Players’ Club: William Dennis
May 22, 2023 @ 12:46pm
We sat down with DC Fray Senior Operations Manager William Dennis to talk about how sports leagues helped him find community in the District.
Over the course of 12 years, William Dennis built his chosen family playing kickball on Thursday nights. Working in the hospitality industry, playing kickball was the escape he needed to take a much-needed break and eventually find his closest friends — including his current roommate. Two years ago, amidst the pandemic, Dennis began a career with DC Fray as a staffing coordinator and now he’s enjoying his role as senior operations manager.
“Covid took a lot from a lot of people,” Dennis says. “For me personally, it actually gave me what I needed.”
Feeling burnt out from a career in the restaurant business and craving more time with his community, he found a way to bring both his career and his community together at DC Fray. We sat down with Dennis to talk about his time working for DC Fray, what social sports mean to him and what open worlds he explores in his downtime.
District Fray: What brought you into the D.C. area?
William Dennis: I joined student government in college and I got involved in a lot of different nonprofits. Through mixing and mingling, I first thought I wanted to move to D.C. after I graduated. I got a post-undergrad fellowship working for a nonprofit called Virginia New Majority, where they focus on voter rights particularly in the Latin X community. But I realized after two months, that wasn’t the avenue I wanted to go down. And I was like, “I don’t want to go back to North Carolina. As much as I love her as a state, I don’t want to go back.”
Are you still politically active now?
I’m not as politically active as I was when I first moved to D.C. However, with my kickball team, we raise money for the Wanda Alston Foundation, which is here in D.C., as well as Equality PAC. Two organizations that focus on LGBTQ+ rights.
What drew you to do social sports with DC Fray?
I think a lot of it is the natural trends transitioning from college. I’ve always been an athlete; in high school, I did tennis, cross country and track and field, and in college, I did track and field, cross country and intramural sports. And so when I moved to D.C., I was like, “I want to stay active.”
What do you think is the most important or best part of being a part of a community like DC Fray?
Honestly, for any young adult coming into D.C., finding their community is really difficult because D.C. is such a transient city. DC Fray makes it so easy to connect with someone. I think, not just for me, but for any other player, DC Fray is an escape for us. We were working either a nine to five, or working a double shift at the restaurant. I wasn’t thinking about table 12 getting mad because their steak was overcooked, I was thinking about being here and connecting and having fun with my friends.
Obviously working for a social sports organization is fun too — what do you do for fun outside of work?
Video games. On Friday, I took a half day because the new Zelda game came out that morning. I just wanted to play all weekend. Outside of that, I really do enjoy just hanging out with my friends. Again, having that chosen family is really important. I’m also fortunate my mom lives in D.C., so I hang out with her. And then of course, I hang out with my dog Frank and my lovely cat Coco.
Neighborhood: Ivy City. Favorite cuisine: Seafood and ramen. Favorite D.C. restaurant: Jinya Ramen Bar and Blackjack for happy hour. 2023 goal: Win the national championship for kickball in July, and create not only more queer but also more women leagues at Fray. Favorite D.C. sports team: D.C. Pickleball Team
Follow Dennis on Instagram @speakupyouth. Visit dcfray.com or follow @dcfray to learn more and register for summer sport leagues.
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