If Summer Olympics leave you wanting to be a contender, local sports groups can help

Area sports clubs, businesses could be your Olympics springboard

ctruman@herald-leader.comAugust 13, 2012 

So you watched Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings swoop into the sand in Olympic beach volleyball and win gold and you said to yourself, "Hey, I could do that!"

Well, at least you could have fun in the sand, even if you lacked the exquisite musculature, years of conditioning and split-second balletic coordination with which that duo are blessed.

Various Lexington-area organizations fill the needs of those who want to have fun with the sports they saw being rewarded with Olympic medals.

But who do you contact? What do you buy?

At the University of Kentucky, sports clubs set up booths and put up informational posters to court newcomers. Skill levels vary from those who might have seen the equipment involved to those who have been competitive players.

Consider badminton. If you just have a racket and a shuttlecock, there might be a place for you.

"A lot of people are more interested nowadays," said Howard Brim, who runs the UK Badminton Association, which accepts participants with any degree of training. "We have a huge mixture of levels."

At the association's height it had about 30 participants, mostly graduate students. Now it has about 15 to 20, puzzling, since the sport is popular in countries such as China, Indonesia, Malaysia. England and Denmark.

For men's volleyball, "I have not received nearly as many calls as I normally do," said Shane Derringer, president of UK Men's Volleyball.

But, like Brim, he said interest picks up during freshman arrival and activities recruitment in the fall. Students start checking into the dormitories Friday.

However, beach volleyball is already going great guns with hundreds of area participants. said Bryan Campbell, league commissioner for Bar Lexington Sand Volleyball.

"We have seen an uptick and we do every time the Olympics comes on," Campbell said. "To get beach volleyball interest, being a landlocked state, you have to get them started somewhere."

At its peak, Campbell's group has about 750 people playing.

"We're pretty busy every night," he said.

Check out the Web site at Hometeamsonline.com/?aviovolleyball

Chuck Lombardo, manager of the archery range at The Vineyards at Longview in Georgetown, said this is the time of the year when archers get busy — but not necessarily because of the Olympics.

"Because hunting season is right around the corner, people get their bows out and start practicing," he said. "We've got some folks who shoot here who have won on the national level. They're outstanding archers."

Check out the group's page on Facebook.

R&R Archery in Georgetown (Randrarchery.co) is also seeing a boomlet in interest in archery — but again, not because of the Olympics.

Blame it on Katniss and The Hunger Games.

Rod Karr, owner of the store, said pop culture has made archery cool "not because of the Olympics but because of The Hunger Games, The Avengers, Spider-Man and Batman."

And when younger people take up a hobby, their parents follow, Karr said.

"Now Mom and Dad are wanting to do what the kids are doing.

"Like curling was in the last Olympics, archery is in this one. The rest of the world has been behind archery for many years. The United States is just catching up."

Cheryl Truman: (859)231-3202. Twitter: @CherylTruman.

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