There’s a whole world of sports in Savannah that you won’t necessarily hear about through your school. They open a door to meeting new people, whether they’ve lived here all their lives or moved here just like this year’s incoming college crowd.
Savannah Derby Devils
Savannah’s own roller derby team was started in 2006 and has gained a wide following since then with around 1,500 spectators attending each bout, according to a founding member of the team, Dana Bynum.
On the team itself, there’s an even distribution of ages ranging from 19 to early 50s. While the team isn’t heavy on college students, anyone 18 and up is allowed to participate. Not only are these women diverse in age, many other things set them apart. But, a love of the sport brings them together.
“We’ve got a physician, nurses, stay at home moms, professionals, female mechanics [that are team members]... There are some people who are covered head to toe in tattoos and some people who are pretty conservative, church–going moms. I really can’t label or pigeon–hole a roller girl at all,” says Bynum.
Without this sport, it’s hard for her to see how all of these women would have been brought together. “I’m hanging out with people that probably in any other area of my life I would have been disconnected with.”
A typical bout at the Civic Center is where these roller women can display their talent and is meant to be a fun evening that can be enjoyed by anyone, even if you don’t know a thing about roller derby. The next bout is Sept. 29. For more info visit www.savannahderby.com/.
The Savannah Sabers is a women’s football team that is relatively new, with only two seasons under their belt. It started out as a small team with just a few ladies that wanted to play and has grown into a nonprofit organization from there.
“Another thing that we’re trying to do is just go out and help young girls be more assertive and have more confidence in doing things that they just normally can’t do,” says head coach Paul Snider.
Snider cares about developing women’s confidence because he’s got three daughters of his own. His twin daughters wanted to play football, but were told that they couldn’t. He quickly realized, “they just weren’t going to get their fair shake.”
The team already has a few college–aged women that play, but is always looking for more young women that are interested in playing. “We’ve grown from just trying to grab anybody to fill a team to going more athletic. We’re looking for high school and college–aged young ladies to fill that role,” Snider says.
To be a part of the team or find out ways to support these women visit savannahsabers.com/.
Savannah Adult Recreation Club
The Savannah Adult Recreation Club offers kickball, flag football, volleyball and is looking to start an ultimate frisbee team. These sports are ones that aren’t offered in colleges and are lifetime sports that can really be played at any age. The majority of athletes are in their 20s, but the only rule to play is that you must be 18.
The teams are pretty laid back and practice for games at their own convenience. All of the games are played in Savannah, which only makes it easier for college students to participate. The price doesn’t hurt either –– about $30–$40 a person.
It’s easy to start up your own team if you already have the number of people to make a full team, or you can sign up as an individual and get placed on a team. “It’s definitely a great way to meet people. One of these teams has been here since the beginning, and they’ve made so many friends that they started a second team and even a third team,” says Andrew Jones with the Savannah Adult Recreation Club.
There are bars that act as sponsor bars all over Savannah that allow the teams to come there and drink after the games. “It tends to be very social as well as just about the sports,” says Jones.
Chatham Area Rowing Association (CARA)
CARA started in 2007 as a way to continue rowing in Savannah after SCAD’s team was cut. The founder, Scott Nohejl, was head coach for SCAD’s team and wanted to keep rowing in Savannah.
You don’t have to be experienced to participate. The program is geared to take someone who knows nothing about rowing and get them out on the water in about 7 weeks, with practices only twice a week. If a group has more time to devote, the program can be accelerated.
“It’s hard to fit schedules inside of schedules. One of the drawbacks of offering an adult team is that everybody else has a life, says Joey Morcock, one of CARA’s coaches. “It’s a delicate balance, and I think we’ve found a pretty good pitch with it right now.”
This rowing association is available to high school students from any high school in the area and also to college students from any of the colleges in the area. It’s a melting pot for all students.
All Out Kiteboarding
If you’re into individual water sports vs. team water sports, kiteboarding may be your option. All Out Kiteboarding is on Tybee Island and is the island’s go-to place for kiteboarding lessons and gear.
Business partners John Mapel and Mike Campanaro had a profound love for kiteboarding and decided to open the store in 2009. Apparently, Tybee Island has good conditions for kiteboarding.
“It’s a really good spot, and at the time, no one else was really focusing on kiteboarding. We thought it would be a really good thing to do in the area,” says Mapel.
You can take individual lessons or have a small group and learn to kiteboard with friends. Mapel says that they would also love to work with students in colleges that want to start a kiteboarding club. They are already working with Georgia Southern and FSU and would like to work with local colleges as well.
The store also rents paddleboard gear and offers land–kiting lessons. Visit alloutkiteboarding.com.ll Out Kiteboarding is located on Tybee Island and is the island's go to place for kiteboarding lessons and gear.