Erica Duncan, director of the affiliated Kansas City Sport and Social Club, says that the club is about more than just sports -- it's a way for young professionals to create a more balanced life. The club's weekly excursions into Kansas City's nightlife make it a fraternity for young professionals in the Kansas City area and a Welcome Wagon of sorts for those new to town.
"We're more of a social club. The leagues are our bread and butter, but our goal is to make everything more social, build a camaraderie," Duncan says, adding that the club does a lot for its participants. "On a personal level, it provides a youthfulness. You know, we go to our 9 to 5 jobs, and then we can get out of that and go play, feel younger, and have fun."
And summer should be a time to enjoy being outside, meeting new friends, playing in the sand, and, of course, drinking. Josh Rohr, co-director, moved here last summer from Manhattan, Kan., and sees the club as a way to get to know people. "It's an outlet for someone just moving to the city to stay active, on the court and the bars," he says. "My experience so far is that there's not any one thing for young people to do here, but we have it all -- sports, parties, we cover all the bases."
Summer leagues begin July 5. Events include softball, sand volleyball, tennis, outdoor soccer, billiards, disc golf, and men's basketball. All events are co-ed except, of course, men's basketball. And this year, the Kansas City folk are offering something new for the young professionals ready to ditch their workwear -- kickball. "Josh is great at new ideas. He really pushed to have kickball," Duncan says.
"I played kickball when I was little. It's great because all you need is a big, bouncy ball and people, and you've got a game," Rohr says.
Duncan adds, "It's the kind of game that tugs at people's hearts. Plus, we do crazy thing like run the bases in reverse -- you know, implement our own rules to take out some of the competitiveness of it."
But what could be better than the World's Largest Happy Hour, at the Westport Beach Club (4050 Pennsylvania) on Friday, June 16, from 6 to 10 p.m.? The Hawaiian-themed happy hour will be taking place in 20 cities with 20 city sport clubs. "We're just really trying to make it fun," says Duncan. "We have prizes from Budweiser and other corporate sponsors. It should be a blast."
The sports club actually isn't all fun and games. It's linked to Take Action!, the nonprofit network of Sport and Social Clubs of the U.S. It gives local and national nonprofit organizations volunteer support and donates money to area youth groups, schools, city parks, and other programs.
As with any club, there are fees: Annual membership is $40, but Duncan and Rohr think the perks that come with being a member are worth the fee. The perks include Fresh Tracks CDs -- a compilation of the summer's hottest new music -- $25 off national trips, discounts on happy hours and special events, national affiliation with 20 cities, priority announcements on leagues, happy hours, a national membership T-shirt, and an ID card.
If you're a young professional searching for summer fun and happy-hour extravaganzas, call the Kansas City Sport and Social Club at 816-743-7771 or visit www.sportandsocial.net.