Mark Hertzendorf of the Rainbow Spinnakers (Photo courtesy of Hertzendorf)
Even though it may not feel like it yet, spring will be here soon and the opportunities to find a place to play in the LGBT sports community of D.C. will become even greater.
Most of the coverage in this column is dedicated to competitive sports, but there is another side of the community — social sports.
While it is true that anyone can join a competitive team and go to the practices without competing, many people may still find that environment intimidating. So here’s a list of LGBT sports clubs that offer athletic adventures without having to join a league or compete.
The D.C. Rock Jocks are a group who rock climb outdoors locally and in West Virginia. They also meet indoors at Earth Treks in Rockville and Sportrock in Alexandria. The group offers participants a fun way to stay in shape and to develop better climbing techniques and skills.
The Outriders are a cycling group that rides in D.C. metro area with weekend rides that range from 25-60 miles. They also host casual after-work rides during the week and there are no member fees. Their special interest rides have included Cycling through Virginia Horse Country, Washington and Old Dominion Rail-to-Trail and the Arlington Evening Bike Rides.
D.C. Pride Volleyball has just emerged as a club and in addition to the league that will begin soon, organizers will also offer open play. For three months starting March 18, the group will be at Thomson Elementary School on Wednesday nights. The cost will be $7 prepaid and there will be a weekly cap of 48 players. Skill development and drills will run for one hour starting at 6:30 p.m. and games will begin at 7:30 p.m.
The D.C. Lambda Squares welcomes singles, couples and those on the rebound to their square dancing club. Their mission is to promote smiles, friendship and square dancing. The group dances at National City Christian Church.
Adventuring is an outdoor club for the LGBT community of D.C. that is mostly known for its weekly hikes on the historic trails in the area. When volunteers are available to lead the group, they also offer things such as bike rides, camping, backpacking and canoeing.
The Rainbow Spinnakers Sailing Club offers the chance to explore the local waterways and see wildlife up close. You can choose to just ride along as a passenger or learn some skills through the informal instruction of the skipper. From April through October, a two-hour trip is offered on Sundays from noon-2 p.m. It departs from Belle Haven Marina in Alexandria.
The D.C. Rawhides host Town & Country every other Saturday at Town Danceboutique. Lessons in country western dancing such as two-step or line dancing run from 7-8 p.m. and open dancing is from 8-10:30 p.m. The cost is $5.
The Atlantic States Gay Rodeo Association sponsors monthly trail rides on horseback at the Piscataway Stables in Clinton, Md. They are held on the first Sunday of every month and for $30, you get a horse and a tack for an hour-long ride.
The D.C. Front Runners offer a series of runs and walks for people of all ages and abilities. The runs are held on Tuesday and Thursday nights as well as Saturday and Sunday mornings. The walks are held on Tuesday nights and Saturday mornings. The group utilizes different routes and the most attended gathering is on Saturday mornings.
Lambda DanceSport offers training for social dancing in ballroom, Latin, swing, two step and line dancing. Members dance at Church of the Pilgrims near Dupont Circle and have training for beginners to advanced.
In addition to the above mentioned clubs, you can ice skate with D.C. Ice Breakers, ski and snowboard with Ski Bums, golf with Lambda Links, learn to row with the D.C. Strokes Rowing Club and play pick-up games with the Federal Triangles Soccer Club and the D.C. Sentinels basketball team.