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Gearing up for the Games

Kris Pritchard, gay news, Washington Blade

Kris Pritchard says he enjoys the team unity and diversity he’s found with the Washington Wetskins. (Photo courtesy Alison Marian Fraser)

Kris Pritchard, a former high school swimmer, had always been curious about the sport of water polo. After his job as a high school math teacher brought him to D.C. in 2007, he decided to check out a Washington Wetskins water polo practice.

“I had not been in a speedo since my high school swimming days and showed up to my first practice in board shorts,” says Pritchard, laughing. “Everyone else was in speedos so I ran right out and bought one.”

Now 31 and working in higher education evaluating accreditation standards for college programs, Pritchard found the Wetskins to be more than willing to teach basic water polo skills to a beginner.

When he joined the team, he was also hoping to meet other gay men outside of the bar scene and was surprised to find that the Wetskins had evolved from their days as a primarily gay team. Half the team is straight females and there are a lot of straight men.

That’s not as big of a surprise as one would think as many of the LGBT sports teams in D.C. have become a mix of gay and straight athletes. The Wetskins still have their speedos firmly planted in the LGBT community though, and this summer will send a mixed team to the 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland.

“Everyone who plays on this team knows that they have to come in with an open mind because everyone thinks it is a gay team,” Pritchard says. “In 2008, we hosted the water polo portion of the International Gay & Lesbian Aquatics Championships (IGLA) in D.C. and in subsequent years we competed at IGLA in Reykjavik, Iceland and Seattle, Washington. Half of our team will be straight at the Gay Games this summer.”

Pritchard, who is from Pittsburg and graduated from Ohio University, became obsessed with the sport of water polo after joining the Wetskins. Leading up to his first Gay Games, he will be training with the Wetskins two days a week and swimming with the District of Columbia Aquatics Club at least two days a week.

“One of the things that I love about water polo is the team sports aspect,” he says. “It feels great to share success as a group. I feel like the Wetskins are a representation of where society is going as a whole. Gay, straight, men, women; No one asks what you are unless they want to sleep with you. Nobody knows and nobody cares.”

Pritchard says that his teammates have become his best friends and that even outside of the pool, he sees them all the time.

“They are cool, chill people,” he says. “We spend a lot of time in the water up close and personal with hardly any clothes on. It’s a natural progression to bond outside of the pool.”

For his trip to the Gay Games in Cleveland this summer, Pritchard is looking forward to seeing the different sports and the larger scale of LGBT athletic community. He is also hoping to connect with some old college friends who are still in the area.

One thing he won’t be doing is wearing board shorts. He will be rocking a speedo, and loving it.


Triple threat

David Lutz, TriOut, D.C. Triathlon Club, gay news, Washington Blade

David Lutz of TriOut, a gay subgroup of the D.C. Triathlon Club. (Photo courtesy Lutz)

In 2011, the D.C. Triathlon Club began a loosely organized effort to reach out to the large number of LGBT athletes in the area.  In 2013, the club began a more formal outreach spearheaded by club members David Lutz and Jonathan Montet.

This year, with its club member list swelling upwards to 1,500 athletes, the Club launched a pilot project to begin segmenting its athletes into affiliate triathlon teams. The first new affiliate is TriOut, which will consist of athletes from the LGBT community and their friends. Also launching soon is MoCo Mafia (Montgomery County).

“We thought about forming our own entity,” Lutz says. “But with so many great programs already in place at DCTri, this was the best choice for us.”

Athletes interested in joining TriOut will receive the full benefits of the Club, $50 membership fee and will receive a member kit geared specifically to the TriOut athletes.

“We are just launching this project and the support has been amazing,” Lutz says. “There are already 69 members on our Facebook page.”

All club training events will be available to new LGBT team members along with some extra training rides, runs and swims to bolster an inclusive team feel. In the works for later in the summer is an intense training weekend in Lost River, W.Va., where attendees can expect to spend a three-to-four day weekend cycling, running, swimming and recovering with yoga workouts.

In addition to the club’s featured races, TriOut team members will compete in several LGBT-interest races.

