It’s Different When You Know People

Last year, Harry played little league.  We’d had the experience for a year or two of him developing an interest in playing, far to late to do anything about it.  So last year, I did the research, and I was ready before baseball was anywhere near the forefront of his mind.  I mean, you needed to be paying attention and acting on baseball at the same time the Seahawks were making their Super Bowl run.

But, we got him signed up.  We went to a pre-season pitching clinic in February and then waited to hear from his coach.  A month later, he walked onto a field with 9 kids and a number of adults he had never met. Surprisingly, none of his team mates went to his school.  I think there was one kid on one of the other teams, but that’s about it.

It was a good experience.  6 of his teammates had played together before, and a lot of them went to the same school, but he fit in well and contributed to the team.  The age rules in place meant that he would literally be the youngest kid in his division.  That concerned me, but he did fine.

Occasionally, we’d run into his teammates around town, but the community around his team didn’t extend any farther than the diamond.

Fast forward a year.  Harry’s playing in a different league (since they’re defined by where the kids live), and he’s playing up a division based on age.  So today was the assessment day.  In my day we called them tryouts.  At his level the assessment is for the purpose of drafting balanced teams.  Everyone gets to play.

I’ll proceed with the caveat that last year, we were playing in a league that was different from the one we would have played in had we not moved from the condo, and we happen to know at least one family that was playing in that league. Still, we really didn’t move that far and would have expected to know people in last year’s league.

We didn’t.

Which brings us back to today.  As we arrived, I’m pretty sure I drove past the PTA president in the parking lot.  We arrived at the diamond and checked in, and Harry was greeting classmates.  Before we knew it, he was warming up with two of his buddies from school.

This was not unexpected.  Then the dad of one of boys approached me and introduced himself.  And he invited Harry over.  Harry had been talking about some kind of “Animal Protection Club” (don’t ask, as I’m still not clear on this concept) that was to meet every Saturday at this child’s house.  The group would consist of Harry, another boy in the class, and the son and daughter of the man I was talking to.

Interestingly, Harry’s tryout group consisted of all the members of club.

Oddly I would later meet this boy’s mom, as well as the parents of the other boy Harry was throwing with.  I forget which one, but one of these parents recognized me from PTA functions.

Then I was a approached by a gentleman who recognized me from a church function, so we chatted a bit.  It was a very different experience from last year.

The play date, I mean club meeting, happened.  Meanwhile Alissa had Annie at a birthday party.  Somehow, we found ourselves with time for a coffee date at a coffee shop run (sort of…long story) by our church.  So we ran into people we knew there as well. To top it off, at the grocery store, I found myself in line behind the mother of one of Annie’s friends.  She had just seen Alissa and Annie at the birthday party.

It’s funny. The condo and the house we lived in immediately after the condo were around a mile apart.  We lived in that community for 6 years.  We would occasionally run into people around town, but it wasn’t a common occurrence.

We’ve lived in Shoreline for nearly 6 months.  It’s getting to the point where we expect to run into people we know when we go out.

I’m trying to figure out what the difference is.  The only thing I can think of is that we’ve made an effort to get involved in church and the PTA.  It’s not huge, but making even a small effort to engage in community appears to be bearing fruit.



About Andrew

I'm a Christian, American, liberal, geeky, thoughtful, Northwest-transplanted Angeleno husband, father, and pundit who writes about anything he can think of.
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