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Sporting fun for the queer-minded girl or guy
Teams abound across the Carolinas

by Donald Miller

With the advent of warm weather it’s time to get out of the house and into your favorite sporting activity. Gays and lesbians across the Carolinas team up for all sorts of activities — from running and swimming to rugby, volleyball and more.

For those who like to get wet in Charlotte, there’s the gay swim team known as the H2Os.

Since March of 2002 founder Tim Snider and an ever-expanding core group of swimmers have been hitting the pool for their weekly workout at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center,

“Several years ago I attended Atlanta’s gargantuan Pride celebration,” recalls Snider. “One of the many floats in the parade carried a group of men and women dancing in Speedos. This was the float for the “Rainbow Trout,” Atlanta’s gay and lesbian swim team, which boasts 150 members and numerous awards from swim competitions. I said to myself, “We need something like that in Charlotte!

“I had been swimming for exercise on my own but was beginning to feel that my workouts needed more rigor, more structure and the helpful hints of an experienced coach. A gay swim team would provide all of that, plus a positive opportunity for recreation and fellowship in our community.”

If you’re interested in swimming with the H2Os, email Tim at charlotteh2os@hotmail.com.

For landlubbers who like to stretch their limbs while in the company of family, the Frontrunners gay and lesbian running and walking organization has provided just such an opportunity to queer communities in big cities for years.

“We’ve had a chapter in Charlotte for six years,” says Frontrunners representative Steve Thomas. “We have about 60 members who come once a month or so and 10-12 people who run every time.”

Thomas admits the group is comprised predominantly of men, but wishes there were more women involved. “We’d really like to have more women, but they come and see only two or no women and they usually don’t come back. It’s very disapointing.”

Another aspect Thomas points out about Frontrunners goes beyond the fact that exercize is good for you. “Of course it’s for exercize and staying in shape, but there’s a strong social aspect to it. Afterwards we’ll go out for a meal. The run may take 45 minutes but then we’ll spend an hour and a half chatting and having bagels.”

For more information on Frontrunners, visit their website at www.frontrunners.org or contact Steve Thomas at 704-277-4196.

If you’re gay with a penchant for tennis then the Queen City Tennis Club might be the place for you. A private, non-profit club, participation is encouraged regardless of skill level by any adult (18 and older) desiring to play tennis with the GLBT community.

In addition to social activities and community service initiatives, members participate in Sunday tennis programs, a QCTC tennis league, USTA competition, GLTA events and the Carolina Cup. Two skills clinics are offered each year, but beginners are encouraged to obtain private lessons before joining. If you’re interested in joining, just show up for one of the Sunday programs at the Park Road Park Tennis Complex. They begin at 10 a.m., but you’ll want to arrive by 9:40 a.m. for warm-up and court assignment

The founder of Charlotte’s gay rugby Club, The Charlotte Royals, describes the game as a mix of “soccer and football.” Like other members of gay sporting groups, he’s adamant about the virtues of the game. “Most of the guys would say the bonding with other men when you get together on a Sunday afternoon is the best part,” says Jason Cash. “You know — you’re with a bunch of guys and it’s a lot of fun. We usually go to the Eagle afterwards for a beer. Great workout, too.”

Membership to the Charlotte Royals is open to all men ages 18 and up. The one requirement is that you be open-minded. Gay, straight or bisexual, it doesn’t matter as long as you understand that rugby is at the heart of it and that discrimination is not found on the team.

For more details, go to www.charlotteroyals.org or call Jason Cash at 704- 583-2132

In Columbia, S.C., many gays and lesbians get together every Sunday at 2 p.m. in Earlwood Park to play volleyball. “Since the summer of 1999, on most Sundays year-round, a group of volleyball enthusiasts has gotten together in one of Columbia’s neighborhood parks for an afternoon of friendly volleyball games,” says Kevin Bing. “We do it because we’re a little bit crazy for volleyball, but most of our players will tell you they come back for the fellowship. During the beautiful days in the summer, there may be up to five rotating six-person teams playing on two nets.