“We will be sending athletes to the D.C. Frontrunners Pride Run and the District of Columbia Aquatics Club’s Swim for Life,” Lutz says. “In August, we are hoping to send at least 10 members to the Olympic-length triathlon at the Gay Games in Cleveland.”

Lutz competed in his second Ironman in Copenhagen last August followed a week later by an Olympic-length triathlon in Stockholm. He was awarded “Most Improved Triathlete” by DCTri for his accomplishments in 2013.

Currently, the TriOut members are holding happy hours every second Thursday of the month and the location rotates around the various bars in the area. Coming up in March is the first quarterly mixer with multiple local LGBT sports teams, which will feature the D.C. Gay Flag Football League, the D.C. Frontrunners and TriOut.

Interested athletes will also get a chance to talk to the triathletes one on one at the annual Team D.C. Sportsfest to be held in April. Over this past weekend, I was in attendance at the virtual Pride House event at the HRC for the Sochi opening ceremonies. I ran into Washington Wetskins water polo player Kris Prichard, who enthusiastically told me about training for his first triathlon with some of the inspiration coming from TriOut.

Welcome to the Team D.C. family, TriOut.

Stay tuned for the announcement of yet another LGBT sports team in the coming weeks.


DC Aquatics win world title

DC Aquatics Club, gay news, sports, swimming, Washington Blade

Members of the DC Aquatics Club recently returned home from a competition in Seattle. (Blade photo by Kevin Majoros)

The District of Columbia Aquatics Club (DCAC) recently returned home to DC after competing in the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Championships (IGLA) in Seattle.  Since winning their first IGLA world title in 1995, DCAC has been hard to beat, racking up a total of 10 IGLA titles. The championships are held each year with every fourth year off during the year of the Gay Games. The only teams that have managed to defeat DCAC since 1995 are New York Aquatics, Paris Aquatique and Team Florida.

“We were happy to see New York Aquatics step up and take the title in 2012,” said swimmer Neill Williams after DCAC came in second in Iceland. “But we will do what we can to win it back in 2013.”

The DCAC team showed up in Seattle with 69 swimmers in tow on Aug. 12 for five days of racing in 51 events. There were 38 teams from around the world competing at this year’s championships.


Over the past two decades, DC Aquatics has had a large core of strong swimmers who have continued to swim fast into their 40s, 50s and 60s. This year’s meet in Seattle saw the emergence of a new crew of 20 and 30-year-olds, to compliment the older swimmers, including some strong female swimmers. Points are scored by age groups in five-year increments. Each age group competes in all 51 events and each person is limited to five individual events and four relays.

After two days of racing, DCAC held a small lead over New York Aquatics. On day three, the records started to fall and the strength of DCAC’s relays proved too much for the New York team. The DC swimmers pulled away in commanding fashion to win their 11th IGLA championship in the large team category.  The Long Beach Grunions won the medium team category and the Philadelphia Fins won the small team category.

Also on hand from DC for the championships were 12 players from the Washington Wetskins water polo team. After several matches during the week, the Wetskins captured 5th place in the water polo competition. The championship match was won by San Francisco Tsumadre.

Other sports contested during the week were synchronized swimming, open water swimming and diving. The diving events included a judging appearance by Olympic diver, Kent Ferguson.

After all the pool events are concluded, IGLA always wraps up with the ever popular Pink Flamingo Follies.  The event is a judged pool deck and water performance set to music and is generally filled with camp and drama. The DC Aquatics performance was set in the Emerald City Starbucks and told the story of Dorothy and Glinda falling in love despite the attempt by the evil dominatrix Wicked Witch of the West to take Dorothy for herself. After getting married, the happy couple rode off into the sunset on blow up Orcas accompanied by their Speedo-clad entourage. DCAC was awarded second place for the performance.

Next year there will be no IGLA, but DCAC will be in Cleveland for the Gay Games.

My DCAC teammates showed determination, endurance and camaraderie during the week of IGLA. Each race was a fight for the wall especially seen during the relays when most everyone posts times faster than their individual swims. Also, a big thank you goes out to the Washington Wetskins for joining us in the swimming events to make our presence even more formidable.

