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Sports & Rec Blog

Showcases and spotlights local high school sports and sports leagues. Recreational resources are also reviewed.

Donations, game sales raise $10,000 for former Walton soccer player


Former Walton soccer teammates, from left, Madison Stewart, Erin Holt and Katie Long hang out at a fundraiser for Holt at Walton High School on Saturday. Holt was hit by a drunk driver last fall and suffers from traumatic brain injuries. More than $10,000 was raised to pay her medical bills. (Special to the MDJ)

Soccer is a way of life for Erin Holt.

After playing on the Walton women’s team for four years in high school, she moved to Savannah to play another four at Armstrong Atlantic State University. She earned all-conference honors and appeared in the national final four during her college career.

But not long after her career came to a close, tragedy struck.

On Halloween night 2013, Holt was hit by a drunk driver during a visit to nearby Statesboro. Exactly what happened still isn’t known, but it has changed life for Holt, her family and friends, forever.

Suffering from severe injuries both mental and physical, Holt, 24, is five months into what her parents hope will be a two-year recovery process.

Her father, Ben Holt, is closing down his interior construction business to take care of her full time. To help offset staggering medical costs, a fundraiser was held last Saturday night at the boys and girls Walton-Lassiter soccer games.

Sallie Winokur, an organizer of the event and former Walton soccer booster club president, said more than $10,000 was raised that night through concessions, tickets and donations. Though Lassiter is a big rival, its athletic department agreed to promote the event and donate all the proceeds to Holt as well.

“There’s a saying in soccer that ‘you’ll never walk alone,’” said Winokur, whose daughter played with Erin. “That’s how we feel. We are a big family.”

Holt hasn’t played for the Raiders since 2008, the year she graduated. Still, her father said the school is a tight-knit community. Ben Holt took over barbecuing before games during the 2007 season. But even after his daughter graduated, he still cooked before a handful of games the next season, and even worked concessions as late as the 2011 football season. Erin’s older sisters, Lindsey and Ragan, also are Walton graduates.

The family moved to Cherokee County after Holt’s injury to be closer to relatives. Still, Ben Holt was beyond impressed with the turnout at the games.

“It was just awesome,” he said. “It far exceeded anything we ever expected.”

Times in Savannah

Erin Holt loved Savannah, according to her father. She moved there before her freshman year in college and stayed on the coast after her last season ended in 2012. Most of her friends on the team had stayed in the area and she was working at a local apartment complex.

Holt’s time with the team had been a success as well. The team made the Division II final four and claimed three Peach Belt Conference championships.

Ben Holt was expecting his daughter might stay in the Savannah area permanently, and he was fine with that. But a dreaded late-night phone call changed all of that.

“The officer on the scene called us pretty much immediately because he knew it was severe,” said Ben Holt. “They told me she had suffered a stem injury … I didn’t expect her to make it through the day.”

The driver was an acquaintance of Holt’s. The family is supposed to meet with the local district attorney’s office in the coming weeks as the investigation continues. But the bigger focus for the Holt family is on Erin’s recovery.

“Our goals and plans are for her not to be a victim, but to be victorious about this,” her father said. “So far, she’s been a champion.”

Recovery could take two years

Holt suffered severe brain trauma and was in a vegetative state after the accident. In that type of situation, science can only tell so much. Her family had to wait and see.

But Erin made it through that night, the next one and the one after that. She spent a long time in a Savannah trauma center. Slowly, she began to show signs of recovery.

Today, she is starting to speak again and can use some of her limbs as she undergoes rehabilitation at Shepherd Pathways. Her father estimated she’s at 40 percent of her previous self, but recovery periods can last up to two years. Ben Holt, Winokur and everyone else who knows Erin Holt hopes she makes a lot more progress before that time frame is up.

“She’s already doing better than they thought she would,” Winokur said.

More fundraisers have been planned, such as a golf tournament April 25 a Woodstock’s Bradshaw Farms golf course. There is a donation page for Erin Holt at Holt also has a Facebook page set up called Push Forward 25 and a website,

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Written by Haisten Willis, April 17, 2014. Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – Donations game sales raise

Open House at Women’s Premier Fitness


Women’s Premier Fitness will host an Open House event and one day membership sale on Tuesday, April 22. New clients will receive $0 down and the first 60 days FREE with a 12 month commitment when you present the ad above.

