New app connects Ranchers to their favorite sports and each other
Chris and Jessi McComas of MVP Sports and Social are launching a new app connecting Lakewood Ranchers to all things sports and social.
| 5:00 a.m. November 16, 2022
When Chris and Jessi McComas first moved to Lakewood Ranch in 2015, the husband-and-wife couple craved more opportunities for sports-centric socializing.
Instead of waiting for the niche to be filled, they created MVP Sports and Social that same year — a collaborative group that now invites Ranchers, 18 and older, to participate in nine sports, including pickleball, cornhole, disc golf, mini golf, golf, softball, kickball, sand volleyball and bowling.
“Our goal is to bring people together in a fun, laidback atmosphere where they can make new memories and get some exercise,” says Chris, who is also parks director for Lakewood Ranch Community Activities. “Lakewood Ranch has been an incredibly accommodating community for us.”
MVP currently organizes 12 leagues throughout the year, with more than 1,400 participating players. The sports are played at locations throughout Lakewood Ranch, including sand volleyball and cornhole at Waterside Park, golf at Legacy Park and disc golf at Bob Gardner Park.
To expand the ever-growing reach of MVP, the couple has just launched their own app, as well as a corresponding social committee, for creating cross-league social events. They collaborated with RD Media, a Lakewood Ranch-based app and website developer, to design the platform, which should be available in Apple and Android app stores by December.
“The app will be open to anyone in MVP. We want people to be able to sign up for a league in under 10 seconds,” Chris says. “But the big picture is that we want to inspire Lakewood Ranch newcomers to join a league and meet with their future teammates.”
He explains that the app will give people an opportunity to break the ice digitally with potential teammates by sparking a casual chat and making quick connections. “The entire idea behind this app is to create social opportunities. We’ve built in a social calendar that’s not geared toward sports only; it’s a way to meet other people through various social activities. We also started a social committee that will be organizing these events.”
Chris and Jessi are also applying to get their cornhole league (part of which takes place during Ranch Nite Wednesdays at Waterside Place) verified by the “Guinness Book of World Records” as the largest of its kind in the world, with 352 league participants. (For the record, MVP’s Monday night golf league is the largest in the state of Florida, with 124 participants.)
“It’s amazing how much these leagues have grown, and how much MVP has grown as a whole,” says Chris. “I feel like MVP brings out the happiness and joy in our community. I think, inherently, everybody just likes to see other people happy, and that’s what happens here.”
This was true even during the height of the pandemic. While the community was navigating the lockdown and social distancing restrictions, the MVP team created something called The Quarantine Cup. A host of social activities was coordinated via Zoom — from “Name That Tune” and “Family Feud” games to trivia nights, happy hours and Cinco de Mayo parties. There were more than 300 participants every night and, even though contact sports were off the table during that period, Ranchers were able to remain connected.
“That’s what MVP is about — connecting people. You get to meet a lot of new people and we design everything around social activities, so we encourage you to leave your competitive juices at home,” says Chris. “We tell everyone, ‘Just bring your smile and a happy attitude.’”