Run. Jump. Dive. (Ice pack.) Repeat.

Participants in adult sports leagues get to play in the city’s premier parks— ranked tops in SoCal

by Tomoya Shimura

Feel like shaking up your routine with a little outdoor fun and exercise?

Look no further than your nearby Irvine parks and recreational facilities, where the city offers an array of organized adult sports leagues.

Thousands of residents participate in these leagues to feel the excitement of competition, stay in shape and make new friends. It brings more joy to life,” said Brynn McCulloch, who’s competed in Irvine’s adult softball league for the past 14 years.

McCulloch initially joined a co-ed team called the Misprnts (with an intentional typo) by putting her name on a free agent list. She has since become friends with her teammates, hanging out at local restaurants after games and going on an annual team outing to an Angels game.

“I do like playing softball, but I like coming out and hanging out with the team and just getting away from work and out of the house and having fun and goofing around and acting like you are a kid again.”

Irvine’s adult sports leagues began with just softball in the late 1970s, said the city’s community services supervisor, Collum McLaughlin.

The leagues have since expanded to include basketball, soccer and tennis, with various skill level divisions in each sport, held at parks and school gyms across the city. Some participants are former varsity level athletes while others have little sports experience.

Usually, more than 100 teams sign up per season in each sport, McLaughlin said.

It helps that these leagues offer access to Irvine’s premier sporting amenities, which are part of the park system rated the best in Southern California by Trust for Public Land.

Irvine has 63 regional, community and neighborhood parks, in addition to 200 village parks. On average, Irvine residents live just 430 feet from the nearest park, compared to 1,600 feet on average for all other Orange County residents.

“They have lots of great facilities all over Irvine,” McCulloch said. “It’s a really good adult league compared to the city that I grew up in — far superior.”

This fall, new adult beach volleyball leagues will start at the Orange County Great Park and pickleball leagues at the developing Portola Springs Community Park.

To sign up for Irvine’s adult sports leagues, call 949-724-6600 or visit CityofIrvine.org/Athletics-Sports/adult-sports-leagues.