Women’s Premier Fitness offers FREE childcare, 60 group fitness classes per week and affordable small group and personal training, plus a luxurious spa.

Visit Women’s Premier Fitness at 4961 Lower Roswell Road or online at


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How To Find The Best Day Camp For Your Child

Day camp button from cover

If there is ever a reminder that a parent’s calendar has nothing to do with the date at hand, let me welcome you to camp season. Moms and dads are already mulling over which camps to send them to in mid-winter. Here are a few suggestions to make your day camp choices easier.

Ask Your Kids
Camp should be about fun. This is a chance for children to blow off steam, try new things and do the things they love to do in the great outdoors (or in well air-conditioned indoor places). So ask your kid where she wants to go for camp. She may want to go with friends or to a certain camp with the activities that appeal to her. Get the lowdown from your child first, to
shape everything else.

Ask Around
Of course, your child’s request is not the only criteria you need to bear in mind. You still have homework to do, such as asking other parents, even other kids about where they’ve
gone or will go to camp. You can read brochures and websites that will present lots of information, but nothing tells you about social interaction, age appropriateness of activities and quality of staff
like a fellow parent or your kid’s friends.

Take a Tour
Go see the camp, preferably with your child. Ask the guide (hopefully it’s the camp director or assistant director) what the philosophy of the camp is. Ask about the organization of the
camp, the costs, how long it’s been in business, the camper return rate and the activities. If they seem thrilled, you’ve got something. Go ahead and ask your child what they like or dislike even
before you leave the tour, so you can get questions answered.

Ask About the Staff:
Whether you do the tour or not, there are a couple of vital areas of information you need. One is about the staff, including what the staff training is, what the counselor-to-camper ratio is. For younger children, it should be five to eight kids for every counselor, and for kids over 9, it should be eight to 10 kids for every counselor.

Consider the Heat
It gets real hot in Georgia. Be sure the camp you choose has adequate shade and air-conditioned indoor areas for when it gets scorching.

Be Safe
Heat is just one safety consideration. You need to ask about medical training of the staff and the proximity of a hospital. If you tour the campus, check out the equipment for  accident proneness.

Good luck in your efforts to find a great camp. There are loads of them out there. And remember, camp is not supposed to be a training ground for lawyers, doctors and captains of industry, so don’t over-think your choice. Choose fun first and last and you’ll choose correctly.

(Reprinted and abridged from Written by Gregory Keer)


Make summer memories with our 2014 Summer Camp Guide. Click HERE to visit the EAST COBBER 2014 Camp Guide.

Southeast Premier Mustangs seeks additional players


The Southeast Premier Mustangs (Sandy Springs / Perimeter) are looking for two players to fill out their 14u roster and possibly one player each for the 12u and 13u rosters.

SEPA Baseball is comprised of competitive 10u, 12u, 13u and 14u teams. Rosters are capped at 12-13, ensuring lots of playing time. Coaches are paid professionals with solid baseball backgrounds including professional and collegiate playing and/or coaching experience. Teams will play 8-10 tournaments between April and the end of June.

The team fees will be prorated to exclude the fall workout time. Don’t miss out on the great opportunity to join an established travel baseball program.

If your player is interested, call Mark Heiser at (404)429-4210 or Scott Cain at (678)598-1095.


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Marietta Derby Darlins Skate their Way to Fun

marietta derby darlins

“Roller derby”– for many, that brings up memories of the bash-‘em-up brawls from the 70’s, complete with flying elbows and skaters sailing over the railing. Thanks to teams such as the Marietta Derby Darlins(MDD), flat track roller derby has undergone quite the makeover and is now a hot, fast-paced, full contact team sport that is quickly becoming a fan favorite.

The roller derby sport requires constant, strategic movement, quick thinking and is addictively fun to each of the 25 members of the Marietta Derby Darlins. Co-captain Dina Casso aka “Dolce
Vita”, Vice President/Secretary Lena Carstens aka “Adelaide Slammit”, Fresh Meat (roller girl in training) Shanna McCormick aka “Chimera Kai,” and head referee Amber Kincaid Hrabovsky aka “Roxy Razor” all hail from East Cobb.

