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An athletic autumn

Ski Bums, Nellie's Sports Bar, gay news, Washington Blade

Members of the Ski Bums at the Avalanche Party last week at Nellie’s Sports Bar. (Photo by Kevin Majoros)

There’s a chill in the air and the Ski Bums celebrated it last week with their Avalanche Party at Nellie’s Sports Bar. The group is hosting 20 events during its 2014 season including trips to Lake Tahoe, Snowbird, Steamboat, Lake Placid and Chamonix, France.

The Washington D.C. Ski Bums chapter is hosting its first overnight trip to Snowshoe, W.Va., Jan. 24-26 with ski-in ski-out accommodations and a coordinated carpool from D.C. for all participants. Registration is now open at

The D.C. Sentinels basketball team sent two teams to the Ballin’ on the Bayou tournament in New Orleans on Oct. 11-13. The Sentinels “A Team” was victorious in the Open Championship game defeating the San Francisco Rockdogs in a hard fought battle. The Sentinels “B Team” was defeated in the Competitive Division second round final. The ballers can be found at

The D.C. Gay Flag Football League sent two travel teams to Gay Bowl XIII in Phoenix Oct. 11-13. The Washington Generals lost in the Championship Game in a slugfest with the San Diego Bolts by a score of 27-26. The game went down to the wire with time running out when the Generals were on the 8-yard line. Results are at and the league is at

The District of Columbia Aquatics Club and the Washington Wetskins water polo team hosted the Columbus Day Classic on Oct. 12-13. The swim meet was contested at the Wilson Aquatics Center and featured 150 swimmers from the eastern seaboard. As host club, its members removed themselves from the team competition and New York Aquatics captured the large team trophy. The small team trophy was won by Team SwimSpray. The swimmers are online at

The water polo tournament was held at Tacoma Aquatics Center and included a strong lineup of 12 teams from the Mid-Atlantic States. The Championship match was won by the Washington Wetskins as they defeated the Arlington Water Polo Club. The Consolation final was won by Rockville Water Polo as they outplayed Team New York Aquatics. The water polo players are at

Capital City Volleyball has announced the return of the President’s Queer Cup Classic from Nov. 29-Dec. 1. The tournament will feature three divisions with a cap of 40 teams and will be contested at the University of Maryland, College Park. Information is at

The Stonewall Kickball League is wrapping up its fall season with the league playoffs to run Nov. 23-24. The Championship game will be contested on Nov. 24 at 5:45 p.m. on Stead Field.

The playoffs for the Stonewall Bocce League start on Nov. 7 with the semi-finals and Championship games starting at 6:30 p.m. in Logan Circle on Nov. 14. Both leagues can be found at

If you’re still looking for some intense exercise outside, the Adventuring Group will be hosting the Big Schloss Hike on Saturday. The hike will be a very strenuous 12.7-mile circuit hike with 2,300 feet of elevation gain along the Virginia-West Virginia border. This is not a beginner’s hike and no pets are allowed. Bring beverages, lunch, sunscreen, bug spray, sturdy boots and trip/driver fees of $22. The meet-up will be at the East Falls Church Kiss & Ride lot at 8:30 a.m. Contact for more information.

The Adventuring Group is offering a less strenuous hike, the Glover-Archbold Park Hike on Sunday. The one-way 4.5-mile hike, with little elevation gain, will take about two hours. The group will enter the park at the northernmost entrance just off Van Ness Street and follow the entire trail to the C&O Canal and then turn east to Georgetown Waterfront Park to lunch along the Potomac River. Bring beverages, bag lunch, bug spray and a $2 trip fee. The group will meet at the Tenleytown Metro (Red Line) in front of Panera Bread at 10 a.m. Contact for more information. Future hikes can be found at


Giving back with style

Sarah Watkins, Sarah Krueger, gay news, Washington Blade, Caramel

Caramel owner Sarah Watkins (left) with Sarah Krueger (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

What better way to take care of yourself than to buy a new outfit? My favorite clothing boutique in Washington is Caramel Boutique, owned and operated by Sarah Watkins since June 2006.

