Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 6:08 PM on Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Team sports: wholesome fun for body and mind

By Lindsay Johnson
Staff Writer

Editor's note: This is the sixth in a series of stories aimed at providing tips and encouraging southern Kenai Peninsula residents to improve and maintain their physical well-being during the darkest part of the year.


Lindsay Johnson

Every person is different, but all people have the same essential requirements for health. According to the late American psychologist Abraham Maslow, the most basic are physiological needs, such as eating, sleeping and breathing. Safety and social needs come next, followed by esteem and self-actualization. Exercise falls naturally into the physiological and safety categories, and easily transfers up the triangle.

Team sports, such as soccer, hockey, basketball and broomball, help develop healthy life skills. Playing sports is a fun way to exercise your body, brain and social skills.

"It's good for me because I'm usually doing individual sports," Josiah Pisel said of his time at indoor soccer. Pisel said he likes the community aspect of team sports as well as the exercise.

It doesn't matter how good you are as long as you're up for moving around and having a good time. When you're playing with a team, you automatically have a support group to learn from, encourage and challenge you.

Team sports build physical and mental toughness, trust and friendships. They teach sportsmanship, teamwork and work ethic. They enable us to reach goals, which improves self-esteem.

Sports span generations; they are a great way for families to be together and something people can do throughout their lives. The number of participants at community recreation games swells during school holidays as kids return from college, and it's not uncommon to see high school freshmen playing alongside people who could be their grandparents.

Team sports are adaptable to nearly every location, season and player. Though you don't need a gym to play, it can be easier.

Three traditional team sports are offered through City of Homer Community Recreation. Basketball, soccer and volleyball each have gym time at least twice weekly, where people with wide-ranging ages and abilities come to get in some entertainment and exercise. Games evolve based on the skill levels and number of participants.

At the ice arena, hockey and broomball teams are growing as people find out how much fun the games are.

Softball, frisbee, football, kickball and tennis are good team options, though they're not as common during winter. Almost any exercise can be done with others.

If your schedule or preference don't fit with established team activities, or if you want more play time, consider starting your own game.

If you have a skill and a desire to share it, consider starting a program through Community Recreation. Maybe others are interested in it, too.

Achieve self-actualiztion. Get out, use your body and have fun with your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers. Remember: Together, Everyone Achieves More.

Where, what, when:

Times vary; be flexible and/or call ahead

Volleyball at Homer Middle School

Tuesday 7:30 p.m., beginners welcome

Thursday 7:30 p.m., intermediate/advanced

"It's a fun way to get exercise and there are a lot of really nice people here,' said Rand Seaton, who plays Community Recreation volleyball and soccer.

Beginners are truly welcome; experienced players are good about offering tips.The volleyballers play on a men's height net with high school rules. They play the "old fashioned way," where players rotate through positions instead of having one specific place on the floor. Games go to 25 points, where every mistake earns a point.

Basketball at Homer High School

Tuesday, Thursday 8 p.m.

Monday night city league

"I just come here for exercise and fun," said Wil Roedl, while waiting for the gym to open for basketball last week.

Evening basketball is a great chance to run and shoot a lot. When there's interest, early bird basketball happens at 6:15 a.m. three days a week at the middle school. Games usually play to 15 points, with one point for basket and two points for shots from behind the three-point line. Sportsmanship is a must and enforced by players. Women and high schoolers are welcome. City league games are held Mondays. The season is well underway, but it's not too early to get a team together for next year.

Indoor soccer at Homer High School

Sunday 5:30 p.m. and Wednesday 8 p.m.

"Even though we live in such a seasonally disadvantaged place to play soccer, it's nice to come indoors and just be able to play a sport that's been with me all my life," said Kurtis Schoenburg.

A wide range of ages and abilities show up for soccer. Games usually go for a set period of time and teams take turns playing, depending on the number of participants.

Hockey at Kevin Bell Arena

Women's (Divas) Tuesday, Thursday 8 p.m. and Sunday 5:15 p.m.

Any lady over 18 is eligible to join the Divas. "You do not need to know anything about hockey, or even how to skate, to play with us," states the team's website. "Our team is all about getting a good workout, learning the basics of the game, and most importantly, having lots of fun."

Men's League Tuesday, Thursday 9:15 p.m.

"It's a great workout, super fun," said Andy Kita, who plays Men's League.

Boys over 21 play pick-up hockey two days a week and occasionally compete with other teams. You need to have your own gear and register with U.S.A. Hockey.

Wednesdays and Fridays, noon

Noon hockey is informal hockey for men and women. Adult skills and drills on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. is also open to both. Other co-ed drop in games come up as ice time is available.

Broomball at Kevin Bell Arena

Wednesday at 9:15 p.m. open to anyone

Friday at 6:45 or 8 or 9:30 p.m. games

Three 15-person broomball teams play games on Friday nights; another 6-8 players are needed to make a fourth team. Wednesday is a chance for everyone to play together and for new people to try the sport, which is kind of a cross between hockey and lacrosse. First-time players get in for free and can borrow shoes, a helmet and a stick.

"It's a great way of meeting and socializing with people in Homer," said Brandon Grochow, one of the broomball organizers.

Lindsay Johnson can be reached at lindsay.johnson@homernews.com.