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In 1969, Hilton Head Island was a different place: full-scale development was only just beginning, and infrastructure was limited. And the racial tensions roiling across the rest of the country could be felt on the small island.

It was an unlikely spot for the launch of a racially integrated youth football program.

ROWING CLUB OFFERS FITNESS, CAMARADERIE

In gyms around the world, people are rowing. Their hands grasp handles that simulate oars, and they slide back and forth on seats anchored to pulleys. Their bodies become fitter, but rowing machines don’t do much to improve the soul.

Consider instead the workout experienced by members of the Palmetto Rowing Club: On a recent weekday, Broad Creek was calm, refreshed after a pre-dawn shower. At 8 a.m., the sun was warm but not hot, and a breeze moved over the rowers as they prepared to launch their boats. A blue heron sat on a piling, watching several men and women work together to carry the long, brightly colored sculls to the water and fit their oars in place. Because rowers face backward in their boats, club members almost glided past a pair of bottle-nose dolphins before they saw them.

HILTON HEAD’S ORIGINAL WAVE RIDERS SHARE THEIR LOVE OF THE SEA WITH A NEW GENERATION

Surfing wasn’t really a thing in South Carolina until the 1960s, when military personnel from the West Coast and Hawaii arrived during the Vietnam War and began paddling out in search of waves in Charleston and Myrtle Beach and on Hunting Island.

And though a few of these surfers made their way to Hilton Head Island, the sport remained mostly off the radar through the ’60s. That changed in 1971, when Hamp Sewell, a former East Coast surfing champion, and his wife, Sissy, started Kindred Spirits, a camp for kids that included surfing instruction. Soon they were taking young proteges to competitions around the state.

NEW PLANS COULD BOOST PLAYING SPACES IN GREATER BLUFFTON

The population growth in greater Bluffton has outpaced resources in numerous areas, but in few cases has the disparity been more apparent than in the need for sports fields.

County officials hope to remedy that need thanks to two pending land donations that could become the home of a baseball and softball complex featuring up to seven fields, as well as synthetic turf fields for soccer, football, and lacrosse, and a tennis and pickleball facility.

PARENTS GO THE EXTRA MILE FOR YOUNG SOCCER STARS

How far would you go to help your child succeed in a sport where he or she showed promise? How much would you sacrifice?

While many parents in Bluffton and Hilton Head Island spend their afternoons and evenings chauffeuring their children to after-school activities and sports, these parents of young local soccer superstars are in it to win it.

SPECIAL OLYMPIANS ENJOY THE CHALLENGES OF ATHLETIC COMPETITION

As they lace up their sneakers, grab their bowling balls and step out onto the tennis court, local Special Olympics competitors all have the same mantra: “Let me win. If I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

It’s a message they learned from Kathy Cramer and Cherie Taylor, co-directors of Special Olympics South Carolina Area 8, which was established 27 years ago and includes Beaufort and Jasper counties. It started as a single track and field event but today includes multiple sports and year-round training and competitions.”

CJ CUMMINGS CALLS IT HIS DOUBLE LIFE.

Walking around campus at the University of South Carolina Beaufort, it’s easy to mistake him for any other freshman — though his muscular build might lead his professors or peers to suspect he’s on the Sand Sharks’ baseball or track team.

In between classes, when he’s home in Beaufort, Cummings is an ordinary 18-year-old who likes to hang out with his friends and play video games.

TOP HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYERS RECOGNIZED

With the 2018 high school football season in the rear-view mirror, LowcoSports.com recently recognized the area’s best players by naming them to the R Bar & Grill All-Lowco Football Team.

ISLAND REC CENTER UNVEILS NEWLY EXPANDED AND IMPROVED FACILITIES

When it opened in 1988, the Island Recreation Center offered state-of-the-art to meet the needs of Hilton Head Island’s residents.

But the island — and its residents — have changed over the decades, and when the renovated Island Rec Center reopens this month in the new Carmines Recreation Building, it will again reflect those needs.

VIM HELPS WOMEN GET HEALTHY THROUGH LIFESTYLE CHANGES

Do you know how many steps you walked today? Participants in Volunteers in Medicine Clinic Hilton Head Island’s Wellness Program do — and chances are they’re on their way to meeting and exceeding their step goals, too.