The crack of the bat is as linked to spring as leaves sprouting from trees, but this year the Decatur Women’s Sports League will pause to remember a fallen friend before taking the field.
Laura Zekoll — sailor, pilot, business owner and a founding member of the Women’s League — was lost at sea in November and is presumed dead. She was participating in a yacht race when the boat she was in capsized and she was washed out of the lifeboat. Her body was never recovered.
Zekoll, 46, was a fixture of several nonprofits, including Breakthrough House for women dealing with addiction, and played on a number of Atlanta’s gay and lesbian sports teams.
The Decatur Women’s Sports League first began in March 2007. With softball as the initial sport, 200 happy lesbians (and allies) finally found a league of their own. From that point on, the sports interest grew and additions were made that included bowling, basketball, tennis, volleyball and badminton.
“With much diversity and a cooperative spirit these women all played recreation ball, made friends, got exercise and donated money to the Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative to help underinsured women to go to the doctor and receive mammograms and health care,” says Anne “Sarge” Barr, founder and commissioner of the league.
The Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative honored Barr with its 2008 “Healing Angel” award for her work with the sports league and the money it has raised. As of Fall 2010, the Decatur Women’s Sports League has donated $50,000 to the health initiative.