Recreational activities numerous in the area
Recreational enthusiasts will find a variety of activities for all members of the family in both the winter and summer season in McMinn and Meigs counties. Heres just a sampling of whats available in the area.
In the past year, most of the communities in McMinn County belonged to an independent baseball league, which is for players ages 5-14.
Etowah does have one group which remains affiliated with Dixie Youth for boys and girls ages 7-12.
The Athens-McMinn YMCA has a tee-ball league for the younger players. The Y number is 745-4904.
Meigs County is affiliated with the Dizzy Dean organization for ages 5-14.
Notices for tryouts and contact numbers for the various leagues are run well in advance of each season, usually in March or early April, in The Daily-Post Athenian.
BMX bicycle racing is a sporting venue started by Mark Preskitt.
The track is located on North Congress Parkway. Children of almost any age and experience can participate on race day, Thursdays and Fridays, or simply practice on Tuesday, from 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
For more information, see the Web site at http://www.athensbmx.com
The SouthEast Tennessee Athletic Conference is for boys and girls ages 6-14 and is divided into four age groups. Eligibility is determined by age and not by weight.
Teams are located in Englewood, Rogers Creek, Meigs County and Copper Basin.
The Grasscutters are ages 5-7, Pee Wees ages 8-9, Midgets 10-11 and Juniors 12-14. There are no weight restrictions.
Sign-ups are held in July and the regular season begins with a jamboree in late August and the regular season starts the following week. The Meigs County, Etowah, Riceville, Copper Basin and Englewood leagues are operated independently.
The contact person in Rogers Creek is Butch Terrell; in Englewood is Joe Guy or Bob Cass; and in Meigs County is Roger Trew.
Cheerleaders are also a big part of the program and each team boasts squads to lend support at each game.
Etowah and Riceville are members of the Sequoyah Conference, which does have some weight restrictions. Their team ages are 6-7, 8-9, 10-11 and 12-14.
The contact person in Etowah is Darrell King and the contact person in Riceville is Billy Vestal.
Soccer is comprised of both boys and girls teams in Athens, Etowah and Englewood who may compete with and against each other as well as teams from neighboring Monroe County.
Last year, the McMinn County Soccer League, affiliated with the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) had more than 275 players participating.
There are also several independently run competitive soccer teams for girls and boys that play in leagues around the Knoxville area.
There are two seasons, one in the fall and again in the spring.
Again, sign-up times and contact numbers are printed in the newspaper well in advance each season.
Athens has five sites for tennis, including the Tennessee Wesleyan College campus and city-operated courts at Ingleside, Athens Junior High and Heritage Park.
The Athens Parks and Recreation Department conducts a summer session of tennis lessons for all ages and levels of play. Also included is the annual Athens Open Tennis Tournament with divisions for all levels and ages, including juniors, adults and 35-and-over.
The number for Athens Parks and Recreation is 744-2704.
Etowah and Englewood also have city-operated courts.
Athens, Englewood, Meigs County, Niota, E.K. Baker area and Etowah have youth basketball leagues.
The YMCA conducts the Athens program for boys and girls co-ed teams while the Etowah Junior Pro league is independently operated with separate teams for boys and girls.
The Englewood league is also independently operated.
Several basketball camps are offered in Athens each summer. Notices appear often and well in advance in The DPA.
The YMCA also offers a basketball instructional camp each summer.
For more information on the YMCA, see the Web site at http://www.athensmcminnymca.org
The McMinn County Summer Swim League, which holds meets at the YMCA, consists of three teams: City of Athens, Englewood and Etowah.
The meets consist of 80 events with age groups for boys and girls ranging from 6-and-under, 8-and-under, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14 and 15-16.
For more information, visit the public pool in your community or call the YMCA.
There is also a winter and summer swim team sponsored by the YMCA that includes swimmers from across the county and competes in meets against teams from other parts of Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia and also competes with other teams in Knoxville.
Debra Inman, who also serves as the local high school swim coach, is also the coach of the YMCA Sea Dragons.
For more information, call Inman at the YMCA at 745-4904.
By far the largest adult summer activity is the Athens Softball League, sponsored by the Athens Parks and Recreation Department. More than 500 adults participate in the league as a whole.
The mens leagues are divided by level of play in three divisions, the Capital League, Tennessee League and Volunteer League. There is also a division for church-affiliated mens teams.
