It is one thing to see a void in the community and make note of it. It is another thing altogether to organize yourself to do something about it.
In the case of Morristown resident Deb Nexon, it went a step further. It became her life.
Nexon started Jersey Club sports back in 2009 with a simple goal, to provide people with a place to play sports, have fun and be social.
"I moved back home to New Jersey after years of living in Atlanta," Nexon said. "And I wanted to join a softball team that was coed and get involved to meet people but the options were limited."
According to Nexon, in order to have the opportunity to play you needed to either be a part of a large company or live in a large municipality that hosted club sports. With no real options to her liking, Nexon did the next best thing: she created her own league."I started with a kickball league and a softball league. I probably had 50 people in the two leagues and honestly after that it spread like wild fire," Nexon said.
Nexon credits social media in part for the growth of the leagues, but a growing number of people who moved into the Morristown area and didn't know anyone.
It also doesn't hurt that the process to get involved is pretty painless too.
According to Nexon, people can register as a team or sign up as a free agent.
"We put them on a team that needs players and it is how they meet new people," Nexon said.
Since its inception, Jersey Club Sports' offerings have grown to include kickball, dodgeball, flag football, soccer, softball, basketball, floor hockey, bowling and volleyball. The leagues have games spread out around the county at places like the Indoor Sports Pavilion in Randolph, Greater Morristown YMCA and the fields at Greystone.
The club has become so successful that two years ago, Nexon gave up her day job to run the business full time. Currently she is assisted by an assemblage of referees and site managers. The current operation now averages 400 people playing a week.
"We’re going out there having fun," Nexon said. "Supporting local businesses that offer discounts to Jersey Club Sports members."
That is part of the social component off the field. Teammates gather before or after games at places like the Famished Frog in Morristown where they are greeted with free nachos.
"That is the most rewarding thing to me. To see the relationships that are forming," Nexon said. "We’ve had ten marriages and one Jersey Club Sports baby. All people who didn't know each other before signing up."
Nexon said there are kids coming out of college that don’t know anybody and they join the league.
"We tell them you never know who you are going to meet. You never know who you will be playing alongside," Nexon said. "It’s a great networking. You may find your next job out playing one of our club sports."
Nexon said Jersey Club Sports also hosts singles events like a Valentine’s mixer.
"We also have Beer Pong where we play with water," Nexon said. "We’re working on a casino night in November where we’re going to donate the proceeds to charity."Nexon has see sport and social clubs really take off recently, and she says there is no mystery as to why.
"People can go out and relive their childhood and meet people," Nexon said.
And while her leagues can get competitive, Nexon takes pride in keeping the atmosphere friendly, the games fun, and enough structure and order in place to keep everyone safe.
And if you don't like it?
"People do say we have a lot of rules," Nexon said. "But there are other leagues."
For more information on Jersey Club Sports or to sign up for a league, visit their website.