favorite of all “get something close to the target” sports, a class that includes such great games as pétanque, horseshoes, washers, table shuffleboard, deck shuffleboard, curling, quoits, lawn bowling and maybe lawn darts? I don’t really know the rules of lawn darts. Is the goal to poke someone’s eye out?

I play in Major League Bocce, a friendly bocce league that started in the D.C. area and is in its second season in Philadelphia. We are 1-2, only winning a game I wasn’t able to attend. (This is how my rec basketball teams always rack up wins, too.) I believe I have scored one point this season, though it might be two.

I try! I really do. And I want to do well. But it’s just not something I’m going to be that good at. The beauty of bocce is that, well, that’s okay. Bocce is a stupid sport. It’s not a stupid sport for everyone, of course; I’m sure people can and do take bocce incredibly seriously, and more power to them. But for me, bocce is like bowling: I try my hardest, and might even practice. But who cares? And if I ever do hit the big shot—I once got four strikes in a row in bowling—I’ll celebrate like it’s the most important thing in the world.

I highly recommend regularly playing a sport you find stupid: It’s all thrill of victory, no agony of defeat. Fortunately, there are a bunch of stupid sports one can play in an organized fashion in Philadelphia. I’ve listed a few (with important info) below.


Difficulty: Easy. Even though I’m bad, the game is incredibly simple; the only skill you need to have is the ability to roll a ball 10 feet or so.
Can You Play Drunk: Absolutely. Be a little more careful, though.
Where to Play: Major League Bocce
The current Major League Bocce season—its second in Philadelphia—is a few weeks in, so you’re out of luck for this year. (There are courts at 10th and Catherine if you want to play pick-up!) Bocce is easy to play and makes you feel like you’re down the shore, leisurely tossing bocce balls in Wildwood.


Difficulty: Easy. It’s like a dumbed-down version of baseball. If you’re not familiar with baseball, however—what are you, a communist?—you’re going to be really confused.
Can You Play Drunk: There’s some running involved, but, yes, obviously.
Where to Play: Philly Sports and Social Club, Manayunk Sport and Social
Let’s be clear, kickball is dumb. Really dumb. Someone took baseball and made it stupider and more boring. People lose interest pretty quick, so you’re probably not going to have enough team members to show up to have much of a chance at winning anyway. But, baseball is still fun, and so kickball is a pretty nice distraction for a cool autumn day.


Difficulty: Hard. The only time you’ve possibly played handball is in 10th grade gym class, so it’s going to take some work.
Can You Play Drunk: I once ran a 5K drunk, so anything’s possible. But I would say probably not.
Where to Play: Philly Sport and Social Club
Were you enthralled by handball during the Olympics? Philly Sports and Social Club is starting a league in Nolibs next month. Handball is a super-sport, a combination of basketball and soccer, the best such pairing since basketball and trampolines. Also, are you a hack in basketball? In handball you can’t foul out. According to my Wikipedia-based understanding of Handball, fouls are considered good strategy in handball, which means this is a sport I probably should play.


Difficulty: Easy. If drunk, nitrous-using tailgaters can do it, you can, too.
Can You Play Drunk: Uhh, yes.
Where to Play: Philly Sport and Social Club
Geeze, PSSC, is there anything you don’t offer? (No. It even offers Giant Connect 4.)

Rock Paper Scissors

Difficulty: Easy, unless you throw vertical paper—that’s an illegal throw
Can You Play Drunk: Playing drunk is mandatory, I believe.
Where to Play: Bars in Fishtown, Nolibs and Center City
Now that’s what’s up! The Pabst Blue Ribbon Philadelphia Rock Paper Scissors City League Championship Series runs in the spring, but there are generally monthly tournaments at various bars throughout Center City, South Philly and Fishtown. Check out the Facebook page for info, pray I’m not your referee.


Difficulty: Depends. How overweight are you?
Can You Play Drunk: I wouldn’t recommend it.
Where to Play: Manayunk Sport and Social Club
Dodgeball was once once a gym class staple, but it’s slowly being phased out in favor of games where kids don’t get a giant ball thrown right at their face. (Or, probably, gym is being dropped altogether due to budget cuts.) But since you’re an adult, The Man can’t tell you what to do! Go break your nose with some dodgeball.

Floor Hockey

Difficulty: Have you seen The Mighty Ducks? You can play floor hockey.
Can You Play Drunk: Probably not.
Where to Play: Manayunk Sport and Social Club
Ha ha, did you know you can play hockey without knowing how to skate? I do, because I don’t know how to roller skate. [Breaks own and sobs, takes break to compose self.] Manayunk Sport and Social offers coed floor hockey, where those of you with weak ankles or poor motor skills can run around and play hockey to your heart’s content. Look, ma, no wheels!

Touch Rugby

Difficulty: Well, rugby is hard, but touch rugby …? I don’t know. I can’t wrap my head around how touch rugby would even work. Is it at least rough touch?
Can You Play Drunk: A better question is, “Do you still have to run around the field naked after your first try in touch rugby?”
Where to Play: Manayunk Sport and Social Club

Touch football exists, so it makes sense a touch version of rugby exists even though I hadn’t considered it before. But touch anything is kind of messy for a competitive league; flag football (whether rugby football or American football) might be better. Still, this is intriguing! Somebody get back to me on that post-try celebration question.