The Womens League has only one division. Games are played at Fisher Field and the Athens Regional Park.
For more information, call the Athens Parks and Recreation Department at 744-2704.
Girls Fastpitch Softball
In recent years, several independent girls fastpitch softball teams have been formed in various age groups.
Notices and tryouts usually appear in the paper during the spring months.
McMinn and Meigs County have five golf courses, four of which are open to the public.
Privately-owned Springbrook Golf and Country Club has an 18-hole course. The members-only clubs also has a swimming pool and tennis courts at its Niota facility.
Ridgewood is a public facility located midway between Athens and Etowah with an 18-hole course and driving range. White Oaks Golf Club is an 18-hole course complete with a driving range. The public facility is located just off Highway 30 west toward Decatur.
Lakehaven is located in the southern end of Meigs County. The nine-hole public facility is located adjacent to the backwaters off the Hiwassee River.
Willow Springs is an 18-hole course located at the north end of the Highway 11 bypass.
In addition, Rarity Bay, an 18-hole course is open to the public in neighboring Monroe County and affiliated with the Tellico Village Lake Resort.
Also in nearby Madisonville is a publicly-owned nine-hole course.
Cleveland in neighboring Bradley County also has three 18-hole golf facilities – the privately-owned Cleveland Golf and Country Club and publicly-owned Rolling Hills and Cherokee Springs.
Chilhowee Rod and Gun Club
Located just outside the Athens city limits, the Chilhowee Rod and Gun Club caters to those with an interest in fishing and hunting, both with bow and gun. Call 744-3926.
One of the most scenic whitewater rafting venues in the nation is located in Polk County about 45 minutes from Athens.
The Ocoee River, controlled by the Tennessee Valley Authority, is open on most weekends and several weekdays throughout the summer to rafting, kayaking and canoeing enthusiasts.
The Ocoee was the site of whitewater competition in the 1996 Summer Olympics hosted by Atlanta.
Several whitewater and rafting outfitters are located near the river to provide supplies, guides and other essentials.
The Hiwassee River in Polk County is a good spot for trout fishing and rafting.
Watts Bar Lake and Tennessee River
Watts Bark Lake, created by the Tennessee Valley Authority dam on the Meigs County-Rhea County line, is about a 25-minute drive from Athens.
Along with the usual activities of sunbathing and skiing,Watts Bar and the Tennessee offer better-than-average fishing for rockfish, large and smallmouth bass, crappie and catfish.
Several marinas and boat docks service the area along with a public beach and boat ramps provided by TVA.
TVA also operates public campgrounds in the area.
The Foshee Pass Campground may be reached at 334-9871 and the Hornsby Hollow Campground number is 334-9875.
Hunting and fishing licenses can be obtained from local sporting goods outlets such as Wal-Mart and Kmart in Athens, the McMinn and Meigs courthouses and Etowah Hardware.
The Athens-McMinn Family YMCA, which can be reached at 745-4904, includes a basketball court, running track, racquetball court, pool, exercise and weight-training room.
A wide variety of programs is offered including aerobics (and other related fitness programs), gymnastics, volleyball, basketball leagues, swimming lessons (and other water-related programs) and much more.
The YMCA is open Monday-Friday from 6:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Several membership programs for single adults, students and various family groups are available.
The Y also offers reduced-rate memberships through corporate sponsorships. Check with your employer to see if you can join through the company.
A day care, after-school care and summer daycare program is also available at the YMCA.
Day Camp is held during the summer and gives youngsters an opportunity to learn arts and crafts.
The YMCA also offers family health programs and Youth Government Legislature.
For more information on the YMCA, see the Web site at http://www.athensmcminnymca.org
Team Outdoor Store is a bike club which offers competition among its team members in a variety of racing styles.
The club also participates in Toys for Kids rides in October and December, along with helping to sponsor the annual Mouse Trap Race in coordination with the Athens Parks and Recreation Department.
For more information, call Pam Blevins at The Outdoor Store, 423-507-9006.
Soap Box Derby
The Athens Parks and Recreation Department sponsors a regional qualifier for the All-American Soap Box Derby.
Winners in the local event, which is held each June, advance to the national race held in July.
For more information, call the Recreation Department at 744-2704.