Sports and recreation is the soul of summer's simple pleasures. The great weather and the great outdoors go together like peanut butter and jelly, Spencer and Heidi, Varsity hot dogs and heartburn. Well, you get the idea. It's the smell of freshly cut grass at Turner Field on a Saturday afternoon, working up a sweat playing Frisbee at Piedmont Park, or making fun of Bill in Marketing for his inability to dribble a basketball in your company hoops league.
Summer fun involves being active. That may be as simple as cheering on your favorite ball club in its pursuit of another pennant. (Or failure to even sniff first place in the division despite major offseason moves.) It could also mean finding a new hobby, recreational league, or place to earn your first sunburn of the season.
BRAVES BASEBALL The summer seems to be the best time to catch Atlanta's professional baseball franchise since the prospects of playing deep into October appear to be slim to none. Nonetheless, the Braves are the original way to blow an afternoon. Between May and August, the Braves host 53 home games for your viewing pleasure at Turner Field. Highlights include visits from American League superpowers the Yankees June 23-25 and the Boston Red Sox June 26-28. braves.com.
FRISBEE GOLF If you're on the cutting edge of hybrid sports, this is likely at the top of your list. Javelin Basketball, not so much. There are several courses around the metro-Atlanta area for the Frisbee Golf enthusiast. Most of them, sadly, are located outside of Fulton County. For a complete list and course information, check out discgolfatlanta.com.
JOGGING However you work on your fitness, jogging seems to be the international standard for healthy living. With National Running Day (June 3) just around the corner, consider running a 5K like the Altanta's Finest 5K run/walk on May 16. The kids can get involved with AJC Peachtree Jr. on May 30. If you're just looking to find a nice running trail or a group other runners, check out the Atlanta Track Club website for helpful hints. atlantatrackclub.org.
KICKBALL Sure, you probably haven't played kickball since you were dating Suzie Johnson in the sixth grade, when holding hands counted as second base. But now, kickball's not just a sport — it's a phenomenon. Adults across the city partake in the splendor of the World Adult Kickball Association (kickball.com) or Go Kickball (gokickball.com) as a way to drink socially and appear to be doing something athletic all at the same time. And don't worry, Suzie's still there. She's just 35 and an accountant now.
REAL GOLF Yes, the sport of both kings and common upper-middle class men thrives in Georgia as it does in every other part of the country. There are several options inside the Perimeter for hitting the links. Bobby Jones Golf Course (384 Woodward Way, 404-355-1009, www.bobbyjones.americangolf.com) offers 18 holes and is open to the public, while beginners may enjoy something smaller like the Candler Park Golf Course (585 Candler Park Drive, 404-371-1260, candlerpark.americangolf.com), which has nine holes and less pressure.
ROCK CLIMBING We've always wanted to re-enact the scene from Cliffhanger where Sylvester Stallone can't save Michael Rooker's girlfriend. He's holding. He's snarling. But he just can't reel her in. It might not be as dramatic at a place like Atlanta Rocks! Intown, but it can be just as fun. The intown location holds 50 top-rope stations with three climbing routes per rope, and difficulty ranging from beginner to Spider-Man. 1019 Collier Road, Suite A. 404-351-3009. www.atlantarocks.com.
SOFTBALL If you take more pleasure in playing the game than sitting through one at Turner Field, Atlanta has softball for the masses. The Hotlanta Softball League (hotlantasoftball.org) has teams playing now through June for the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance. Also visit metroatlantasoftball.com for a list of tournaments and teams coming to our area this summer.
ULTIMATE FRISBEE This sport has the same feel as kickball, but with a heavy dose of real athleticism. Play with your friends down at Piedmont Park or join a league such as the Atlanta Flying Disc Club, who is holding registration this month. afdc.com.