With fall comes sports try outs. Making a team isn’t just something reserved for kids and teens, though. These four team sports welcome women with zero or minimal experience—one may even get you to the Olympics.
Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby: Depending on your age, you either associate roller derby with tough bombshell Raquel Welch in the 1972 movie Kansas City Bomber, or a defiant Millenial Ellen Page in 2009’s Whip It. No matter your age, if you prefer racing around the roller rink to anything resembling Xanadu, then roller derby might be for you. It’s one of the fastest-growing women’s amateur sports leagues nationwide. Fifty-nine percent of skaters are 25 to 34 years old, 30 percent have children under 18, and 24 percent have graduate degrees, according to a survey by the Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Association (WFTDA).
Requirements: No previous team experience necessary, but the WFTDA requires participants meet a list of skating criteria and pass a written test to try out for one of the 260 member leagues and 96 apprentice leagues worldwide. To find a league near you, visit www.wftda.org.
Hockey: Instead of being a hockey mom freezing your buttucka in the stands, get behind the glass and onto the ice.
Requirements: You’ll need to know how to skate, so if you don’t, hockey skating lessons are the first order of business. But you didn’t necessarily have to grow up playing hockey. USA Hockey, the sport’s main amateur governing body, has a Women’s-Beginner level that’s made up of entry level adult players age 21 or older. Through its Adult First Goal program USA Hockey is trying to get new adult players interested in the game. Visit Adult Hockey Association Women’s League to find a team in your area.
Rowing: If you love a tough work out with a view, there’s no better sport than crew. You might even catch a beautiful sunrise or sunset with your rowing team—made up of either four or eight rowers and one coxsain—as it glides across the river. With so many scenic rivers and waterways in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, you’re likely not far from some great rowing sites.
Requirements: You don’t need to be an alumnus of Harvard or Yale to make an adult amateur crew team. You do have to know how to swim though: a lifeguard needs to certify you can swim 100 yards, and stay afloat for five minutes. Some 1,100 rowing clubs nationwide, through USRowing.org, offer Discover Rowing programs that include basic safety and erg instructions and lessons on carrying and handling the boat, known as a skull.
Curling: Strategy, patience, and accuracy more your speed? Curling, often called “chess on ice,” may be a medieval Scottish sport where teams sweep a polished granite stone to a target, but since its Winter Olympic debut in 1998, it’s become popular with adults looking for a team sport. At the last Winter Olympics, the average age for a U.S. curler was 34 years, with Ann Swisshelm the oldest American curler at age 45.
Requirements: A good attitude and love of the sport is your only requirement. At least 40 states have curling clubs, through USA Curling, and many offer open houses, usually from September to April (when the season ends) where you can try the sport and play a short game for a nominal fee.