The horrifying truth about adulthood is that the second after you graduate from college it’s really hard to make friends. You can’t just walk up to someone at an off-campus rager and walk away with your next crew. However, a lot of people move to D.C. to start their careers and the advice for making friends is pretty much universal - go join clubs and sports leagues.
After a year and a half in D.C. I finally took the plunge and joined a kickball team organized by DC Fray. I'm not a natural athlete, so kickball seemed like a good entry point and, now that I'm in my second season, I can say it was a good choice. Here’s everything you need to know about joining an adult league.
1. How does it all work?
Pretty simple - I signed up through DC Fray, picked a day of the week I’m usually free and a location that’s close to my home. For my first season, I played just outside of Capitol Hill and I currently play near the Washington Monument. There’s just something a little magical about kicking around a rubber ball and running around bases so close to an internationally recognizable icon.
All things considered though, you don’t really play a lot of kickball. Games are typically 5 innings and then you hit a local bar for cheap beer and flip cup. The leagues last 6 weeks, but it can be extended to 8 if your team makes it to the championships!
2. Do you actually have to be good at kickball?
Honestly, no. I think I scored one point in my first season. However, it was pretty gratifying when our team, the Alcoholkicks, took home the championship. I like to think my cheering from the sidelines and occasionally providing Jell-o shots contributed to team morale.
3. What about booze?
You’re not allowed to drink on the National Mall. Police officers will take your alcohol. However, it’s not uncommon for people to show up with opaque water bottles filled with anything but water. It’s customary for people to go to a local bar after the game and I found that Kelly’s Irish Times near Union Station was small enough to force you to socialize with other players.
Also, don't be the person who whips out the red solo cups. That's not subtle.
4. Okay, do you really make friends?
I’m reasonably outgoing so I bonded with a few teammates. However, even if you’re shy, this is a really good way to put yourself in the path of other people who are in the same place as you in life. Everyone joins for the same purpose - to make friends and have fun.
5. Is it worth it?
This is a subjective thing - some people leave the league after their first game, but I enjoyed it enough to sign up again and drag along two friends for the late summer season. Some people have made friends, others meet significant others - really, what do you have to lose?