By Rick Smith
No, no, no, I am not referring to the first 100 days of a new president; I am referring to my first 100 - and now 140 days - as a Rotarian with the Marietta Morning Rotary.
When I moved to Marietta, Ohio in August, I knew no one - not a soul. I was moving from the seventh largest city in the nation, San Antonio, to Marietta - a town of 15,000 people .. that's less than the number of undergraduate students on-campus at one of the universities I worked for in San Antonio. My 25 minute commute to work in San Antonio ... well.... I can WALK door-to-door from my apartment to work 6 times in that same 25 minutes now that I'm in Marietta. Talk about a culture shock.... And I thought moving from Miami, Florida to San Antonio was a big change ... (for the Ohioans reading, I put "Florida" after Miami - because in Ohio, apparently I have to clarify that I'm from Miami not Miami of Ohio [the university]).
I will note though .... avocados in San Antonio are 4 for $1.00. In Marietta, they are 4 for $5.00.
So here I am, in my apartment in downtown Marietta, reflecting on my first 140 days as a Rotarian. I needed a way to meet people. I needed a way to expand my social circle. I needed something to do other than work, walk my dog, and play PlayStation. Enter: Rotary.
I was familiar with Rotary before moving here because I was a member of a Club in San Antonio through my employer, so the concept of being a Rotarian wasn't knew to me. The service Rotaries around the world have an impact on their local communities and the world at large.
I've felt and seen the impact Marietta Morning Rotary has on the city of Marietta. It's a small city (as noted above), and the impact that each service club has seems to be magnified.
In the first two weeks of being a Rotarian, I attended the 25th anniversary dinner of the Club, went to Sternwheel Festival and helped setup the Rotary interactive area, and helped prepare dictionaries for the Dictionary Project. The first 10 days ... four of those had Rotary activity....
Since then, I was invited to a happy hour, a night out for $1 pizza slices, and have found friends to enjoy college basketball games with. I've been placed on a committee to help with programming and was asked to help build the website. Welcome to our site, by the way.
Rotary is what I needed to help make Marietta feel like home and not a stop on my resume. And it's done that.
Over the next 140 days - and beyond - I look forward to strengthen my ties to the Rotary through increased involvement in service projects. I'm not a gardener, but I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and helping with Discovery Garden in the spring. Fair warning to all: the closest I have ever come to gardening was mowing my lawn and planting a palm tree that died a week later. I also look forward to finding some fellow Rotarians for a monthly round of golf ... or two ...or three ... or FORE (see what I did there?). And finally, I look forward to helping the Rotary brand grow locally and nationally.
So thank you ... Kris for encouraging me to join Rotary while we were at the fish fry hosted by a colleague from Mariette College. Thank you ... Jeri for allowing me, a newbie, to come to a board meeting for my first meeting. Thank you ... Shannon for inviting me out for $1 pizza with some of your friends. And thank you to all ... for making this big city boy love small town America.
Cheers, and let me know when you're ready to hit the golf course and tee it up.
Rick Smith has been a member of the Marietta Morning Rotary Club since September of 2016. He is an assistant professor of sports management at Marietta College.