Once you graduate, it can be hard to find a sense of community. For me, I took matters into my own hands.
This is a response to "Moving To College Helped Me Grow Closer To God".
One of the hardest things about graduating from college is the realization that you won't probably have the strong community that you once had where everyone was doing the same thing that you were doing. In college, it was much easier to see friends and have a sense of community. Taking a walk around my apartment complex, picking up a coffee in the business building, seeing a friend in class, or participating in an extracurricular activity, I was surrounded by people my age. The days where I had constant plans and structure to see my everyone drastically changed once I graduated.
I was so excited to graduate but I knew that the friends and community I had built over the years was going to be quickly disrupted and never the same. In 2019, I was lucky enough to graduate and walk on stage before COVID stormed in and ruined my plans. I graduated, moved back home, and started a full time work from home job amidst the pandemic. It was lonely and hard. I went from seeing people all the time to a complete loss of human interaction. Once the pandemic calmed down and things returned to normal, I was craving a community of young adults to come together and celebrate life. For a while I didn't know what to do or how to make it all happen, but one day the itch in me took over to change all of that.
In 2023, I decided to make a kickball team. Little did I know that that team would become so much more than just a kickball team.
I was nervous at first that we wouldn't get enough people to play, and that I would be forced to join a team of random people I didn't know. There was nothing wrong with that, but I knew I knew enough people to rack up a big enough roster to create my own team. I started reaching out to my friends telling them how I was starting a kickball team. I was surprised how excited most got to join the team. By the deadline, we had well over the minimum amount of people to play. I was over the moon about how well received the response was to join my kickball team.
We started the season off with over 10 people. The more games we played, the more people we rounded up. I had people from high school, college, my work family and even past dates that joined the team. By the end of the season, our roster was almost 30 people. After one of our games, the referee said it was the biggest roster he had ever seen. In that moment I was so proud that I was able to accumulate so many people together when at the beginning I thought no one would join. Every game, people were in a great mood and always present. They were excited to come out and play. We played music, brought drinks, and even had team after parties at local breweries to strengthen our relationships . One game, my friend Jamie hosted a team grill-out at his rooftop patio where we played games, ate burgers, and stayed refreshingly in the moment without people siting glued to their phones. We hung out for hours laughing and having the time of our lives.
I felt I had finally used my purpose of connecting people and building the community I longed for for so long. After every game, I gave a little speech of appreciation of how thankful I was that everyone showed up and continued to support one another. This team had become like a family to me and I was so thankful for all the new relationships I had been able to foster.
I didn't think that starting a kickball team would have such a positive impact on me but it did. It combined my two loves: sports and community. With that I could not ask for more. I think everyone on that team wanted to have a sense of community and had been longing for it just as much as me. A community where we could all come together and be like kids again on the playground at recess. After every game, different people on the team would be thanking me for putting all of it together and would tell me how appreciative they were to be apart of something bigger than themselves. That hour on the field with my team has forever left an imprint on my heart.