“Volleyball in the park can be a real breath of fresh air,” Bing continues, “both for people new to the community and for those who might have been out in Columbia for awhile. Those who play believe it’s good to get outside and meet your friends and neighbors, enjoy the green of the park, work up a sweat and be able to have a relaxed conversation before the next game. There is no real organization, just a group of friendly people who like to get together. Anyone who knows the basics of volleyball and enjoys a little friendly competition is welcome to come out and play.”

For more details, email Kevin at kevinbing@mindspring.com.

Charlotte Frontrunners & Walkers
Charlotte, N.C.
Monday night at 6:30 p.m., Dowd YMCA back porch, dinner afterward.
Saturday morning at 9 a.m., Caribou Coffee/Brueggers Bagels parking lot.
Breakfast afterward at Brueggers Bagels.
A social group that walks and runs together, meets for food and drink afterward. All abilities welcome.

Charlotte H2O Gay Swim Group
Charlotte, N.C.
Our mission is to promote physical fitness and provide a positive social outlet for gay and gay-friendly Charlotteans. We are all-inclusive regarding gender, orientation, ethnicity, etc. We are looking for swimmers who are comfortable with the basic strokes and who hope to improve and become more physically fit, while meeting fun people along the way. For more information, email charlotteh2os@hotmail.com

Charlotte Rainbowlers
2801 E. Independence Blvd.
Charlotte, N.C. 
Our mission is to promote the sport of bowling within the GLBT community. We are also members of IGBO (International Gay Bowling Organization) and promote its motto of Unity, Fellowship and Communication. We meet every Monday starting Sept. 8 for 28 weeks, at AMF Coliseum Lanes. Cost is $12/week. Practice begins at 7:50 p.m. and league play starts at 8 p.m. We are sanctioned by ABC/WIBC and members of IGBO. Several members of our league have placed in numerous gay bowling tournaments across the nation and abroad.

Charlotte Royals Rugby Football Club 
Charlotte, N.C. 
The Charlotte Royals RFC is a rugby club for gay and diverse individuals in and around the Charlotte, N.C. area. We practice on Sunday and Tuesday. Check the website for times and locations. Age, size and experience are not important. Commitment and willingness are.

Queen City Rollers Bowling League
316 East 19th St.
Kannapolis, N.C.
Come join the fun at Carolina Lanes, 704-841-7606, in Matthews for the 2004-2005 bowling league. Our first meeting will be Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m. If you are looking for a way to meet people or just new to the area, this is a great way to establish some new friends. We have raffles, games and cash prizes. The league season is 24 weeks. If interested, then come join our league for fellowship and fun. Contact Clark White at 704-699-1278 or at clarkwhite@ctc.net.

Queen City Tennis Club
P.O. Box 480642
Charlotte, N.C.
Queen City Tennis Club is an all-inclusive (LGBT-focused) club for individuals to come together and enjoy the game of tennis in an open, friendly atmosphere. The club is mainly recreational/social in nature, but there are opportunities for competitive play as well. All skill levels are welcome. Open play every Sunday at 10 a.m. at Park Road Park during the warm season and we now also play at 7 p.m. on Wednesday nights at Hornet’s Nest Park as well. The time on Sundays during the cold season is 12 p.m. Singles tennis ladder is available — matches are scheduled by individuals at their convenience.

Southern Country Charlotte
PO Box 668690
Charlotte, N.C. 
Supporting local charities and LGBT events while promoting country and western music and dance. Our activities include: free country dance lessons every Wednesday evening at The Charlotte Eagle from 9-10:30 p.m., with open dancing following. First Saturday and Third Friday of every month are our monthly club nights at The Charlotte Eagle. Country music and dancing from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Queen City Outlaws, SCC’s exhibition dance team, practice every Sunday evening from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at a specified location. Call more for details.

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