6 Totally Obscure, Super Fun Michigan Sports Leagues

Have you ever heard of Fowling? How about Broomball? If you think those sound like made up words, you’re not alone. But they are actually real sports that have actual leagues you can join in Michigan. Check out these six unique activities you can try if you want to branch out from the more traditional baseball and ice hockey leagues:

  1. Pickleball: Our very own Julie Bitely took to the courts to try out Pickleball last year. The game is a combination of badminton, tennis and table tennis, but has a set of rules all its own. With more than 175 places to play in Michigan and around 6,000 registered Michigan players, there is room for all skill levels and ages.
  2. Roller derby: Made famous by the movie Whip It, roller derby is the most rough and rowdy roller skating race you may ever be a part of. Derby leagues are located throughout the state including prominent ones in Lansing, Pleasant, Brighton, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Detroit and mid-Michigan.
  3. Fowling: In the UK, fowling is a type of bird hunting, but in Detroit it’s the latest and greatest craze. It’s a combination of football and bowling (yes, bowling) and leagues are available to join at the Hamtramck Fowling Warehouse.
  4. Broomball: A mix between hockey, curling and soccer, this game is a U.P. classic. Leagues can be found in Detroit and at universities like the University of Michigan and Michigan Technological University.  
  5. Quidditch: You read that right. Harry Potter’s sport of choice comes to life all over Michigan via regional leagues and teams at most universities. In the fall of 2014, Grand Valley State even hosted the U.S. Quidditch Midwest Regional Championship match. (Sorry, this doesn’t involve flying broomsticks.)
  6. Kite Flying: Although this one’s not quite a “sports” league, it is a great, unique way to be active in Michigan. Kite flying clubs can be found in Kalamazoo as well as a tri-state club shared between Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. More information is also available via the American Kitefliers Association.

Want to learn about more unique sights and activities you can enjoy in Michigan? Keep reading:

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Photo credit: Chris Gilmore

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  1. I am in complete agreement re: Pickleball. I’m not sure about the table tennis connection, but the other two sports are. Pickleball is played on a badminton sized court, using tennis-height nets (well, perhaps slightly lower). There are also wooden paddles involved, along with a wiffleball! And, you don’t have to run as far as you do in Tennis!

    For those who want to see the sport locally, I would suggest two outdoor sites, both in Royal Oak. One is at Whittier Park (2 blocks north of 11 Mile, at the corner of Potter and Farnum). The other is in Upton Park (Nakota, west of Coolidge, south of 14 Mile). The sport is also played indoors, and there are some excellent local places in some of the churches in Troy (Woodside is the best one for beginners). Most community centers also have courts (I have played in Troy, Warren and Sterling Heights).

    For more info on this wonderful game, go to http://www.usapa.org, and if there are any questions, please sent me an EMail (I will answer any questions from home in the evenings).

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