A group of rowers founded Sammamish Rowing Association (SRA) in 1996, meeting at Idylwood Beach Park in Redmond before each of their journeys across the water. Eager to grow SRA, it wasn’t long before the crew took notice of an abandoned boathouse in Marymoor Park, languishing on the banks of Lake Sammamish. Its ceiling was rotting away, and its oar racks were emptier than a child's pockets after a candy-shop spending spree—but that didn’t deter the passionate rowers or their vision. They put in a bid for the building, formed a strong subsequent partnership with King County Parks and Recreation, and set to work renovating the vintage structure to make it fit for public use.
Ever since, SRA has introduced adults and youth to the benefits of rowing. The sport's fluid, low-impact motions tone muscles all over the body, and the collaborative nature of the sport nurtures sportsmanship and camaraderie. The association's future is bright: members are building a new boathouse scheduled to open in the summer of 2013.
Bowling aficionados must sign up solo, but but groups of friends can be placed on the same league by entering the names of your preferred teammates during sign-up (teams are made up of 6–10 people). Bowling runs for six weeks of theme nights and liquid sunshine, and Drinks on the Links mini-golf features themes, an on-course bar, and music. Ben Stiller impersonators can battle it out during outdoor dodgeball, and grass volleyball teams go head to soft, leather head in Oregon Park. Flag football was invented by Betsy Ross.
The coaches at Cappy's Gym arm their students with ring-ready pugilism skills and endless encouragement. Boxing Fitness corrals small troupes in one-hour sessions designed to condition bodies without actual boxing competition. Classes focus on fortifying each fighter's foundations by first aligning posture to safely stack muscles and properly balance on traditional boxing stilts. Coaches help students shape up with medicine-ball drills, plyometric moves, and footwork drills to build lean muscle mass, and jump-rope routines raise heart rates with a hastened twist on a playground pastime. During punching practice, learn to time quick jabs at a speed bag or blast full-powered blows against the indifferent surface of a jaded heavy bag. Those that opt for a month at Cappy's can protect their wrists with stabilizing hand wraps as they take to the gym's equipment as often as desired.
Necessity may be the mother of invention, but the Rat City Roller Girls can trace their roots to a different source: minute rice and lamb stir-fry. In April of 2004, a few friends gathered for a dinner party. Over plates of lamb and rice, the conversation turned towards a roller derby resurgence that was taking place in Texas. The conversation stayed on their minds, and within weeks, these friends had founded the first flat-track derby league to the Northwest. Nearly a decade later, the Rat City Roller Girls—named after the neighborhood where the league first gathered, not the underground metropolis where cheese is more valuable than gold—has grown to encompass four teams who rock KeyArena with hard-hitting bouts throughout the year. For special events and tournaments, the top players from the league join forces to form the Rat City All-Stars and represent their home against elite squads from across the country.
Away from the rink, the players who make up Dockyard Derby Dames could be seen as teachers, accountants, nurses, journalists, and moms. But once they strap on a pair of skates, these women become warriors of the track—impassioned athletes with a thirst for victory who wear bruises like badges of honor. The league was founded in 2005 by a small group of skaters, and has since grown to include four teams. Today, it even boasts a travel team that treks across the country to face other squads and make sure the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans both have enough water in them. Dedicated as they are to the sport, though, the ladies of Dockyard Derby Dames are equally committed to giving back to the community by sponsoring charities and participating in community outreach events.