Baltimore Social leagues started as a way to get together with friends, play some bocce or skeeball and grab a drink or a bite to eat to catch up afterward. As city dwellers know from all of the groups in matching T-shirts walking around, however, the leagues have grown to feature multiple sports in multiple cities. And at the same time, fouder Giovanni Marcantoni and his team have gotten organizing friendly sports down to a science. So as Marcantoni considered how to address a need for more youth leagues in Baltimore City, he eventually realized that he was already in a place to do so.
The result is a new nonprofit called Bmore Kids Sports. The organization launched its first league, a flag football league just as summer began for many kids last week at Herring Run Recreation Center. The flag football will continue on Tuesday nights for seven weeks throughout the summer. In the future, Marcantoni said he hopes to add other sports like kickball, soccer and even sailing.
The new league brings in many of the same elements as the adult leagues, with team T-shirts, no barrier to entry based on skills or gender and a general emphasis more on getting active and meeting other kids, and less on competition. The program will also have a social element where the team meets at a restaurant afterward. One key difference, of course, will be the absence of beer.
There’s also some connection between the two leagues, as Baltimore Social is offering a way for participants in the adult leagues to sponsor kids in the youth leagues. Additional donations from local businesses are keeping it free for the kids.
At the first event in Herring Run, kids played outside until a lightning crack moved the proceedings indoors to the gym. Councilman Brandon Scott showed up to help coach, and noted that police officers and firefighters were also serving as coaches. While Marcantoni said having the first responders coach helped on the organizing side because the first responders because they already the background checks required to work with kids, Scott noted that it can help kids interact with police officers on a positive level.
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