Creating a Sense of Community Coherence through the World of Sports
When most people think of the benefits of sports, we might think about the health benefits that come with exercise or the importance of providing a healthy and safe extracurricular activity for young people in marginalized and vulnerable settings. While both of these benefits of sports are certainly true, what we often fail to notice is that sports are a social activity that brings people together. Unless you are into playing billiards (pool), almost all sports are team activities requiring a diverse group of people to come together and share in a common objective and enjoyment.
Creating spaces for community involvement in sports, then, is a great strategy for deepening a sense of community coherence and belonging while simultaneously enhancing personal wellbeing and building solid social capital.
The Idea of ZogSports DC
ZogSports DC/ZogSports is a social sports organization that offers individuals the chance to play for a cause. It is one of America’s most popular social sports communities, has over 120,000 players across the country, and is responsible for creating millions of new friendships every year.
Created by Robert Herzog back in 2001, the organization sought to bring “like-minded people together to have fun, give back and create community.” The organization focused on social, team sports as a method to bring people together. All too often in our work-driven, hectic lives, many people simply don’t set apart time for extracurricular activities that allow them to get to know others and participate in the lives of their communities. Social sports, then, allow people in several cities across the country to share their love for sports while also contributing to different, local charities.
Community and Society Benefits of Social Sports
While participation in social sports is certainly a great source of needed exercise, it is also an opportunity to create connections, communication, and trust with your neighbors. A deepening sense of trust allows communities to come together to fight for shared objectives and the common good.
Furthermore, the fun that comes with playing together creates a deeper sense of appreciation for one’s neighbors and a meaningful sense of belonging to a certain community. According to Baumeister & Leary in their 1995 paper, “a sense of belonging is not just a trivial benefit, but a fundamental building block for thriving individuals and communities.”
Lastly, social sports are an important element of “bridging” social capital which forces people out of their comfort zones. By creating a fun and interactive space where strangers can interact and share in a common activity and goal, this creates the social capital which can stimulate further community and economic growth.
ZogSports DC is important in the DC community and plays a fundamental role in helping to strengthen our mutual sense of community belonging. A quote from a player, “Zog has given me a place where I feel like I am a part of something bigger and gives me a purpose whenever I out and enjoy the games.”
If you want to learn more or join a league, use code “sozeal10” to get $10 off new players!