I would also like to share a couple things about my teammates who are among the people that are breaking down stereotypes about the LGBT community.  I am referring to the stereotypes that still exist about our athletic abilities and the things that define us as human beings.  Jeff Dutton and his partner, Kei Koizumi came to compete in Seattle directly from competing at the Out Games in Antwerp, Belgium in swimming and track & field.  Brady Phillips and his partner Matthew Hoffman came to compete in Seattle after five days of hiking in the Cascades Mountains. And Dana Connors wrapped up his week of swimming by heading off to compete in a full Ironman Triathlon.

And finally, Michael Parisi, who brought hundreds of people to their feet during his swim in the grueling 200-meter butterfly. There is a special bond that happens between people when the human spirit triumphs over the limits of the human body.  The moment Parisi hit the touch pads at the end of his swim; he was a hero to everyone in the natatorium.

Congratulations DC Aquatics.  See you in Cleveland.

Results of IGLA are at  Videos can be found under the CCE Sports Network tab.

DCAC can be found at

The full list of medal winners can be found at the online version of this story.

DCAC Medal Winners:

Missi Duprey  1 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze

Victoria Garborcauskas  5 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze

Noura Hemady  6 Gold, 3 Silver

Sara Hewitt  4 Gold, 3 Silver

Alison LaBonte  2 Gold, 2 Silver

Katie Lancos  1 Gold, 4 Silver, 3 Bronze

Elizabeth Lester  3 Gold, 3 Silver

Molly Lincoln  9 Gold

Erin Maehr  7 Gold, 2 Silver

Janna McDougall  3 Gold, 3 Silver

Sarah Quincy  6 Gold, 2 Silver

Charlotte Schou  3 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze

Meridith Stakem  7 Gold, 2 Silver

Ellyn Vail  3 Gold, 3 Silver

Lindsey Warren-Shriner  9 Gold

Lucas Amodio  9 Gold

Peter Beard  1 Silver

Ted Bockius  3 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze

Jason Bricker  2 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze

Justin Burkhardt  6 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze

Dana Connors  1 Gold, 1 Bronze

David Crane  4 Silver, 1 Bronze

John Crowe  1 Gold, 3 Silver, 1 Bronze

Jose Cunningham  6 Gold, 3 Silver

Nicholas Davidson  3 Gold, 1 Bronze

Fred Dever  2 Gold, 6 Silver, 1 Bronze

Steven Dickens  1 Silver

Andrew Frampton  3 Gold, 4 Silver, 1 Bronze

Craig Franz  2 Gold, 5 Silver, 1 Bronze

Brendan Garvin  3 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze

Greg Gentry  1 Silver, 1 Bronze

Eric Grasha  4 Gold, 2 Silver, 3 Bronze

Todd Harvey  4 Gold, 1 Silver, 4 Bronze

Geoff Heuchling  7 Gold, 2 Bronze

Jonathon Horsford  2 Gold, 1 Bronze

Robert Jeter  2 Gold, 2 Bronze

Matthew Kinney  2 Gold, 2 Silver, 4 Bronze

Erich Klothen  1 Gold, 2 Silver

Kei Koizumi  1 Bronze

Joseph LaBriola  6 Gold, 3 Silver

Ross Linderman  1 Gold, 1 Silver, 3 Bronze

Kevin Majoros  1 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze

Jeff Mead  5 Gold, 4 Silver

WonKee Moon  6 Gold, 1 Silver

Dawson Nash  1 Gold, 4 Silver, 1 Bronze

Sedric Nesbitt  4 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze

Michael Parisi  3 Bronze

Kris Pritchard  2 Gold

Paul Quincy  5 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze

Matthew Quinn  1 Gold, 3 Bronze

Brendan Roddy  1 Gold, 2 Silver, 4 Bronze

Michael Saxvik  1 Gold, 2 Bronze

Evan Schlank  2 Gold, 3 Silver, 2 Bronze

Dustin Sigward  6 Gold

Sam Smedinghoff  1 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze

Fraser Smith  1 Silver

John Tustin  1 Gold, 2 Bronze

John Vail  1 Gold, 6 Silver 2 Bronze

Peter Volosin  7 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze

Neill Williams  9 Gold

Stanford Young  4 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze


Team DC gearing up for busy fall

DCGFFL, D.C. Gay Flag Football League, sports, gay news, Washington Blade

The D.C. Gay Flag Football League starts its new season Sept. 7, while so much more awaits Team DC teams this fall. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

As the summer cools down, many LGBT sports leagues are just heating up. From Flag Football to Diving, Team DC has a wide array of LGBT sports opportunities this fall.

