Should you play in sports leagues with coworkers?

Sports Image Gallery Ready to team up with your co-workers? Spread the word and try to get your company onboard -- it might even supply uniforms or other equipment. See more sports pictures.
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When you were in elementary school, you played Little League baseball and peewee football. In middle school, you tried out for the junior varsity teams. By high school, you were a basketball star. It didn't stop there. In college, you were a walk-on for your school's soccer team. Maybe you even spent your spare time playing intramural volleyball and softball.

If this describes you, a lifetime sports lover, why should your participation in team sports suddenly be cut off when you enter the corporate world of commuting, conference calls and committees? The good news is it doesn't have to. Not only are adult sports leagues growing and thriving, but it's possible to find one through the company you work for. Now, instead of competing with (and against) classmates, you'll be joining your co-workers on the field.

The benefits of playing in a sports league with your office mates are numerous. The recreation allows you a way to improve your health and fitness, and the competition gives you a chance to bond and build trust with the people you spend 40 hours a week with [source: Schafer]. It can also offer a welcome way to unwind from a high-pressure job [source: Hooper].

Of course, competitive sports with your co-workers isn't all high-fives and backside pats. When things get tense on the field, grudges can be carried back into the office. And even the positive aspects of team spirit can sometimes work against a company if its employees develop more loyalty to their co-workers than their jobs [source: Harvard Business Review]. But as long as you keep the downsides in mind and let fun, out-of-office time stay just that -- fun and out of the office -- you can reap the benefits of competitive sports with co-workers.

If your company doesn't already have a team, you can start one yourself. Keep reading to find out how.