Watkins drew inspiration from her grandparents who owned and operated independent grocery stores for 40 years. Growing up in a family business environment, Watkins always hoped to open her own business one day. She’s spent most of her professional career managing educational programs and fundraising for non-profit organizations. Watkins continues to work part-time as a professional fundraiser while she manages Caramel. The store is named after Sarah’s grandfather’s favorite candy.

Caramel is located on what I call the wellness loop of U Street at 1603 U Street, NW. Across the street is VIDA, Bang Salon, Fit to be Tan and some restaurants. On this strip, you can do everything for your own self care. In one fell swoop, you can do the wellness loop and tend to your hair, nails, gym, tan, eat and finish with an all new wardrobe from Caramel Boutique.

Caramel Boutique stocks international, national and local designers, belts, jewelry and ever-changing artwork. Sometimes there’s only one or two of the hottest fashion choices so nobody else in fashion-starving D.C. is wearing the same thing. Also, Watkins hosts art shows there for local artists on a monthly basis, gratis. But Watkins is not just a one-trick clothes horse with a flair for fitting and a knack for procuring awesome clothes. Her generosity and support for the LGBT has been ongoing since the store opened.

Watkins has hosted Team D.C., the D.C. Sentinels Basketball Team on several occasions and the Cherry Fund in April 2011 for an evening of fashion with local designer, Andrew Nowell. Twenty percent of the sales for the evening went to HIV/AIDS prevention.

Watkins, also fully supports several local businesses and endeavors. Monthly she hosts local artists for evenings of art and shopping.  On Thursday, Watkins once again offered up her store, this time for a new local health, fitness and wellness professionals group that I originated in November by hosting the group’s first networking and business development meet-up, again gratis.

On Feb. 21 from 6 to 8 p.m., Watkins and Caramel host the first of PFLAG’s multiple events scheduled for the year. These events help celebrate, commemorate and raise money in honor of PFLAG’S 30th anniversary .The 30/30/30 project will result in 30 events, with 30 attendees at $30/person throughout the D.C. metro area. Artist Linda Button will donate 30 percent of art sales and Caramel will donate 30 percent of retail sales during the event.

In addition to being the hostess with the absolute mostess, Watkins, a straight ally, makes financial contributions to the D.C. Sentinels, The D.C. Center for its Fall Reception and the Cherry Fund. She never misses a Gay Men’s Chorus performance.

When I go out on the town I am dressed exclusively by Sarah Watkins and her fantabulous designs at Caramel Boutique. Isn’t it time you bought some new clothes so you too can look and feel your best?  Spring fashions will arrive in the store and will be hot off the racks in February. Come and leave dressed as if you don’t live in Washington.

Caramel Boutique store hours are Thursday and Friday from noon-8 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday from noon-6 p.m. Further details about the store can be found at


Basketball showdown

sports, basketball, gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade photo by Tyler Grigsby)

Just a few days before the March Madness NCAA Tournament kicked off nationwide, the D.C. Sentinels cooked up a little madness of their own.

The playoffs and championships of the inaugural Washington D.C. Gay Basketball League were held on March 14 at St. Albans School. Team NOMA, sponsored by K&C Productions, claimed the league’s first title.

The D.C. Sentinels, whose members have been playing pick-up games and representing D.C. in tournaments since 1984, had long hoped to create a league for the local LGBT sports community.

“It has always been a plan of the D.C. Sentinels to start a league,” says Tim Francis, Chair of the D.C. Sentinels. “We were just waiting for the right timing.”

The “right timing” came about when Jeffrey Richardson, former director of the Mayor’s GLBT Affairs office, arranged a meeting with the Sentinels and Jason Wilson, associate athletics director/facilities of George Washington University.

The Charles E. Smith Center at the University had two hours available on Thursday nights and the planning began along with Sam Williams from the University for the League to run for eight weeks from January to March.

