The assignment for this week in my Social Media and Learning class was to sign up for meetup.com, join some groups, and attend a meetup. Based on interests and hobbies, aspirations, and even potential business purposes, you can find all sorts of groups of people looking for and interested in similar things. It’s huge for techies and you could even find “Mr/Ms Right” at singles meetups.
The website is based out of NYC, so there are tons of groups based here, but you can find groups virtually anywhere. From the meetup.com wikipedia page, I found this interesting:
The attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001, was pivotal to the formation of this social network. Meetup co-founder Scott Heiferman publicly stated that the manner in which people in New York came together in the aftermath of that traumatic event inspired him to use the Internet to make it easier for people to connect with strangers in their community.
I needed to find a meetup within the next week or so, so this limited my possibilities seeing as many groups I was interested in (math, teachers, etc) meet a few times per month. So then I expanded my search and looked at groups that focus on fitness and health. There were a ton of soccer (football, for all you foreigners) meetups – mostly pickup games in which at least intermediate skills were encouraged…
Apologies but this isn’t a group for people who are learning how to play, please only sign up and come along if you can play to a decent standard.
(AKA “you better know what you’re doing or you’ll ruin it for everyone”). That’s from an actual pickup group. Hmpf.
And then I stumbled on a group that not only had games as meetups, but also offered lessons for all skill levels. I mean, I played for my school in seventh grade, but I would not say I was good. So I signed up for the basic coed lesson meetup, and I was pumped. Nervous. But pumped.
The lesson was this morning and for $15 I was hoping to meet people with a similar skill level as me (little to none, mind you), be active for 75 minutes (burn off the 2.5 pieces of pizza from dinner last night), and have fun.
Now, the lesson was in the morning…
…On Pier 25 which overlooks the Hudson River….
…So it was cold.
But it was so much fun. Everyone was so friendly; we were all there for the same reason, mostly to improve our skills and maybe make a hobby out of playing pickup games. Our ages ranged from 20ish to 60ish, the ratio of females to males was pretty even, and there was no equipment necessary – no shin guards or cleats.
Frank, the instructor, was so helpful; he understood our mediocre skills, but pushed us to become smarter players and learn skills properly rather than simply kicking a ball away from us toward a goal. You can check out his website, Soccer Beyond, to get private lessons or even purchase his book!
We scrimmaged for the first half hour or so and I was intimidated at first; throwing us to the wolves without teaching us skills? But it was a great warmup and, again, great skills were not required. Frank encouraged us to learn everyone’s names; we were to call their name before we passed the ball to them, or to let them know we were open for a pass. It was definitely a great team building experience.
We learned basic skills – dribbling and “faking”…is it called “faking” in soccer? I mean, I always see this move (roll the ball back with your toe and then kick it behind and to the opposite side?) but I don’t know the technical term. Anyway, we then finished up with another scrimmage. It was great.
I definitely recommend anyone looking for a great workout and fun with others to join a group on meetup.com and attend a meetup. No super duper skills necessary! I think that’s the best part; the point of the site is to encourage people to find others with similar interests. You can even start your own groups! You never know who else shares your interests, no matter how strange they may be.