Meetups: Pick-up Games for Grown-ups 1

Play ball, any ball.

If you’ve ever moved to a new city or set out to experience new things or learn a new skill, you probably understand how difficult it can be to meet people who share your interests.  Luckily, Meetup provides dozens, if not hundreds, of opportunities to meet new friends, lovers, and team mates, nearby.

Meetup is an in-person social network of like-minded people. Say you enjoy motorcycles, but don’t have any friends who ride. Visit Meetup, and you’ll find a group who takes rides every Saturday leaving from Brookhaven. Like to knit? You’re guaranteed to find a knitting group near Peachtree Hills. From arts and crafts to music, sports to animal lovers, there is a Meetup for everyone. One of the most popular Meetups are the outdoor and sports Meetups.

One of the most popular Buckhead Meetups is Running for Brews, a Meetup that combines jogging and craft beer. Participants meet at The Elbow Room, a pub/pizzeria on Pharr Road, each Monday at 7 p.m. After a 5k run through the gorgeous streets and neighborhoods of Buckhead, they end the evening with craft beer, good conversation, and some delicious pizza. This particular Meetup has grown organically to include numerous other Atlanta locations as well as a Facebook, Twitter (@Runningforbrews), and Instagram (@RFBBuckhead) page.

“They make me look forward to Mondays,” says member Chris Lammi. “Runners of all abilities attend and I’ve found great inspiration watching many reach their running goals.”

Whether you run or play kickball, volleyball, pickleball, or underwater hockey, there is an outdoor Meetup for you. If you enjoy hiking, jogging, geocaching, or swimming, you’ll find some like-minded folks. There are groups for men, women, African-Americans, seniors, children and with Buckhead and Brookhaven’s wide population variety and Atlanta’s pleasant weather, you should have no problem finding a Meetup that suits you and your interests. And if, by some reason, you can’t find an existing group, start your own in five minutes and for a small fee. And, whether you’re a retired pro soccer player or a soccer mom, most groups welcome all skill levels.

There are so many resources in Buckhead and Brookhaven, from the parks, walking trails, and recreation areas, and residents want to take advantage of that. Meetup, in general, is successful because it lets people use the internet to meet new friends and then get off the internet and live their lives. And with the team-focused sports Meetups available, nervous first-timers needn’t feel intimidated, because it’s a group dynamic.

Another popular group is Buckhead Tennis, a multi-level group that combines a love for tennis with a love for staying in shape.  Weekly matches are held, as well as a bi-monthly competitive event, open to any member who wants to track their progress and feel that healthy competitive spirit. This group has a yearly membership charge, and also requires participants to bring their own tennis balls; there are also numerous activities and outings, non-tennis related, planned after each weekly Meetup.

The benefits and positive aspects of Meetup’s go well beyond the expected.  Not only has the organization fueled economic growth for both individuals and communities, but also inspired members and organizers to start their own businesses, non-profits, and other organizations that improve the BuckHaven economic landscape.

“I’ve met many of my long-term friends from different Meetups that I’ve attended,” says Justin Sanderfer, who has both attended and hosted Meetups. “I can’t say I would have the same circle of friends if I’d never become involved.”

Meetup was founded in the days just after September 11, 2001. CEO Scott Heiferman realized that he and his neighbors were talking, socializing, and generally meeting up with one another more than they ever had before; what if he could make something positive and lasting result from that tragedy? In summer of 2002, Heiferman, along with a small team, launched Meetup. There are currently more than 200,000 Meetups, 22 million members in 181 countries worldwide.

Visit Meetup.com and after a short list of questions and a confirmation email you are free to search for whatever Meetup you want, either by type or location. Download the Meetup app to stay connected on the go.