The two-hour opening at the Charles E. Smith Center meant that the League capacity would be 80 players on 10 teams. The League slots filled up immediately with many players from the current D.C. Sentinel’s roster of 40 joining in.

“We had some great crossover from other LGBT sports such as softball, kickball and flag football,” Francis says.

The D.C. Sentinels are members of the National Gay Basketball Association and the League ran five-on-five basketball play under modified rules from the national association.

Following the conclusion of the League, the Sentinels returned to their regular schedule of pick-up games. Thursday and Saturday games are held at Turkey Thicket with occasional play at Westland Middle School.

Coming up on April 20-21, the Sentinels will travel to Chicago for the Coady Roundball Classic which will feature roughly 35 LGBT basketball teams from across the United States.  The Sentinels will be sending three squads.

On July 19-20, the Sentinels will play host to a tournament here in Washington. Details of the event will be announced in the next month.

As for the League, plans are already being made for the next season to run this summer from June to August at George Washington University.

“No one wants to be inside on the weekends in the summer,” Francis says. “We will once again be looking for the League to run on Thursday nights.”

I was a spectator at the League championships on March 14 at St. Albans School. There was encouraging cheers from teammates, players fouling out (that’s six fouls), confrontations with referees and great action from all the players. I was thoroughly entertained.

March Madness has nothing on them.

The D.C. Sentinels can be found at The League can be found on Facebook under Washington D.C. Gay Basketball League.


Events galore for summer

Swimmers, summer, sports, gay news, washington blade

Swimmers bunched together to maximize drafting during a race. The 22nd annual Maryland Swim for Life is slated for July. (Photo by David Lutz)

The District of Columbia Aquatics Club hosts the 22nd annual Maryland Swim for Life on July 13 on the Chester River. The event features one-, two-, three-, four- and five-mile races. Also this year, the swimmers are partnering with the D.C. Triathlon Club to offer a 2.4 mile Triathlon Challenge.

Proceeds from Swim for Life support a number of small local organizations such as Heart to Hand, Quality of Life Retreats, Metro TeenAIDS and the Chester River Association. More information on the event along with volunteer opportunities can be found at

The D.C. Strokes Rowing Club hosts its 20th annual Stonewall Regatta on June 2 on the Anacostia River. This year’s event features 33 races in a variety of disciplines for men and women. Also on the docket are mixed races and different levels of adaptive races. The Strokes are online at

The Chesapeake and Potomac Softball League will be hosting the NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series from Aug. 26-31 at three separate complexes in the area. The tournament, the largest annual LGBT sporting event in the world, will welcome 170 teams participating in more than 600 softball games.

In total, they are expecting more than 4,000 athletes and fans visiting Washington for the weeklong tournament. More information on the event is at The League can be found at

The D.C. Front Runners will host Pride Run 2013 on June 7 at 7 p.m., an event of friendly competition, fun for the community and a celebration of pride. The event is the inaugural running of a chip-timed 5K run and walk coinciding with the festivities of D.C.’s Capital Pride week.

The race will begin at the historical Congressional Cemetery with a course that follows the Anacostia River toward RFK Stadium and back. More information is at

The D.C. Sentinels have opened registration for the second season of the Washington D.C. Gay Basketball League. The summer league kicks off on June 5 and runs for 10 weeks at Trinity Washington University. Registration is first come first serve and is located on the website at

The inaugural Freedom Sports Festival will kick off July 18-21 with six sports being contested all within the D.C. city limits.  Local LGBT sports teams will come together to host tournaments in beach volleyball, golf, racquetball, kickball, ballroom dancing and basketball.

