If you are one of those people who subscribes to the stereotype that the GLBT community does not like sports, you are seriously mistaken. Sure, I cannot (nor will I ever probably be able to) throw a football, but when it comes to soccer, baseball and yes, even bowling, I am quite skilled.
Just as the frost begins to thaw from our mornings and winter moves her way out making room for spring, Nashville’s GLBT sports teams are gearing up some exciting seasons. So whether you want to join, watch or participate (and this includes drinking at fundraisers) read on to find out how you can get down and dirty with Nashville’s softball, kickball, bowling and rugby teams.
Take me out to the ballgame
Kevin Riddle, Commissioner of the Metro Nashville Softball Association (MNSA), wants prospective players to know that if you are worried about never having played or even making a fool of yourself then there is a team for you in the MNSA.
Formed in 2007, the MNSA has slowly grown from nine teams in its inaugural season to averaging 15 teams a season since and there are new teams starting all the time.
According to the MNSA website, the objective of the organization is to promote amateur athletics with special emphasis on the participation of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in an atmosphere of friendly competition. And while teams are allowed up to three non-GLBT members, Riddle is making a point not to be singled out as the “gay softball league.”
“I want to integrate into the community at large in Nashville,” Riddle shared. “I don’t want to close ourselves off … we have non-gay players that are very valuable to our league.”
Having played softball in other cities like Dallas, that integration includes reaching out to corporations for sponsorship and seeing the GLBT community frequent games and fundraising events.
One of the big events for the MNSA is their annual tournament, the MNSA Softball Classic, which will be held July 6-7. With 35 slots, teams from all over the country come to thrown down on the softball field.
Still not convinced? Then maybe you should catch the Pink Panthers Drag Show which raises money every year as the team dresses up and dresses down to show they know how to have fun off the field as well as on.
Players interested in playing should visit the MNSA website and register in their guestbook. Someone from the MNSA league will contact prospective players. And don’t worry if you have never played before there’s a spring clinic for players who do not have a team or those who want to hone their skills.
Get messy on the kickball field
Are you haunted by the memories of always being picked last on the playground for kickball? Well throw those memories out the window and get ready to make new ones this spring when HotMess Kickball kicks off its second season.
Derrick Lachney founded HotMess Kickball last fall after finding that participating in a kickball league in Washington, D.C., helped him meet people in the GLBT community. “Being involved in something like this can get us out of our shells and more willing to be open to new people and ideas,” Lachney said.
The runaway success of the first season brings HotMess’ second season around this spring. Registration opened up on Feb. 17 and will continue until the teams are full. Last year more than 100 players on 8 teams took to the fields of East Park.
This year East Park will once again host HotMess Kickball. The season begins on Sunday Mar. 31 and will run for eight weeks.
Are you ready for kickball? Or maybe you are just a hotmess? Then head over to the HotMess Kickball website and register now!
Get out of the gutter
Earlier this year, ESPN aired out bowler Scott Norton hugging and kissing his partner after winning the PBA Chameleon Bowling Championship in Las Vegas. Well, apparently what happens in Vegas does not always stay in Vegas as media outlets touted this as quite possibly a first for sports.
While Nashville may not host any PBA Championships, it is home to two GLBT bowling leagues. The Music City Rollers bowl on Sunday afternoons and the Rainbowlers bowl on Tuesday evenings at Tusculum Lanes. While both are wrapping up their 28-week seasons, the Music City Rollers will kick off a summer league beginning May 7.
Lasting only 13 weeks, the summer league is typically short. The cost is $15 per week and for those who may be a tad rusty with their bowling skills, it is a 9-pin league. So if you knock down 9 pins on your first ball, you get to count it as a strike. Like its 28-week counterpart, this league is handicapped in order to keep bowlers on an even playing field.
Unable to commit to a 13-week or 28-week league? Then round up a team for the annual Music City Invitational Tournament (MCIT). This year’s tournament will be held July 19-21 and has grown to over 30 teams in the last five years. Having celebrated 20 years last year, bowlers are looking to make the 21st MCIT the best yet. For more information, visit mcitnashville.com.
Fundraising is key throughout the year for members of both leagues. This year’s Ms. MCIT Pageant is set for April 14 at Vibe. Its theme, “Queen of Queens”, pits past winners against each other. One of those contestants, league President Matt Totten, will be competing and while he knows it all fun and games he is already sending out a warning to the contestants. “Bitches better beware.”
For more information on any of these events, Totten says people can contact him at (615) 500-4257.
Nashville Grizzlies roar
“It may be corny but the more we support each other, the further we move ahead,” Grizzlies’ coach David Glasgow said. He is of course referring to being on and off the rugby pitch.
The sport of rugby has opened eyes over the past few years. From our cover story Jacques Snyman to the Ben Cohen Foundation to even Glasgow listening to the hopes and dreams of straight rugby players, the sport could be viewed as the bridge to dispelling GLBT stereotypes.
“I don’t know what I imagined straight athletes talked about, but listening to the hopes and dreams of a straight team at Hooters after practice sounds remarkably similar to the Grizzlies at Beyond the Edge after a practice or at Tribe for show tunes.”
The Grizzlies have definitely made their mark on the Nashville GLBT sports scene. From their Music City Cup in April to the much anticipated Red Dress Rampage in October, it is hard to talk about sports without mentioning the Grizzlies.
Think you have what it takes or just want to see what happens on the rugby pitch? Glasgow welcomes the community out to practices and to matches. “We have new players join all the time,” Glasgow shared. “Everyone is welcome. Rugby has a position for every build and we have guys in their 20s to 50s active on the team.”
Need more information? Practice and match information including an upcoming March 16 match against the Memphis Storm can be found on their website. Just want to meet the team and participate in the fun? Join the Grizzlies this month at Play March 8 for their St. Paddy’s Day Spectacular. More information can be found on their Facebook page.