The Federal Triangles, D.C.’s LGBT soccer organization, kicks off its Rehoboth Beach Classic tournament over Labor Day weekend today (Friday) through Sunday. Participants are still needed. Members can register for $87.26 and non-members for $97.49 at

The Triangles have indoor and outdoor coed, women’s and men’s teams over the fall. The Turkey Bowl, an annual tournament for all skill levels, is held each year the Saturday before Thanksgiving, with a potluck dinner party afterward.


Membership dues are $50 each year. Visit to become a member and find other ways to get involved.

The Capital Tennis Association has a fall league that runs from Sept. 17 through Dec. 29. The Capital Classic XXI Tournament is Sept. 13-15, with doubles and singles tournaments at the Rock Creek Tennis Center (16th and Kennedy streets, N.W.) and the East Potomac Center (1090 Ohio Dr., S.W.). Registration ranges from $70-130. For more information and to register, visit

The Capital Tennis Association has six leagues that play weekly and three remain open, including Saturday Singles at Hains Point (972 Ohio Dr., S.W.), Saturday Faixfax Doubles and Sunday Fairfax Singles (9860 Lee Hwy., Fairfax, Va.). All skill levels are encouraged. Registration ranges from $165-330. Visit for more information and to register.

The Washington Wetskins water polo team hosts its annual Columbus Day Classic tournament on Oct. 12 at the Takoma Aquatic Center (300 Van Buren St., N.W.). Teams can register for $100 before Sept. 17, or for $450 afterward.

The Wetskins practice each week on Monday and Wednesday nights at the Takoma Aquatic Center. New members can register monthly for $30, quarterly for $90 or annually for $300. For more information on the tournament and to register, visit

The D.C. Gay Flag Football League kicks off its seventh season on Sept. 7. The teams play every Sunday from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at Carter Barron Fields (16th and Kennedy streets, N.W.) and on Friday nights at Randall Field (820 South Capitol St., S.W.). All skill levels are welcome.

The game schedule for the fall is TBA. Registration is full, but those interested can be put on a waitlist. For more information and to be waitlisted, visit  

The Chesapeake and Potomac Softball league starts its fall season on Sept. 7, with registration through Sept. 2. The group plays every Saturday through Oct. 12, with teams playing at 10 or 11 a.m., or noon or 1 p.m., at the Tucker Road Complex (1771 Rucker Rd., Fort Washington, Md.). Registration is $30. For more details and to register, visit

The Lambda Links Golf Club continues membership through Oct. 31. The league hosts two fall tournaments, including the Club Championship on Sept. 7 and the Oct. 27 Halloween Tournament, with times and locations to be announced.

Lambda Links play at a variety of courses in the area, such as the Poolesville Golf Course (16601 West Willard Rd., Poolesville, Md.). Membership is $20 after Aug. 15. All skill levels are welcome, but members are expected to have played 18-hole rounds of golf and know “golf etiquette.” For more information and to register, visit

The Lambda Divers, an LGBT scuba diving group, host a diving trip to Curacao, an island in the Caribbean, from Sept. 21-28. The trip is part of the International Gay and Lesbian Diving Jamboree, and requires a minimum deposit of $515.

Two-year membership dues for Lambda Divers range from $30-67.50. To register and for more information on the Curacao trip and the group, visit

The D.C. Front Runners start back up their regular fall Saturday “fun run” on Sept. 7 from 10 a.m.-noon at 23 and P Streets, N.W. The “Fun Run” is their most popular weekly run, and includes 3-, 4- or 6-mile runs through scenic Rock Creek Park.