According to East Cobb resident and MDD head referee Amber Hrabovsky,” I was immediately drawn to the kinship of the sport! The Marietta Derby Darlins are very much a sisterhood in addition to a sports league, . . . I’m honored and proud to work with this league in an official capacity. I’ve seen them grow so much as a league and a team in the year I’ve been with them, and I’m so excited to see where they have yet to go. At this point, we’re all growing and learning together, and I’m confident that the league will continue growing in skill and popularity in our community.”

The Marietta Derby Darlins, now in their third season take these competitive bouts seriously – they practice three times per week year round, with bouts scheduled between February and October.

Watch the team don their protective gear and zip around on their quad skates as they ‘power jam’ and utilize ‘tricks’ to outscore opponents. Bouts are family-friendly and usually include fun half-time entertainment. You can catch the Marietta Derby Darlins in action at the Cobb County Civic Center located at 548 South Marietta Parkway in Marietta on May 3 at 4pm. Tickets: for ages 13+ are $12 in advance, $15 at the door; Kids 6 – 12: $8 and kids age 5 and under are Free.

Want to meet the Marietta Derby Darlins? Make plans to attend their FanFest on Saturday, April 12 from 4 – 7pm at McCray’s Tavern at 4500 West Village Place, Smyrna GA 30080.

Want to take it to the next level and become a roller derby girl? Ladies aged 18+ can attend try outs on Thursday, April 17 at 7:30pm at the Northeast Cobb YMCA located at 3010 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta 30062. More information about the Marietta Derby Darlins can be found on their website:

(Reprinted from the April 2014 issue of EAST COBBER. Written by Dana diLorenzo)


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Pickleball: There’s a new game in town


Cobb PARKS is offering a new program called Pickleball and there will be an exhibition 10 a.m., Tuesday, April 8, in the gym at Fullers Recreation Center, 3499 Robinson Road, Marietta. Pickleball ambassadors will demonstrate the very basics of the game. Open Pickeball sessions will begin at Fullers on April 14 and run 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Mondays-Fridays, through May 30.

Pickleball is a simple game designed for all ages and any athletic ability level. The game combines elements of badminton, tennis, racquet ball and ping-pong, and is played on a badminton-sized court. It is played as a singles game or doubles game.

Lost Mountain Tennis Center will offer Pickleball lessons beginning April 14. Some equipment, including paddles and balls, will be provided. Lost Mountain is located at 4845 Dallas Highway, Powder Springs. For more information, call Traci Thomas at 770-528-8525.


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Walton Volleyball Spring Meeting is Monday April 21


Photo credit Todd Hull, Marietta Daily Journal

The Spring Meeting for Walton Volleyball will be on Monday April 21, 7pm in the Walton Theatre. This meeting is open to all who have participated in the program in the past or may be interested for the future. At the meeting you will hear about the upcoming summer programs and camps in which your athletes can participate. Information will be shared about teams and tryouts for the competitive teams that will take place late in the summer and also the opportunities to participate in the Booster Club.

Attend on the 21st as Walton begins to defend their streak of four consecutive State Volleyball Titles.

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Register for Walton Youth Football off-season camp


The Walton Youth Football Program will be hosting an off season camp to help kids learn, understand and develop their football skills.  The camp will be run by Walton Youth Football Coaches and former Division I football players.  The camp is designed for current players and kids that want to learn more about the game.

Camp will be held June 23-27 from 9am-noon each day at Fullers Park Football Field. The camp is open to students grades K-5 and the cost is $150. Registration includes a Walton Youth Football t-shirt and a party on Friday. Register at Registration includes a Walton Youth Football T-shirt and a party on Friday.


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Make summer memories with our 2014 Camp Guide

Day camp button from cover

Don’t let summer days get lost in a haze! Keep your kids entertained all summer long while they make new friends, hone their skills or pick up a new hobby.

There is so much for your kids to experience in and around East Cobb County we might need a bigger internet! Our 2014 Summer Camp Guide is chock full of opportunities to enrich your child’s summer break so click HERE to visit the EAST COBBER 2014 Camp Guide and make this summer memorable!


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Pope fencing to hold summer camp

Pope High School Greyhounds

Following a successful 2013-14 season, the Pope Greyhound Fencing Club is holding its sixth summer camp. The camp is open to rising 6th grade and higher students of any school as well as home schooled students in the same age groups. No experience is necessary and equipment will be provided for new fencers. Experienced fencers are also welcome

The summer camp will be held at Pope High School July 14-17, 2014. The camp day runs from 9am-3pm. For more information, visit


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