written by: Eric Peterson
photo by: Adam Finkle
Match up has two meanings at Beehive Sport Club.
When Mitch Felkel relocated from California to Utah two years ago he knew but one Utahn, but figured by joining an adult sport league, he would quickly make friends.
Felkel signed up for the Beehive Sport and Social Club’s summer softball league and was surprised when Beehive founder Dave Marquardt personally contacted him. Marquardt asked if Felkel would mind being put on a team of all “free-agents”—newcomers like Felkel who had signed up as individuals, not as part of a group. In two years, the team of transplants has become an inseparable group of friends who still play as a team every season. Felkel is now Beehive’s acting league commissioner.
“I’m truly a product of the whole Beehive Sport experience,” Felkel says. “I was one of those people looking for a channel to be active and meet other people.”
The Beehive Sport and Social Club, started in 2011 as Utah’s first adult co-ed sport and social league, is going stronger than ever. Spring 2016 season hosted 1,300 players and the summer league is expected to have 1,500. The summer league hosts kickball, Ultimate Frisbee, softball, cornhole and soccer. In winter, indoor basketball and volleyball are popular. But the most popular in any season are somewhat less-athletic events like pub crawls.
This clearly isn’t about extreme sports: “Generally Beehive is 80 percent about meeting people and having fun and 20 percent playing sports and being competitive,” Felkel says. The games have referees, score-keeping and playoffs, but the overarching emphasis is fun. Teams will often get extra points for challenges like answering trivia questions or dressing up like cowboys or cowgirls for their games. And each league has a home bar where teams socialize after their matches, where they bask in the glow of post-game camaraderie.
Michael Hubbard, on the sand volleyball for team “I’d Hit That,” summed up in one word what brought him to join the league: “Divorce. I lost my social network and a friend told me about this. Now my social network has been rebuilt. Cornhole, volleyball, softball—two or three nights a week, I’m out doing something.”
“The LDS community has its social network, and then you’ve got the college kids,” Hubbard says. “I think this fills in a void for all of us who don’t fall into those two categories.”
For more information on Beehive Sport and Social Club. 801-391-4888, email@example.com,