Willie Mays made “The Catch” in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series to prevent the Cleveland Indians from scoring the go-ahead run with an incredible over-the-shoulder grab, Bobby Orr scored “The Goal” that won the Boston Bruins the Stanley Cup in 1970 as he flew through the air, celebrating, as the puck crossed the goal line, and Michael Jordan hit “The Shot” in 1989 to advance the Chicago Bulls to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Moments like these are the ones you dream of as a kid, but seldom have the chance to live out. If you’re someone who wishes you could shoot like Larry Bird or kick it like Mia Hamm, the good news is that you can still become the Jerry Rice or Jennie Finch of your flag football or softball league. You may be playing at 9 AM or 10 PM, in front of a crowd of one person that you eventually realize is just a vagrant, but you’re still living the dream. And if you’re able to score the game-winning goal, sink a big shot, or make a game-saving catch, it doesn’t matter that you’re playing in Division 7B. What matters is that in that moment you’re Pele, Candace Parker, or Wayne Gretzky.
1. The Buzzer Beater.
We were in the final regular season game. Win and we go to the playoffs, lose and you know the rest… Well, with no time left, I hit the game-winning shot. Everyone mauled me. It was amazing. To cap it all off, we won the championship. – Lee H. (Basketball)
2. There’s More To Sports Than Winning.
Um, well, our team never won a single game! But then again, we didn’t take ourselves too seriously, which is what kept it fun. In fact, our team name was “Drinkers with a Kicking Problem.” That being said, whenever I scored a run or got someone on the other team out, it felt pretty awesome. And the team camaraderie was on point! – Faye B. (Kickball)
3. Becoming A Champion.
I lace up my skates to win. It doesn’t matter if you are 10 or 40, winning a league championship is a great feeling. Our team has been lucky enough to win back-to-back championships. – Eric G. (Hockey and tennis)
4. Fulfilling A Childhood Dream.
It was always my dream to be a professional hockey player, more specifically a New York Islander. But first of all, the rude awakening was that as a female, it wasn’t happening and then more specifically, you actually needed to have some skills, which I did not possess! But the dream was always there, so doing this was the closest thing I could do to make my dream of being a hockey player come true. Hockey has been the all-time best thing that has been a part of my life. – Lynn K. (Hockey)
5. Proving Others (Sometimes Your Own Brother) Wrong.
I played in a football league in Brooklyn with my brother when I was living in New York. Since he organized the team and thinks very highly of his abilities he played quarterback, but he almost never threw me the ball so I would sulk on the sidelines after possessions like I was T.O. (Terrell Owens). Finally, one game he threw me the ball several times. I caught everything that came my way including a touchdown and had a key defensive stop at the end of the game. So, yeah, that was a pretty awesome day. – Ross K. (Football, kickball, dodgeball, and softball)
6. An Alternative To Internet Dating.
For me, this was never about the sport truthfully! I was never very athletic in high school and never had much experience with team sports. For me, this was about meeting new people I would have never met otherwise. Los Angeles can be a tough place to branch out and this felt like an easy way into making new friends or possibly new guys (let’s be honest). I think a lot of people turn to adult leagues as a way to meet people the old fashion way as opposed to Internet dating, and that’s cool! We are all about putting ourselves out there and finding an escape, even if it’s for a few hours. – Lori G. (Kickball and dodgeball)
7. Beating Your Rivals.
The best moment so far has probably been winning back-to-back championships this past year. Or winning a championship a few years ago on Long Island and beating our arch rivals in the finals. That was pretty rewarding, as well. – Adam R. (Hockey)
8. Exceeding Expectations.
Either successfully executing a human pyramid or making it to the finals as the underdogs. – Allison K. (Soccer)
9. Travel And Tournaments.
We used to do a pretty regular circuit of two tournaments a year between Vegas and Phoenix. The times we have won stand out, of course, and the heartbreak losses in the championship games do as well. But what can be great about the trips is that the social aspects of hanging out, playing golf, the team dinners and parties all rate equally to make the experiences memorable. We still quote lines from blackjack tables, golf outings, and parties. – Ian P. (Hockey)
10. Proving To Yourself You Still Have Game.
As cliché as it sounds, maybe just the overall feeling of getting back into sports initially after a break, and feeling like you’re still a bit decent. – Caitlin C. (Flag football, soccer, and basketball)
11. Scoring Goals.
Probably the best moment for me was breaking down the wing off the rush during a game, winding up my stick, and blasting a slapshot past the goalie before he knew what hit him. Further on in that game, we went to a shootout to decide the outcome, and I pulled off the exact same move to win the game. – Jesse L. (Hockey)
12. Forming Friendships.
I’d have to say the best moments so far have been the relationships that I’ve built off the field. When the most you’re playing for are T-shirts and bragging rights your on-field heroics only go so far. – Dan G. (Ultimate frisbee and softball)
13. Overcoming Injuries.
Every comeback from a knee injury (3 of them). – Jordan B. (Soccer)
14. Clutch Moments.
Winning an ice hockey championship in a shootout was my favorite team moment. My favorite personal moment was scoring two goals in the last minute of an ice hockey playoff game to tie the game. Meeting a girl I dated in kickball was cool, too. – David R. (Ice hockey, floor hockey, kickball, football, Frisbee, bowling, and dodgeball)
15. The Comeback Kings.
My favorite adult league moment was the first championship that I won with my current team. We were down three goals with nine minutes left, and then tied it up with three goals in three minutes. After surviving a 5-on-3 penalty kill at the end of regulation, we completed the comeback by scoring the championship-winning goal in overtime. It made me extremely happy and proud to be a part of a team that never gives up on each other and never quits. – Lance N.
16. Pretending You’re a Pro.
Playing hockey and soccer, the thing that excites me the most is scoring goals and sometimes imagining I was a pro scoring in front of a crowd! – Peter K. (Hockey and soccer)
17. We Are The Champions.
I was asked to fill in a few games in a city league when I was living there. That fill in spot turned into a full-time position. We were predicted to finish last and not make it out of the playoffs. We went to the finals versus the team that was sponsored by the rink. We only had seven guys and were being outplayed the whole game. I must have seen around 50 plus shots. They were playing with a full 18-guy roster. But somehow, we pulled it off and won 3-2. The other team was undefeated all season and our 7 guys did it. There was a full trophy presentation, pictures, and drinking out of the cup in the locker room. It was a lot of fun. – Drew B. (Hockey)