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playing sports: for competition or fun

for some athletes winning is everything. for other athletes it is a mental bonus.

For some athletes, winning is the key to enjoying team sports; they put all their energy into beating the competition. However, winning isn’t the only reason to play team sports, or even the top reason — at least according to kids. In fact, when asked to rank 81 “fun factors” (reasons team sports are fun) by order of importance, youth participants of a 2014 survey ranked winning at number 48. They cited winning as more of a “mental bonus” than a reason to play. It fell far behind top factors like “being active” and “playing well as a team.” 

At eseo, we believe that no matter why you play the game, you deserve the resources to connect with like-minded players in your community. Whether you’re playing to maintain physical fitness, make social connections or achieve hard-won victories, we’re right behind you. Keep reading to learn how playing sports for competition or fun benefits adults in a variety of ways.

Playing Sports for Competition

There’s nothing wrong with being a goal-driven athlete focused on winning. In fact, research indicates that high levels of competition may encourage athletes to put forth more effort and respond more quickly to events. In essence, fierce competition can bring out the best in players who aren’t sufficiently motivated by recreational games. 

Competitive Adult Sports

If you get the most out of competitive sports, Philadelphia has plenty of competitive leagues to push you to the next level in every top sport. 

Heyday Athletic Adult Basketball League — an adult sports organization offering competitive leagues for coeds, men and women. 

United Soccer League — an elite amateur soccer league for adults interested in exclusive, competitive team play. 

Casa Soccer League — a high-quality, competitive soccer league for adults of all genders, as well as the largest independent amateur soccer league in the region. 

UMPR Philadelphia Flag Football — a competitive adult flag football league that includes season games, playoffs and tournaments. 

Philadelphia Sports Club — an all-ages athletic club that organizes a six-on-six competitive volleyball league. 

Heyday Athletic Adult Volleyball League — an adult sports organization that offers recreational and competitive coed teams. 

Philadelphia Runner Track Club — an elite running club for Philadelphia’s post-collegiate runners who are pursuing personal bests, team championships and olympic dreams. 

Best Parts of Adult Competitive Sports

Competitive team sports offer more than just the chance to win a championship; they provide numerous physical, psychological and scholastic benefits as well. Research indicates that adult team sports can boost the following: 

  • Self-confidence
  • Resilience
  • Self-awareness
  • Discipline
  • Emotional regulation
  • Time management skills

Additionally, playing competitive team sports may decrease anxiety, stress and depression levels. Team sports also encourage players to stick to goals, trust others, ask for help and put winning and losing into perspective. 

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Playing Sports for Fun

While some people thrive in competitive team sports, other athletes flounder. When it comes to competitive vs. non-competitive sports, there’s no right answer. There are plenty of opportunities and benefits to both. 

Fun Adult Sports

Interested in playing sports for fun? Luckily, Philadelphia offers a multitude of fun adult sports opportunities for people who prefer recreation over competition. 

Sedgley Woods Disc Golf — one of the oldest permanent disc golf courses in the world, offering 27 holes through beautiful Fairmount Park. 


Golden Fist Martial Arts — an all-ages dojo that offers a variety of martial arts, including karate, jiu-jitsu and judo, as well as kickboxing, mixed martial arts training and self-defense classes. 

Middletown Archery — a Philadelphia archery club that offers open-shooting, lessons, camps and a weekly target league. 

Philly Runners — a laid-back, year-round running club open to runners of all ages, genders and abilities. 

Philadelphia Rock Gyms — a network of indoor rock-climbing gyms that provide a fun and challenging environment for climbers of all ages. 

Rizzo Rink — an indoor ice skating rink that provides skaters of all ages with public skating and hockey opportunities. 

Benefits of Playing Sports as an Adult

There are many benefits of playing sports as an adult. Playing sports — at both the competitive and non-competitive level — can greatly increase quality of life, especially in older adults. Playing sports as an adult provides meaningful social connection, engaging physical activity, an opportunity to attain goals and even travel. Playing sports as an adult can also reduce the risk of heart disease, improve cognitive functioning and may even ward off some cancers. 

Find Sports Games Near Me

Too many adults leave sports in their adolescence, adopting non-physical hobbies as they age. Although hobbies of all kinds offer benefits, playing sports can be an especially healthy pastime for people as they age. At eseo, we know that playing sports for competition or fun benefits people of every age tremendously. Whether you’re a competitive player, recreational player, sports fan or coach, eseo can provide you with the resources you need to keep playing the game. 

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for some athletes winning is everything. for other athletes it is a mental bonus.