Living in a small town that I didn’t grow up in, it is very important for me to get out and find different ways of meeting new people. Even though I will have lived in Maine for 3 years this upcoming June, there are still so many people to meet and begin growing relationships with. Working half an hour away, traveling for Wheelchair Rugby and Ultimate Frisbee, and it becomes a little more difficult to set up times to meet new people, or hang out with the ones I have already met. This isn’t the first time I ran into this, as I had something similar happen when I moved down to Tampa, Florida right after college in pursuit of a career in a place where I knew absolutely no one.
Getting Out of the House
When I first moved to Tampa, and then to Maine, I spent a ton of time indoors, watching useless and boring television. Even though it was a summer weekend in Tampa, I would wake up in the morning, make a little breakfast, and turn on the TV, and before I knew it, it would be evening, and I would figure it’s better to stay in than head out. After a couple months of this, and watching entirely too much college football that I didn’t even care about, I thought it was time for a change. I started forcing myself out of the house, and found a pickup Ultimate game just a few minutes away on Sundays. There, I got to meet some great people that I still keep up with today. The more I got out of the house, the more interaction I was able to find, and thus friendships could form. Over the course of 2 years in Tampa, I started to make great friends and had an active social life.
Then I got the call to go to Maine, and found I was going to be in a similar situation. I tried to get off my butt a little faster this go around, and found the local Ultimate team as soon as possible, and started practicing and playing with them. Unfortunately, the players are spread out all over the state, so though I have made great friendships, it’s not always easy to see everyone. That winter, I joined an adult hockey league, and kept my Sunday nights busy. And that was the extent for a while. Missy moved up that following summer, and we both wanted to get out and meet more people. Thankfully we had awesome neighbors, and they were welcoming and encouraged us to join a local young, professional networking group called Fusion:Bangor. Meeting every couple of months, it was a great start to finding more activities locally.
From our first Newcomers Night, we met a ton of people, and found a few other activities that met sporadically throughout the year, either on a monthly, quarterly or semi-annual basis that could get us out of the house. Missy, working in Bangor, was able to meet more and more people, and it’s rare that we’re not out somewhere here and she doesn’t recognize someone. Working in Newport though, it’s a different story for me. I knew I would need to take extra steps in order to network and create relationships. Fusion had the perfect fit for me, Fusion Sports, in the form of Dodgeball. Our neighbor Anne was going to be on a team, and I signed up as well. Each Wednesday for about 10 weeks, I got out of the house and played some good old fashioned dodgeball, but more importantly, I got to interact with people I may not have gotten the chance to meet.
I also took the initiative to help start and eventually run a summer Ultimate league here in Bangor. It keeps me going during the summer, but also gets me in better shape for the Ultimate season. Having an extra night a week that I can play, especially when our team doesn’t have a chance to practice or play together during most of the season is very important. I’m getting started next month for the details, and am looking forward to another great summer of fun.
Meeting New People
Since playing with Cross Insurance last year in dodgeball, and team green both years for BSL, I have been able to meet a ton of new people, and have had some great opportunities to hang out with them. We’ve either had a scheduled and structured time like a Fusion event, or just hanging out and having a beer, or bumping into people randomly downtown and enjoying a few laughs and sharing stories. Had I not taken those first steps to join Fusion or start a summer league, I would still have people that I can talk with and hang out with, but not to the extent I have now. Had it not been for our neighbors, I wouldn’t have joined Fusion, but had it not been for Missy, I may not have 2 great people I am more than happy to call friends. I also don’t want to get complacent with that, and want to always seek new people to meet. That’s why Missy and I regularly head out to meetings when we can, going to wine tasting, networking, and other local events that happen on a fairly regular basis. It gets us out of the house for the night, sure, but it’s great to keep expanding that circle of people we know.
This year, I am playing for the Blue Barracudas, picture at the top. I joined this team because Cross wasn’t forming a team this year, and everyone else was playing on Tuesday nights, which conflicted with my Organizational Behavior class. I had to find a team in the more competitive league that plays Wednesday nights. I knew one player before I joined the team, but felt it would be a great opportunity to meet some new people a second time around. When I got there, that one person I knew was the only face I recognized. I’ve got a lot of people to meet this year, and I’m excited. Who knows where this will take me in the years to come.