The Front Runners will also be participating in the “Arlington Police, Fire and Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5K” run on Sept. 7 at the Crystal City Double Tree Hotel (300 Army Navy Dr., Arlington, Va.) at 6 p.m. The 9-11 Memorial 5K draws over 25,000 participants each year, and raises up to $400,000 for 9-11-related charities, like the American Red Cross and Wounded Warrior Project. Registration is $40.

The group will have a lot of races during the fall and participate in many more marathons in locations all over D.C. and as far as Baltimore and Philadelphia. For more information and to register for events, visit

The Washington Renegades rugby league start their season on Sept. 7, which lasts through Nov. 23. Practices are held every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at Cardozo High School (1300 Clifton St., N.W.).

Matches will take place each Saturday, with times and locations TBD. Membership for fall recruits is $50, and full-year membership is $100. For more information and to register, visit


Rowing into the record book

D.C. Strokes Rowing Club, sports, gay news, Washington Blade

Fall sports: The D.C. Strokes Rowing Club in action. (Photos by Rachel Freedman; used with permission)

With the fall season upon us, all the LGBT sports leagues in Washington are already in action. Several of the local teams have recently wrapped up successful tournament action and several more have tournaments approaching.

The D.C. Strokes Rowing Club ( sent 15 rowers to the Out Games in Antwerp, Belgium in August to compete against athletes from all over the world. They returned home with a Gold, four Silver Medals and a Bronze.

The Strokes will pack up their boats for the winter in November and continue their ergometer and cross-training indoors until spring.

The Capital Tennis Association ( hosts the Capital Classic XXI this weekend. The event will include matches in singles, doubles and mixed doubles.

Open and B draws will be played on clay and A, C and D draws will be played on hard courts (indoor and/or outdoor). The tournament will be contested at the Rock Creek Tennis Center and the East Potomac Tennis Center at Hains Point.

The CCE Sports Network, the nation’s only live web streaming online gay and lesbian sports network, will stream live coverage.  It has showcased more than 200 tournaments, matches and games on its site.

The Network recently covered the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatic Championships where the District of Columbia Aquatics Club captured the world title. Check out live tournaments and archived videos at

The District of Columbia Aquatics Club brought home an amazing 384 medals from the IGLA championships in Seattle in August along with setting several IGLA world records on their way to winning the world title. The records, in short course meters, are as follows:

Lindsey Warren- Shriner (25-29): 1500 free — 19:33.06

Lucas Amodio (18-24): 50 back — 27.65; 50 fly — 26.35

Meredith Stakem (30-34): 50 free — 28.31

Neill Williams (45-49): 50 back — 29.32; 50 fly — 26.78

Jose Cunningham (55-59): 100 IM — 1:10.20

Jeff Mead (55-59): 50 back — 34.37

Men’s relays:

72-99: 4 x 200 free relay — Lucas Amodio, Dustin Sigward, Evan Schlank, Joe Labriola — 8:43.82

72-99: 4 x 100 free relay — Lucas Amodio, Joe LaBriola, Peter Volosin, Paul Quincy — 3:40.15

72-99: 4 x 50 free relay — Joe LaBriola, Paul Quincy, Peter Volosin, Dustin Sigward — 1:42.31

200-239: 4 x 50 medley relay — Neill Williams, Jose Cunningham, Geoff Heuchling, Stan Young — 1:58.71

200-239: 4 x 50 free relay — Neill Williams, Jose Cunningham, Geoff Heuchling, Stan Young — 1:45.15

DCAC will host the annual Columbus Day Classic swim competition on Oct. 12 at the Woodrow Wilson Aquatic Center in D.C.  Information on the event is at

The Columbus Day Classic will also feature a water polo tournament hosted by the Washington Wetskins water polo team. The event will be contested at the Tacoma Aquatics Center on Oct. 12-13. More information is at

Local bloggers Puck Buddys ( are gearing up for the start of the 2013-2014 National Hockey League (NHL) season. This season they will have 15 contributors covering their respective NHL teams and they have begun to zero in on coverage of the Sochi Olympics and the Russian anti-LGBT laws.

