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Sports and summer fun
Warmer months offer multiple opportunities for outdoor excitement in the Carolinas

by Mark Smith

Summer is here. Along with it comes the opportunity for warmer weather, longer daylight hours, and for many folks, the chance to up the ante on outdoor recreation.
For gays and lesbians in both Carolinas, there are numerous opportunities to socialize, have fun, make new friends and get plenty of exercise all in an LGBT-friendly environment.

But just how important are those opportunities?

Having fun
Let’s face it — most of us have to work for a living and many of us have responsibilities with family and community that sometimes might not seem like the most fun. Whether or not you have a creative career that you enjoy or just a job that pays the bills, it’s still extremely important mentally to have other activities outside work that you enjoy to make you feel involved, active and alive. Remember the old saying, “all work and no play makes Jack (or Jill) a dull boy (or girl).

Friends are one of life’s greatest pleasures. Whether they are old and tried and true or new and developing over a common interest — it’s the people around us that make life livable. Friends share the good times and the bad. Besides, who wants to sit home all alone with nobody to talk to?

Physical exercise is considered important for maintaining physical fitness including healthy weight; building and maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and joints; promoting physiological well-being; reducing surgical risks; and strengthening the immune system. Need we say more?

Being around like-minded people
It’s true that it’s important to experience as much of the world’s diverse culture as possible. That can be fun. But it can also be fun — and even easier — if you’re having fun with other people who think like you do. Sharing the good times with other members of the LGBT community — for many people — provides the opportunity to “let your guard down” or to just be who you feel comfortable being.

All that said it’s clear that getting out this summer and having as much fun as humanly possible is extremely important.

Mountain hiking is just one of the many fun experiences you can have with the Wilderness Network of the Mountains.

In the spotlight:

Wilderness Network of the Mountains
One such organization that combines fun, exercise and exploration is the Wilderness Network of the Mountains.

Modeled after Wilderness Network of Georgia, the group formed in May of 2004 focusing mainly on a clientele that lived in and around the Asheville area.

Under the guidance of Dave Morrison and Rick McAlister they now boast more than 350 members from both Carolinas who come together to enjoy hiking, biking, camping, canoeing, and other outdoor activities opportunities. Outings include day trips to scenic areas in the Western North Carolina area, weekend trips around the Southeast, and longer excursions to national parks in the western U.S. The group also sponsors social gatherings, and members frequently host informal seminars to increase interest in and pass along knowledge about a favorite outdoor activity.

“We started out with a core membership of guys who mostly live in the Asheville area,” says Morrison. But we have since grown to what is now around 365 members.
Fortunately, it appears that our core group of guys is slowly getting large enough that we have enough trip leader types to fill our calendar sufficiently to keep us going. Considering that we have been around for only 2 years now, we are doing pretty well!”

Sports and Fun Guide
Charlotte • Aikido
Japanese martial art class taught at the Community Center. The goal of Aikido is self-improvement and to live in peace and harmony with others.

Raleigh • Board Games
Triangle Community Works presents a board and card games night twice a month in Raleigh. Alcohol and smoke-free and gay-friendly environment. Triangle Community Works, in conjunction with Interweave, sponsors this LGBT game-playing night. Games Night is free, but donations are gladly accepted. Games Night starts at 7:30 p.m. on the first and third Fridays of the month. First Fridays are at Community United Church of Christ, 814 Dixie Trail. Third Fridays are at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, 3313 Wade Ave. www.tcworks.org/gamesnight.htm.

Raleigh-Durham • Bowling
Triangle Area Bowling Leagues
Kings and Queens Bowling Team meets every Thursday night at 8:10 p.m. The Capital City Rainbows meet every Sunday at 7 p.m. Both meet at Capital Lanes in Raleigh.

Charlotte • Bowling
Carolina Rainbowlers
This group won’t meet again until Sept. 28. Their mission is to promote the sport of bowling within the LGBT community. They are also members of IGBO (International Gay Bowling Organization) Check out gaycharlotte.com for more details.

Carolinas • Hiking
Wilderness Network of the Mountains
See story above. www.groups.yahoo.com/group/WildernessNetworkOfTheMountains/

Charleston • Kickball
Lowcountry Kickball for the LGBT and allied community in Charleston. Every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Moultrie Park, 41 Ashley Ave.

Carolinas • Marching Band
The North Carolina Pride Marching Band is celebrating its 18th year and invites anyone who has ever played a marching band instrument to join them at N.C. Pride in Durham, and for other Pride dates in S.C., D.C. and Atlanta. They also need flag carriers, banner carriers and band-aids. The N.C. Pride Band is also starting a concert band, which means that those who don’t care to play while marching will soon be able to play while sitting. E-mail NCPMB@aol.com for information. Or visit www.NCPrideBand.org.

Carolinas • Marching Band
The Marching Pride of South Carolina was formed in late 2003 in order to add color and music to the annual South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Pride March and Festival in Columbia. For more details visit www.marchingpridesc.org.

Charlotte • Rugby
Charlotte Royals Rugby
Gay and gay-friendly rugby team’s next season begins in August. www.charlotteroyals.org.

Raleigh-Durham • Rugby
Kodiaks Rugby Club
Triangle area rugby team continues with socials, games and activities throughout the summer. www.kodiaksrfc.org.

Winston-Salem • Softball
Triad Softball League
The season’s already over but socials continue. www.triadsoftball.com.

Raleigh • Square Dancing
The Raleighwood Squares is a gay and lesbian square dance club. Beginner’s dance class is the second Tuesday of each month and regular dance sessions are the first, third and fourth Tuesdays. During the summer and near holidays, email or call to verify that there will be dancing that night. 919-317-1008. Raleighwood_Squares@hotmail.com. www.iagsdc.org/raleighwood.

Charlotte • Country-Western Dancing
Southern Country Charlotte was founded in 1991 by a small group of people with a common interest in promoting country western music and dance in Charlotte’s LGBT community. 704-845-6478. www.southerncountrycharlotte.com.

Charlotte • Swimming
The Charlotte H2Os is a group of gay men and women who swim for fitness, and if interested, train for competition. They are an International Gay and Lesbian Aquatic (IGLA) affiliated group. www.johnmlucas.com/charlottegayswimgroup.

Raleigh-Durham • Tennis
The Triangle Tennis Club meets every Friday, weather permitting, from 7-9 p.m. in North Raleigh. www.triangletennisclub.com.

Charlotte • Tennis
The Queen City Tennis Club is an all-inclusive (LGBT-focused) tennis club for individuals to come together and enjoy the game of tennis in an open, friendly atmosphere. www.birdnest.org/qctc.

Groups interested in forming in the Triangle area:
• Swing Dance in an all lesbian class. For more information contact Mad About Dance Academy at 1-888-21-SWING.
• Interested in forming a gay ultimate Frisbee team in Raleigh? For more information, email glbt-frisbee@usa.net.
• Interested in recreational volleyball in RTP? For more information, email

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