Has there ever been a better pairing than sports and beer? Granted, overindulging in the latter while taking part in the unrelenting physical exertion of the former tends to backfire, which is why Paddy’s has created a safe space for fans of both to meet and perhaps kindle a life-long Beijing passion. That can only mean one thing: the return of their annual Sports Team Sign-Up bonanza this Friday, Aug 30, sponsored once again by yours truly, the Beijinger.
The event will be attended by over 10 of the city’s biggest sports teams, tempting you with their camaraderie and promises of an improved physique via football, rugby, running, ice hockey, fencing, Gaelic football, cricket, handball, bike polo, volleyball, and darts (OK, no one ever lost a gut playing darts.)
Each team will man an outdoor booth, where members will chat to anybody interested about their respective sports, teams, details of their practice and league schedules, and most will also have some merch on hand so that you can swear allegiance before the crushing hangover kicks in on Saturday morning and you regret everything.
Even if you’re not really a sports fan, the Paddy’s teams are a friendly bunch and organize social events throughout the year on the side (parties, games, scavenger hunts, pub crawls, etc.), meaning you can always join a club as a social member, purely to have fun, meet new people, and enjoy the team spirit!
Best of all, Paddy’s sponsors and acts as home base for each team in attendance, providing superlative discounts on food and drink once all the winning is over.
If you’re not already sold, continue reading for a more detailed look at a few of the clubs that you stand to meet come Friday (descriptions courtesy of each club):
Hash House Harriers (“A drinking club with a running problem”)
Originally established as a club in 1938, in what is today known as Malaysia, the Hash House Harriers (aka HHH, H3, Hashers) spread to Beijing in 1979, and are a friendly, social, non-competitive, beer-motivated running club and part of an international network of about 2,000 local chapters on all seven continents.
The Beijing Ducks Cricket Club
The Beijing Ducks Cricket Club was established in 2016 as Beijing’s premier social cricket team. The Duck’s arrival on China’s social cricket scene was nothing short of spectacular, winning the 2016 Sean Connery Shield of Dreams at the coveted Nanjing Rural Sixes. Expectations were high leading up to the prestigious Beijing Sixes later that year. Now a regular in the Beijing Cricket Club league, “Beijing’s most social cricket team’s” form has been patchy, to say the least. They are however consistent in some aspects – the love of the game and cold beer.
Beijing Celtic Football Club (Men and Women)
Beijing Celtics club was founded in 2002 and play as part of the International Friendly Football Club (IFFC) league, and are always looking for new members to play some football and be part of the Beijing Celtic community.
The Aardvarks Rugby Club (Men and Women)
The Aardvarks are Beijing’s largest (and best) rugby club, made up of a men’s and a women’s team with a wide range of players from all over the world. The team is all about meeting new friends, playing good rugby, having fun socializing, and are open to players of all levels; from experienced through to people just keen to make friends and learn a new sport.
The Megatons Darts Club
Since their founding in 2013, the Megatons have won the Beijing league twice, and pride themselves on being open to everyone!
Images: New York Times, Paddy O’Shea’s