L.A.'s Love Affair with Outdoor Rec

When it comes to sports, Los Angeles is a participant's city. There's no reason to gaze into a TV watching other people play when you can be out there yourself.

The lifestyle is so thoroughly ingrained in the city's character that it's easy to forget that other cities aren't the same way. But sometimes a simple statistic is enough to remind you that your city is somewhere special. Try checking out the per capita numbers of bowling centers in the US, and you'll see that SoCal in general, while it has some lanes for rainy days, has far fewer locations per person than colder Midwestern and Northeastern locales. And recent upticks in pin-hunting expeditions are largely due to an influx of people from those more intense bowling areas.

So L.A. likes to play more than to watch. And here are some of the biggest reasons why.


Perfect Weather for Outdoor Fun

Credit: Amnesiac86 (Wiki)

Maybe L.A. could stand for Lovely Air (momentarily forgetting about the pollution, of course). Moderate temps and humidity make the area ideal for outdoor recreation in any month. So while sports fans in colder cities must be content with just watching the games much of the year, L.A. sports fans are able to get outdoors and toss a ball (or take a hike, or throw a Frisbee...) regardless of the season.

Speaking of seasons, baseball fans who get fired up as the Dodgers and Angels go underway can grab slowpitch bats from HomerunMonkey and find a place to play a little softball after work. Also, thanks to the time zone difference from sea to shining sea, they can play until dark and still catch MLB live from the east coast.


A Tradition of Neighborhood Sports

California was the center of a mass migration of American families in the 1950's and 1960's. And when lots of workforce-age adults move to a new area, they are usually bringing children with them. Those children walked out onto the freshly-paved streets of their budding subdivisions and took up stickball with the other neighborhood kids. Once again, the amicable weather made this possible year-round, and so the tradition of "getting some guys together" and assembling a game of something lives on.



To coin a cheesy word, L.A. has so long been outdoorsy that it has built up the infrastructure for the lifestyle. Their are skate parks, walking trails, zip lines, and countless other facilities and usable wild areas for any type of activity. Exercise- and sports-related products sell vigorously in the area, and their popularity spreads from runner to runner and hiker to hiker. The outdoor attitude snowballs with every new location for fun and every new product to enhance it, making the city and surrounding areas a wellspring of outdoor opportunities.



In a highway-intensive city like L.A., many people want nothing more than to de-compress from the day's murderous commute by getting out of the car and doing something physical. This is especially true for drivers whose time on the 10 bookends eight or ten hours at a desk. They are longing for the outdoors that they've viewed through windows all day and have no interest in viewing somebody else's outdoor fun on a television.

So at the end of the day, it's into the garage, into exercise gear, and out oof the house as quickly as possible.

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