They recently posted a Q&A with a Russian hockey journalist about the cultural and historic roots of homophobia in Russia. Coming up for the bloggers is an interview with a gay journalist who is traveling to Sochi to cover the Games in February.

The D.C. Ice Breakers ( will host their next social skate on Wednesday from 8:10-9:20 p.m. at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington. The fee for skating is $8 and skate rental is $3.  After the skate, they will host a social hour at Bailey’s Pub.

Ski Bums ( have posted their 2014 group trips for skiing and snowboarding. The list includes Steamboat, Colo.; Snowshoe, W.Va.; Jay Peak, Utah; Lake Tahoe, Calif.; Chugach Mountain, Alaska; and Granite Peak, Wis.

The D.C. Gay Flag Football League ( will be sending at least two of its travel teams to Gay Bowl XIII in Phoenix from Oct. 10-14.

The Chesapeake and Potomac Softball League ( hosted 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, welcomed 170-plus teams that participated in more than 600 softball games.  Results are at

The D.C. Sentinels basketball team will open registration in October for the winter edition of the Washington D.C. Gay Basketball League (  The League will be a 10 week season including playoffs along with team practice days. Registration is on its site.

Team D.C. and the Federal Triangles Soccer Club and D.C. United co-host United Night OUT ( Sunday at 4 p.m. as D.C. United take on L.A. Galaxy at RFK Stadium.

The event is part of the Team D.C. Night OUT Series and is a great opportunity for the LGBT community to experience a professional soccer match in a safe and welcoming environment. Tickets available at the Night OUT website.


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


Happy hour hangout

Stonewall Bocce, gay news, sports, Washington Blade

Stonewall Bocce league players at a recent Nellie’s happy hour. (Photo by Kevin Majoros)

After spending several years in New York City and Chicago where the bar scene tends to have a neighborhood vibe, Doug Schantz came to D.C. hoping to recreate that neighborhood feeling when he launched Nellie’s Sports Bar in 2007.

“The original premise of Nellies was to create a neighborhood hangout for people to watch professional sports,” Schantz says. “I wanted to establish a friendly and approachable atmosphere where patrons would want to bring their friends.”

In a roundabout way of reaching the community, Schantz decided to focus some attention on the local LGBT sports teams. He began sponsoring leagues and tournaments and encouraging LGBT sports clubs to have happy hours at Nellie’s.

“Without any compromise, we sponsor any league that comes to us,” Schantz says. “We do it without any doubts.” The sponsorships turned out to be an incredibly good marketing strategy as almost all the LGBT sports athletes of D.C. live within a 3-5-mile radius of Nellie’s.

Another thing that Nellie’s has brought to the LGBT sports community is crossover in the sports teams. The teams are holding mixers together and it has resulted in athletes participating in multiple sports.

“The growth and awareness of LGBT sports in Washington D.C. can be credited in large part to Doug Schantz,” says JJ Johnson, a D.C. Gay Flag Football League board member. “He has given the LGBT sports leagues seed money, support and a place to go.”

If you happen to stop into Nellie’s on a Thursday night during the fall season, you’ll be surrounded by upwards of 80 people running around in T-shirts with Stonewall Bocce on the front and Nellie’s Sports bar on the back.

“Nellie’s Sports Bar and Doug have been amazing partners for us,” says Brien Bell, commissioner of the Stonewall Bocce League. “Years ago when we started Stonewall Bocce, Doug welcomed us to his home (Nellie’s) and was genuinely excited about partnering with us. He took a risk when others would not, because he believed in the value of sports like bocce and the importance of supporting our community. Five years later, he continues to support, motivate and inspire us. Stonewall Bocce would not be what we are today without Nellie’s.”

That kind of worship for Nellie’s is common among the leaders of the D.C. gay sports community. Who else has a bar that is crafted to their needs? Today, Nellie’s has evolved beyond professional and LGBT sports.

“Watching college sports has become a big portion of our business,” Schantz says. “I also predict that within five years, straight sports teams will begin coming to us for sponsorship.”

Following is a partial list of the LGBT sports clubs that meet at Nellie’s:

Every Saturday is CAPS Softball League (eight teams) beginning at 1 p.m.

