Which sports are the most fun to play?

As a competitive distance runner, I train year-round, taking off only two two-week breaks the whole year. But amidst all of that training, I haven’t outgrown my love for playing sports like basketball and flag football. Not only are sports a fantastic opportunity to exercise, but they’re also immensely enjoyable to play, whether by yourself or with friends.

In my years as an athlete and P.E. student, I’ve tried my hands (and feet) at a whole lot of sports, from basketball and soccer to fencing (yes, I did a season of fencing) and lacrosse (for one whole week). I still play many of these sports as an excursion from the rush of everyday life, but not all sports are created equal in my eyes. This subjective ranking is based on how enjoyable each sport is as a recreational activity in my eyes. Hut, hut hike!

 

Before I reveal my ten favorite sports to play for fun, I want to touch on some of the notable sports that didn’t make the cut.

    • Soccer- Soccer is the most common sport that I hate to play. Even after all these years and multiple seasons playing in elementary school, I think I have an aversion to the ball. On the flip side, I enjoy foosball.
    • Ultimate Frisbee– I see Ultimate Frisbee as the most overrated sport. Throwing the frisbee is enjoyable once you learn the tricks, but I’ve never come away from a frisbee game feeling satisfied.
    • Swimming- I competed on the swim team for two summers in elementary school and have a couple 46th place ribbons to show for it. Hard to justify as an enjoyable activity to do with others, but the swimming pool is entertaining.
    • Skiing- I tried skiing once, and though I eventually figured it out, I was a hazard on the course.
    • Fencing- I gave fencing a try one winter and came away disappointed, but that’s what happens when you base your expectations of lightsaber battles from Star Wars.

 

  • 10) Distance Running

I’ve had a lot of experience running distance, so I know firsthand the refreshing value of a road run solo or with teammates. Whether you’re running along a canal or across a city, running can be an enjoyable activity, as long as you’re in shape.

Skill Level: Expert

 

 

 

  • 9) Bowling

The classic birthday party sport, bowling doesn’t take that much skill to start and is enjoyable for even beginners. Plus, getting spares and strikes and dishing out high fives is pretty sweet.

Skill Level: Novice

 

  • 8) Volleyball

I’ve never played competitive volleyball, but almost every time I play it in P.E. or with friends, I’m surprised at how engaged I am. It’s hard to think of something in sports more satisfying than a vicious spike.

Skill Level: Novice

 

  • 7) Mini-Golf

Disclaimer: I’ve never played real golf, so I’ll talk about its junior. I play in an annual mini-golf tournament with all of the guys in my grade on my cross country team and even though I’ve never won, it’s one of the highlights of my season. The courses are always nice, and scoring a hole-in-one is super exciting.

Skill Level: Intermediate

 

  • 6) Badminton

I have fond memories of playing badminton up at my grandparents’ house. I still play occasionally and always have a good time. Badminton also gets bonus points for it’s object’s name- the shuttlecock.

Skill Level: Intermediate

 

  • 5) Tennis

I just learned how to play tennis a couple years ago and I’ve gotten better each time I’ve played. It’s the best summer sport to play, especially at the beach or the court near my house, and it is so satisfying to smash the tennis ball with the racket.

Skill Level: Intermediate

 

 

  • 4) Baseball

I only played one season of rec baseball, so my version of baseball is more modeled after the movie The Sandlot and full of home run derby-type games. Kickball is a popular playground version of this game that retains the fun element.

Skill Level: Intermediate

 

  • 3) Flag Football

Flag football is one of the sports I loved as a player, with seven seasons under my belt (pun intended). While I don’t play in a league anymore, on one Sunday every February, I have an awesome flag football game a couple hours before the Super Bowl with my friends. Quarterback is my favorite position to play in sports and everyone underestimates my rocket right arm. The downside is that flag football can get tedious if the ball isn’t spread around or if the quarterback holds onto the ball too long.

Skill Level: Expert

 

 

  • 2) Dodgeball

Some may not consider dodgeball a real sport, but I do, and I love it. It’s a team sport, but you fully control your destiny because it’s only your fault if you’re hit. Everyone can do well- the fireball throwers, the players with sticky hands, and the everyday kid who just dodges. My favorite dodgeball memory was my diving catch that gave my “DodgeBhallas Alpha” team the championship title in my church tournament.

Skill Level: Expert

 

  • 1) Basketball

 

When James Naismith nailed the peach basket to the gym wall to invent the game we know today as basketball, he brought to the world the ultimate recreational activity. Shooting baskets is one of the most universally enjoyable activities, one you can do by yourself for hours, but that’s just the start. You can play on a regulation hoop, on your door frame, in a pool, or even with a trash can. Plus, if a 3-on-3 game or 5-on-5 game isn’t your thing, you can play one of the many spinoff games like knockout, H-O-R-S-E, the three-point shootout, or the dunk contest. It’s a slam dunk pick for the best sport to play.

Skill Level: Expert

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