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When no one is watching DC SCORES soccer coach and November Project DC leader, Steve Christensen, he’s probably busy dancing to Puppets by Atmosphere. He’s been rockin’ that jam ever since his first November Project Summit in -30C in Edmonton, and he hasn’t looked back.
Now, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the highlight of his day occurs before 7AM with his DC tribe of the NP — a free, grassroots movement that aims to get people of all ages, levels of fitness, and political parties, out moving and exploring their city, while making real human connections and building a positive community. “It’s a way to have the most fun you’ll have all week in the span of an hour, all before the rest of the city even rolls out of bed,” says Steve.
[pullquote]Have the most fun you’ll have all week in the span of an hour, all before the rest of the city even rolls out of bed[/pullquote]
For Steve, organically meeting people provides a bit of a rush. “Talking to a cashier or a server, someone on the corner, or the guy handing out the Washington Post Express at the metro, are all great ways to do that,” he elaborated. However, he meets the most people through NP, including some of his closest friends, which he attributes to just deciding to show up.
He’s a firm believer in making your own chances; putting forth your best effort and being smart about it. “Part of that is connecting and surrounding yourself with good, motivated people,” he elaborated. There’s something about the team aspect of NP that makes him feel as though he already knows a person there really well when he first meets them. And, he highlighted that they like to get weird and laugh a lot, which explains why he leaves every workout with that ‘nothing can bring me down’ feeling.
[pullquote]Part of that is connecting and surrounding yourself with good, motivated people[/pullquote]
Turning to reflect on some of his older friendships, Steve shared one of his favorite memories: riding shotgun in his best friend’s jeep with unzipped windows and the top down. Every time they’d arrive wherever they were going, they’d blast Go Getta by Young Jeezy. “We used to think we were really cool. I will continue to believe that we were,” reinforced Steve.
When it comes to keeping in touch with friends, Steve feels strongly about picking up the phone and giving them a call, solidifying the relationships he’s made over the years with people in Milwaukee, Philly, LA, Boston, and Edmonton. “As we age and technology advances, we can see our friends’ updates in the form of pictures and videos on Facebook. The more this happens, the easier it is to not directly talk to or visit friends in far off places,” elaborated Steve. So, he’s making a point of actually doing those things.
Similarly to his spirit animal, a dolphin, Steve loves to be in social situations, but appreciates alone time, and looks at cooperation and communication as the keys to getting things done. That’s probably why he’s almost certain that the person he’s closest to knows everything that he thinks and feels. He shared, “When you’re head over heels in love with someone you want them to know everything. My fiancé is the coolest, smartest, most beautiful person in my world, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of our weird lives together.”
When it comes to other things he loves in his life, he has two main sets of favorite clothing. One is his flat brim hats, including a tagged Lululemon hat. The second is his grassroots gear: shirts tagged with the words ‘November Project’ using spray paint, featuring DC’s own tag, the Lincoln Memorial. For him, each shirt (and it’s more than he’d like to admit) has a different story and a different feeling when he puts it on: from his original white tee tagged in Boston next to the Charles River, to his maple leaf tag from Edmonton, to his first, second, and third iterations of the DC tag.
Photo via Dooster Film
Moving on from the clothes he likely wore last week, to what he did last week, we asked Steve what he might have earned a blue ribbon for. He shared that it would be for completing his homework, the type of homework NP encourages: giving back in the community by making it a better place by doing something ‘out of the way’ nice for someone.
[pullquote]Make it a better place by doing something ‘out of the way’ nice for someone[/pullquote]
Not just the typical hold the door kind of things that you should do every day, but something beyond that, such as paying for the coffee for the person behind you in line, paying for the next car’s toll, or giving your scarf or jacket to someone that looks cold. When it’s done, you just say “Homework complete.” It’s not about bragging about what you did, simply that you did it is more than enough.
Though, if Steve could gift anything to anyone, it would be patience to drivers and cyclists. He’s experienced tremendously impatient people on both sides of the equation. “For the most part, if people realized that 15 seconds doesn’t make any difference, we’d all be safer, less stressed, and generally happier,” said Steve. And, we couldn’t agree more.
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