Every Sunday is DCGFFL Flag Football (20 teams) beginning at 3 p.m.

Every third Tuesday is D.C. Rollergirls happy hour from 5-7 p.m.

Every second Tuesday is D.C. Singles Volleyball happy hour from 5-7 p.m.

Every first Friday (winter) is Ski Bums happy hour from 5-7 p.m.

Every other month, D.C. Strokes has a happy hour from 5-7 p.m. (dates vary).

Every other month (spring/summer) CTA Tennis has a happy hour from 5-7 p.m. (dates vary).

Every first Tuesday is D.C. Furies Women’s Rugby happy hour from 5-7 p.m.

Every Thursday is Stonewall Bocce Night beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Every first Wednesday is Team D.C. Velo (cycling) from 5-8 p.m.

Every second Thursday is Washington Wetskins (Water Polo) night from 5-8 p.m.

Every third Friday is Lambda Divers (Scuba) happy hour from 5-7 p.m.

Every fourth Tuesday is Ping Pong Madness Night beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Every fourth Thursday is Capital Splats Racquetball Club happy hour from 5-8 p.m.

Every fourth Wednesday (winter) is Washington Wolves Ice Hockey Club happy hour from 5-7 p.m.


Sports: Gearing up for action

Team DC Fashion Show, gay news, Washington Blade

Last year’s Team DC Fashion Show (Washington Blade file photo by Pete Exis)

Every spring, the LGBT athletes of the Washington sports community come together to host the Team D.C. Fashion Show and Model Search. This year, it’s on March 9 at Town.

This year’s show features donations of latest fashions from Skiviez, UnderBriefs, Body Aware, Fireboy, Underwear Station, Adam & Eve and Universal Gear. You can purchase the apparel right off the models during the auction.

The event is a fundraiser for the Team D.C. College Scholarship Fund which provides scholarships to local, openly gay student athletes. You can vote for the models before the show online at

Stonewall Kickball will kick off its spring season on March 17 with games being contested every Sunday through May 19. Registration will close once they reach their max of 480 players. More information is at

The District of Columbia Aquatics Club will compete in regional tune-up meets leading up to the International Gay & Lesbian Aquatic Championships in Seattle to be held Aug. 12-17.  The swimmers will be looking to take back their world title from Team New York Aquatics. They are online at

The Chesapeake & Potomac Softball League (CAPS) will be holding early registration events in March with the spring season beginning on May 5 at Watkins Regional Park. Later in the summer, the CAPS will be looking for volunteers as they host the Gay Softball World Series Aug. 26-31. You can find the CAPS at

The Federal Triangles Soccer Club will host the annual Women’s Winter Wrapup Indoor Cup on March 24 at the Rockville Sportsplex. Information is forthcoming as the Triangles will once again host the Summer of Freedom League. Details will be available at

Season six of the D.C. Gay Flag Football League began Feb. 24 with play to continue through April 21 at the Carter Barron Fields. Players can still get on the waitlist by going to

Lambda Links will begin its weekend golf outings in April with the first golf tournament, the President’s Cup to be held in May. Tee times will be listed at

Registration is now open for the spring season with the D.C. Strokes Rowing Club.  You can sign up for the Learn to Row, Club or Competitive Programs. There is a pre-season camp to be held from March 15-17. Information is at

The spring season for the Washington Renegades Rugby Football Club began last month with practices at Cardozo High School. The Renegades will travel to New York City for the Four Leaf 15s Tournament on March 23. They are online at

The Ski Bums hosted a great day trip in February to Seven Springs and are not quite ready to let go of winter as they are currently in Niseko, Japan. This August, they will be traveling to Argentina to check out some South American powder. Trip details are at

The Rainbow Spinnakers Sailing Club will ramp up their weekend sails in the Chesapeake Bay in the coming months. Meet up with the sailing enthusiasts for some skipper training or just go along for a relaxing ride. You can join their mailing list at

Charm City Volleyball hosts its social play on Wednesday nights and competitive play on Sunday afternoons. On April 27-28 they will be hosting Charm City Invitational XXVIII.  Information is at

The Washington Wetskins water polo team is also gearing up for the IGLA Championships in Seattle this August. You can meet up with the players at the Wetskins Mixer at Nellie’s on March 14. They are on Facebook under Washington Weskins.