The Festival will open at the Team D.C. Champions Awards and College Scholarship reception on July 18. Registration for the tournaments will open soon and will be posted at

The DC Gay Flag Football League will send teams to compete in Pride Bowl VI in Chicago from June 27-30. Last year, 24 teams from across the United States contested in the event with one of the D.C. squads just missing a spot in the championship game. The flag football league is

The World Out Games will be contested from July 31-Aug. 11 in Antwerp, Belgium in 33 different sports. A contingent from D.C. will be attending and a uniform has been organized for the opening ceremonies. More information will be at

And finally, a big thank you to Jason Collins from the Washington LGBT sports community. Collins became the first American of a major professional sports league to acknowledge being gay while being an active player. The news brought statements of support from the Washington Wizards, NBA star Kobe Bryant, former President Bill Clinton and President Obama among others.


Year in review: Getting in on the action

The CAPS in action. (Photo courtesy Billy Richardson)

The CAPS in action. (Photo courtesy Billy Richardson)

This year was another incredible one for the LGBT sports community of Washington. There was an abundance of tournament play, leagues and national recognition.

Also, the continuing support of straight sports allies was bolstered by the creation of the You Can Play Project. The project was founded within the National Hockey League by Patrick Burke of the Philadelphia Flyers and has crossed over into other sports. They seek to challenge the culture of locker rooms and spectator areas by focusing only on an athlete’s skills and not his or her sexual identity. More info is at

Team D.C., the local LGBT sports connection, continued to set the standards for all LGBT sports communities. In 2012, its members awarded college scholarships to six local LGBT student athletes. Their popular United Night OUT series now includes events with seven Washington professional sports franchises.

Their efforts were also recognized nationally this year by the Compete Sports Network.  The organization is at

The Federal Triangles Soccer Club hosted the Women’s Winter Wrap-Up Indoor Cup in March and the Rehoboth Beach Classic in August. Along with play in various local leagues, members also hosted the Summer of Freedom League. They can be found at

The District of Columbia Aquatics Club traveled to Reykjavik, Iceland in May where members captured second place in the large team category at the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Championships. In July they hosted the 21st annual Swim for Life, a fundraiser for HIV/AIDS as well as local watershed organizations. They are on the web at

Puck Buddys, the D.C.-based nationally recognized ice hockey blog, continues to entertain with their banter throughout the mess of the National Hockey League lockout. The blog is located at

The Stonewall Kickball league maxed out on their league cap of 480 players in both of their seasons in 2012. Look for continued success in 2013. They can be found at

The D.C. Sentinels basketball team traveled to three national tournaments in 2012 winning the Upper B-Division at the Hurricane Classic in Fort Lauderdale.

In January, they will launch the first season of the Washington D.C. Gay Basketball LeagueMore information on the group is at

The D.C. Gay Flag Football League had another stellar year hosting their spring season and growing to 270 players in their fall season. All the league action including videos is at

Charm City Volleyball hosted the Charm City Invitational 28 in April with one of their squads winning the BB Division. Their information is at

The Capital Area Rainbowlers Association continues to offer multiple bowling leagues and in October hosted the annual Capital Halloween Invitational Tournament.

On Monday they will be hosting New Year’s Bowling Eve from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. at Bowl America Shirley in Alexandria. More info is at

The D.C. Strokes Rowing Club hosted Stonewall Regatta XIX in June. At the end of August, their Men’s Heavyweight B 8+ team brought home the gold at the US Rowing Master National Championships in Worcester, Mass. The Strokes are at

The Chesapeake and Potomac Softball League (CAPS) completed a successful 2012 softball season. In October they hosted their annual tournament, the Mid-Atlantic Gay Invitational Classic.

In August of 2013, the CAPS will be hosting the 37th annual North American Gay Amateur Athlete Alliance Gay Softball World Series in Washington. The CAPS can be found at

The Washington Renegades Rugby Football Club wrapped up two successful seasons of league play this year with both squads having winning records. The Renegades compete in Division III of the Potomac Rugby Union and their Reds squad and won Hellfest in Dallas for the second year in a row. More info is at

The Adventuring outdoors group continues their summer bike series and weekly year round hikes. This is the “go to” group for anyone wanting to get outside and learn about the rich history of D.C. area. Their schedule is at

All the local LGBT sports teams and clubs can be found at Thanks to all of them for a great year.