Amateur Sports: Using Sports as a Social Glue

Marketing and Sponsorship Coordinator Amanda Woit participates in four PSSC sports in addition to her off-the-field duties.
Marketing and Sponsorship Coordinator Amanda Woit participates in four PSSC sports in addition to her off-the-field duties.

Philly Sport and Social Club is one of the largest adult co-ed sport social clubs in the area with more than 20,000 members. The club has been bringing men and women in the city together, through recreational games, for 22 years.

PSSC works with the Sport and Social Industry Association, which is affiliated with approximately 60 other social sport clubs across the U.S. and in Canada. PSSC offers 11 different sports members can choose to compete in including basketball, cornhole (also known as bean bag toss), bocce, dodgeball, floor hockey, men’s flag football, co-ed football, kickball, soccer, softball and volleyball. Members are also free to participate in several social events throughout the year ranging from tailgate parties to pub crawls.

Amanda Woit is originally from Wisconsin and currently works at PSSC as the Marketing and Sponsorship Manager. She competes in the club’s co-ed touch football league and loves to play quarterback. Woit spoke about some of the events the company she has been at for the past few months hosts, as well as the wonderful initiatives the club has become involved with.

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Woit believes that one of the great things about PSSC is that while people get to compete in various recreational sports against one another, the social part is just as important.

“We’re sports but we’re also that social entity,” she said. “Sport is a social glue that brings people together and keeps them together.”

Eric Long has been the director of operations at PSSC for the past six years. He participates in and officiates games for many of the club’s leagues and echoed Woit about the importance of the social aspect through sports.

“When you can get in front of people who have a common interest, it creates an opening for great conversation and new friendships,” Long said.

The club’s next big social affair Woit mentioned is the annual costume bar crawl that will be held in Conshohocken tomorrow.

“It’s a get-together where you put on some costumes, hangout, have a good time for the night with dancing, drinks, fun, meeting people and getting to know some new friends,” she said.

The sport and social club also focuses on helping others through its yearly themed tournaments. Last year, members who participated in the annual Cranberry Bowl were asked to bring with them can goods that went to the food bank and relief organization Philabundance.

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League Manager Garrett Wilkins speaks with two referees

“We raised over 400 pounds of food,” said league manager Garrett Wilkins.

This year, the Cranberry Bowl football tournament will be held on Saturday, November 22. Several other tournaments and get-togethers will also take place in the upcoming calendar year including charity events during the summer months in both Sea Isle City and Avalon, New Jersey.

Woit talked about other ways PSSC has given back to the community by replacing soccer, hockey and basketball nets at regional youth fields and playgrounds in Philadelphia. The club has also donated basketball hoops to East Poplar playground as well as to the Edward O’Malley Athletic Association.

“Really what that is, is to get those kids outside and motivate them to keep doing what they’re doing by playing outside and being active,” she explained.

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Bar crawls and volunteer work contribute to the social aspect behind PSSC

Another big part of what Woit said the club does is maintaining and leaving the fields and recreation centers the leagues use better than the way it found them. PSSC Chief Operating Officer Dan Feeney confirmed that the club spends more than $250,000 a year on field and gym space and works together with the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation to keep the natural landscape in beautiful shape. In addition to lining and cleaning the fields before and after competitions, social club employees take the initiative to cut the grass for the city and plant additional trees at various locations.

Woit said that PSSC has around 60 fall leagues operating throughout the Greater Philadelphia area and the club is looking to branch out even further into other parts of the city.

“I would love to expand to Northeast Philly,” the club’s CEO Tim Horan said.

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CEO Tim Horan and the rest of the PSSC crew are always looking for new playing locations across the Philadelphia area

Woit noted that the winter leagues start in November and typically run 6 to 8 weeks, counting the playoffs and championship game. Registration is now open for those leagues. There is a registration fee for each league you sign up for, but no annual membership or club fee. All members will receive T-shirts, as well as giveaways and coupons from club sponsors Chipotle, American Honey and Kind bars, Woit said.

If you would like more information about the club you can visit PSSC’s website at www.playphillysports.com or call (215) 483-9340. You can also follow the club on Twitter @PhillySSC.

– Text, images, and video by Stephen Pileggi and Michelle Kapusta.