For all you hockey fans, there will be a Night OUT at the Capitals viewing party on April 6.

The D.C. Icebreakers will host the event and offer a bonus skate from 6-7 p.m. at the Capitals Practice Rink at the Kettler Iceplex in Arlington. Following the skate, the group will head to Baliey’s Pub to watch the Capitals take on the Florida Panthers at 7:30 p.m. The skaters are at

The Adventuring Outdoors Group has a great list of hikes planned for the spring season. It’s a great time of year to tag along with the hikers to enjoy the flora and fauna of the Washington area. They will also launch their “If It’s Warm Enough” bike ride series this weekend. The trip list is at

Registration spring tennis is now open for singles and doubles with the Capital Tennis Association. The outdoor leagues will run from March 16 to May 5 and will be held at the Rock Creek Tennis Center. You can register at

George Washington University, a longtime supporter of the LGBT sports community, has invited all volleyball players to their open courts at the Smith Center. This is open to all levels of players for $5. The next dates are March 5 and March 19 from 7-9 p.m.

You can find more information about spring sports outings such as basketball running, ultimate frisbee, rock climbing, racquetball, horseback riding, scuba diving and dancesport at


Wetskins water polo team stay busy

Washington Wetskins, LGBT sports, gay news, Washington Blade

The Washington Wetskins (Photo by M.V. Jantzen)

Washington is home to the longest continuously operating LGBT water polo team in the United States.  Founded in 1985, the Washington Wetskins have represented the D.C. area in numerous national and international competitions.

Over the years, the Wetskins have traveled to such varied places as New Orleans, San Francisco, Paris, Amsterdam and Reykjavic, Iceland.

The Wetskins current active roster consists of about 20 women and 20 men.  Practice is held on Monday and Wednesday nights at the Tacoma Recreation Center.

The team is self supported with annual dues ranging up to $300. Financial assistance can be offered to those unable to meet the dues structure.

They are members of the USA Water Polo Association as well the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics (IGLA) organization.

While it helps to be a strong swimmer, the Wetskins accept newcomers of all levels. They have even been known to teach people how to swim with practices that include drills and skills clinics.

Water polo, like many other sports only seems to appear every four year at the Olympics. It is actually played competitively year round and men’s water polo was among the first team sports introduced at the modern Olympic Games in 1900.

When water polo shows up on television during the Olympics, I often hear friends asking questions about the player’s gear. The caps are worn to identify the two teams and also to protect the ears from being injured.

As for the swimsuits, small and tight fitting are the best options. For both men and women, this style diminishes the chances of the opponent being able to grab onto the suit.  Women especially need their swimsuit straps to be tight so their opponents have no chance of pulling on them.

In terms of rules, water polo is most similar to team handball and also shares some similar rules with ice hockey.  As for action in the water, there are similarities to open water swimming and even wrestling.

As a former water polo player myself, the sport can be as grueling as it is exciting. During the course of a competitive match, the players will endure constant movement in the water for up to an hour with a few very short breaks.

Water polo players need incredible stamina because of the constant underwater holding, pushing, elbowing, kicking and even scratching that occurs during the game. All of which are technically illegal, but a constant factor in advanced competitions.

According to longtime Wetskins member, Tom Woodruff, “If the referee can’t see it, the referee can’t call it.”

And in many cases, the referee just ignores it.

In 2008, the Wetskins hosted the water polo portion of the IGLA World Championships in D.C.  I was lucky enough to attend the championship match in College Park.

The match was really intense and the skill level was incredible. It felt like both teams were out for blood.  Afterwards, I rode the shuttle bus back to D.C. with the players. Some of the players were sporting black eyes, gash marks and Band-Aids, yet both teams were joking and laughing.

“That isn’t surprising,” says Woodruff. “The LGBT water polo community is small and everyone knows each other.  They can fight ferociously in the water and then be friendly out of the water.”

Coming up for the Wetskins are the 2013 IGLA world Championships in Seattle and the 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland.

The team can be found on the web at