Youthful enthusiasm defines Denver summers. Something about finding excuses not to go outside and an overabundance of outdoor recreation space creates a gravitational pull towards social and mildly completive activities. By design, the lack mosquitoes, humidity, and stress paired with ample sunshine and khaki shorts provide a formidable arena for all lawn games. Walk through the park and immerse yourself into an afternoon brimming with leisure.
Word association conditions us to think of Tom Cruise in Top Gun, sand, and brightly colored sunglasses when hearing volleyball. Although you will only find the latter here, parks fill up with folks trying their best to impersonate the dynamic Olympic duo Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh who will be going for their third gold medal in London this summer. The beauty of volleyball is the all-inclusive nature of the activity. Everyone plays and a volleyball net also extends an olive branch to others to join if they see fit.
Sloshball, the older brother of kickball, tops the hierarchy. While most of these games encourage drinking, sloshball actually requires each participant to have a beer in their hand at all times. Many variations exist but playing with this rule not only levels the field while insuring proper hydration but also welcomes the unexpected. Once a sure catch, fly balls become exponentially harder while holding a Bud Light Lime in your hand.
Common at particular Italian restaurants and the occasional house warming party, bocce ball takes full advantage of the space at hand. It is much more of an intimate game, allowing a lot of time for conversation and to observe the natural beauty of the area. Players throw the ball underhand towards a smaller ball called the “jack” and games are typically played to 13.
If you see a group of people hanging out and playing bags (also known as cornhole), make it a point to bring over a few beers and introduce yourself. Owners of bags sets made a commitment to leisure. You find this group hanging out in the best areas of the park because they arrived when dew was still on the grass. Normally decorated to showcase the owners personality, games start after handshakes and beers are exchanged. Depending on space or mood, different rules emerge but generally, platforms are 30 feet apart and games play to 21.
Amazon Prime will deliver any equipment you need by Saturday. Plan a day in one of the city’s many parks and get after it.
Connor Grant is the outdoor columnist at 303 Magazine. He enjoys Mad Men, polarized Ray Bans, big mountain skiing, a good Old Fashioned, anything outside, and reading. When he isn’t rubber necking gear at REI, you can find him frequenting shows at Red Rocks, uncovering new electronic music, or discovering new tapas bars around town. The journey is the destination. Try and keep up by following him on Twitter.