After getting fed up with organized sports being such a boys club, Anne Barr took it upon herself to create an intramural crew specifically for women: the Decatur Womens Sports League. Since 2007, the league has spread the love of softball, basketball, tennis, volleyball, badminton and bowling to over 1,000 budding athletes in the greater Atlanta area.
How did you start the Decatur Womens Sports League?
Some girls that I knew from church asked me to coach softball for them, because they knew of my sports background. After we started having games, I decided then that I was going to start my own league for the city of Decatur. On our opening day, I saw 200 lesbians with grins on their faces coming over the hill. That was about two and half years ago.
How many women are in the league?
We have 1,000 women playing six sports, which are softball, bowling, tennis, volleyball, badminton and basketball.
What was your personal motivation for getting involved with sports again?
Im a recovering alcoholic, Ive been sober for eight years now. Creating this league was a chance for me to have a place for people to come and have fun. Having all these people depending on me keeps me sober and it reminds me why Im doing all of this.
Describe the women in the league.
We have women who are anywhere from 20 to 60 years old. Some of the women are really good athletes and some have never even played the sport before. The main goal is that we go out there to have fun.
Who can join the league?
Were inviting all women; it's not just a gay league. I really try to stress that to people. We just like to come together and play and have a good time.
What is your sports background?
I started playing competitive sports at the age of 9. I played sports at Lakeside High School. After I graduated high school, I started playing for the Atlanta Star and it became really competitive. I realized then that the more competitive the sport became, the less fun it was for me.
What are some of the challenges involved with running the league?
The challenges we have are mainly fields; they're hard to come by, especially lighted ones. Everyone has to share the same fields with each other, and sometimes it can be really difficult. I keep buying lottery tickets. When I win, Im going to build a sports complex.
(Photo by Joeff Davis)
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