Can you guess what we are?
At first I was all alone.
Then a friend showed up, and the place started showing signs of life.
But then another friend came, and the three of us started fighting.
Another friend came, and calmed us down by helping us communicate.
Yet another friend came along -- by now, we ruled the area!
By the time a sixth friend joined us, the game had changed a little, and we were looking weak next to the competition.
Our seventh friend came and helped us win some resounding successes.
Finally our last member arrived, and we were just riding free.
By the time all my friends had assembled, what had we become?
As some have guessed, the friends are alphabet letters.
My friends and I are a pretty close-knit bunch. If you distributed our homes evenly on our stretch of street, there would only be one gap of more than one house! However, despite our close bond, we're all unique individuals. If you subtracted the distance from me to my second farthest friend from the distance from me to my farthest friend, you'd have a difference of 1.
I should tell you a bit more about my friends. Some of them are very well-mannered, making our group quite proper when they joined. Each one also has a hobby, and when each one joins the club, they turned us into something related to their hobby. Their hobbies, in random order, are: Sports, American Politics, Musical Instruments, Computer Science, Historical Languages, Avoiding the Sun, and Exercise.
My friends want me to tell you more about their contributions to our group. Our first member (not counting me) made us an acronym. Our second member made us a last name. Our third member made us a proper noun. Our fourth member made us a last name. Our fifth through final members all made us gerunds!
The puzzle title is a reference to the Rascal Flatts song of the same name -- the lyrics don't help with solving the puzzle but the subject matter of the song could be used for answer validation.