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THEY GOT GAME, AND SO NOW YOU GOT GAME

Corey Wagner, left, and Patrick Finan are taking on the uncertainty of pickup games with a new web-based scheduling tool. (Click to enlarge)

By MARY ANN BOURBEAU

Looking to form a pickup hoops or softball game, but don’t have enough friends? Try Joinagame, a new social network for pickup sports based right here on the Green.

Launching today, Joinagame was built by Corey Wagner of Rumson and Patrick Finan of Fair Haven to handle all the pesky details, such as finding and reserving an available field or court.

But it also addresses a bigger hurdle: not knowing enough people who might be game for a game.

“Once you leave college, you lose your sports network,” said Wagner.

Wagner and Finan work with the recreation directors in Fair Haven, Little Silver, Red Bank, Rumson, Sea Bright and Shrewsbury, as well as Atlantic Highlands and Oceanport, to monitor availability of facilities. Once a person registers at Joinagame, he or she can sign up to play a game already formed online or start their own.

Sports offered are basketball, flag football, kickball, soccer, softball, tennis, Ultimate Frisbee and volleyball.

Joinagame is free, though some towns offer players the option of reserving a field for $40, which all the players would split via online payments. Joinagame takes care of all the paperwork, insurance and payments, making it a win-win for the players and the municipalities. The site will soon offer referees for hire, too.

“It’s free to register and we hope to keep it that way, covering our costs with advertising from sports merchandise stores or bars,” said Wagner.

Finan, 22, earned a finance degree from Providence College in Rhode Island, where he played intramural tennis, soccer, hockey and softball.

“Sports are a huge passion of mine,” he said.

But Joinagame isn’t just for the freshly minted grads. “I’ve seen a lot of parents who bring their kids to practice and say they miss being out there themselves,” he said.

Wagner, a 25-year-old construction worker, and Finan, who is currently waiting tables, met four years ago when Wagner began dating Finan’s sister Jennifer. They’ve spent the last five months creating the site.

Wagner says Joinagame works as well for avid players as it does for those who can only squeeze in a game or two a season.

“A pickup game is nice, because you can show up once,” he said. “You don’t have to commit to a league, and if you don’t mesh with the guys, you can get a whole different group next time.”

The key challenge to their roll-out, they said, is getting enough players on board from the outset so that games have enough players to commence. They spent a full day last week putting up fliers in area coffee shops, salons and other high-traffic businesses, and were pleased to find a lot of interest.

“I was surprised how quickly people picked up on the concept,” said Wagner. “We’re starting local to see how it goes, but we would like to do it for every town in the area.”

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
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