Stonewall Kickball held the third annual “DragBall” game between the JR’s and Cobalt divisions on Sunday in Stead Park. JR’s won the day by a score of 10-7. The halftime show included a game of tug-of-war, a food-eating contest and a run around the bases while putting together a drag outfit. Local performer Ophelia Bottoms served as the emcee. (Washington Blade photos by Michael Key) ¬†
The LGBT sports community of Washington continues to impress with a full lineup of offerings in the coming months.
The Capital Tennis Association will host the Capital Classic XXI from Sept. 13-15.¬† Registration is now open for the event, which will include matches in singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
Open and B draws will be played on clay and A, C and D draws will be played on hard courts (indoor and/or outdoor). The tournament will be contested at the Rock Creek Tennis Center and the East Potomac Tennis Center at Hains Point. Registration can be found at capital-tennis.org.
The Federal Triangles Soccer Club will host the Rehoboth Beach Soccer Classic XV from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1 in Rehoboth Beach. Registration for the event is individual and is now open at federaltriangles.org.
The Washington Scandals Rugby Football Club will travel to Beaver Bowl VI in Ottawa, Canada from Aug. 24-25. The event will be their first full contact tournament and will coincide with Ottawa Pride. The Club can be found at dcscandals.org.
The District of Columbia Aquatics Club will be traveling to Seattle for the International Gay and Lesbian World Championships from Aug. 13-18 where they will attempt to take back their world title.
The swimmers will host the Fall Ball swim meet at Woodrow Wilson High School from Oct. 12-13. The meet will be held in conjunction with the Washington Wetskins water polo tournament and registration will be available at swimdcac.org.
Stonewall Kickball will open registration for their fall league on Aug. 13. The League will begin Sept. 8 and run for 11 weeks on Sundays at Stead Park. This League fills up fast and free agents are welcome. Registration will be available at stonewallsports.org/kickball.
Stonewall Bocce will open registration for their fall league on Aug. 13. The League will begin Sept. 12 and run for eight weeks on Thursdays at the Logan Circle Bocce Field. This League also fills up fast and free agents are welcome. Registration will be available at stonewallsports.org/bocce.
The Washington Renegades Rugby Football Club will begin its fall season practices on Aug. 6 at Cardozo High School at 7 p.m. Information on the club is at dcrugby.com.
The Lambda Links Golf Club will host its Fun Tournament on Aug. 24. Information is forthcoming on the event and will be available at lambdalinks.org.
The D.C. Gay Flag Football League will open registration for its fall league on Aug. 6. New player tryouts and evaluations will begin Aug. 7 and the League will begin on Sept. 8.
The League will be sending at least two of its travel teams to Gay Bowl XIII in Phoenix from Oct. 10-14. Information on the League is at dcgffl.org.
The Chesapeake and Potomac Softball League will be hosting the NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series from Aug. 26-31 at three separate complexes in the area. The tournament, the largest annual LGBT sporting event in the world, will welcome 170 teams participating in more than 600 softball games.
Organizers are expecting more than 4,000 athletes and fans visiting Washington for the weeklong tournament. More information on the event is at dcseries2013.com. The League can be found at capssoftball.org.
Team D.C. and the Federal Triangles Soccer Club and D.C United will co-host United Night Out on Sept. 15 as the D.C. United take on the L.A. Galaxy at RFK Stadium.
The event is part of the Team D.C. Night Out Series and is a great opportunity for the LGBT community to experience a professional soccer match in a safe and welcoming environment. Tickets will be available at unitednightout.com.
D.C. is home to one of the largest and most organized LGBT sports communities in the world. The list of LGBT local sports teams has grown to more than 30 clubs and the athlete base is well over 3,000 members.
Those kinds of numbers would not be possible without the leadership that is demonstrated by members of each of the clubs.
But the success of local organizers doesn‚Äôt mean they don‚Äôt encounter obstacles to growth. Some of the challenges facing them include lack of playing space, high costs for space, accessibility and the local permit process.
The permit process, especially for a new team forming, can cause major frustration for those not familiar with the process. There are cross-jurisdictional issues and some of the entities that may present a challenge are the National Park Service, the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, the Department of General Services Realty Office as well as the facility or school that the space sits on.
One person who knows the permit process well is Alex Bearman, executive director of District Sports who manages leagues and playing space for 240 primarily straight soccer teams at 15 different locations in the area.
District Sports primarily uses playing fields that are run by schools, which means that their process includes being approved by the athletic director, the vice principal or the principal.¬† ‚ÄúThere is a lot of hand-holding, showing up and talking,‚ÄĚ says Bearman. ‚ÄúYou can make it through the permit process and then be turned down by the facility because there are just not enough incentives for the facility to offer their space. There is also the added cost of paying for a maintenance man to be on site.‚ÄĚ
Nick Napolitano leads the permit process for the Federal Triangles Soccer Club and agrees that the schools do not have enough incentives to risk having their fields torn up by an adult sports league.
‚ÄúYou really have to establish a relationship with the school principal and prove that you will respect the condition of their field,‚ÄĚ says Napolitano. ‚ÄúIn the past we have had to enlist the help of D.C. Council member Jim Graham just to get our foot in the door. Even when you get to that point, it is still hard to budget for the fees as they can fluctuate.‚ÄĚ
When the DC Gay Flag Football League (DCGFFL) began, it targeted the fields near the FDR Memorial as their home base and came up with no results during the permit process.
‚ÄúWe ended up going through our roster of players just to find someone who knew someone or at least knew the process,‚ÄĚ says JJ Johnson, league commissioner. ‚ÄúEven after securing the spot, we were still confronted by a park ranger on the first day.‚ÄĚ
The DCGFFL outgrew that field almost immediately and is now ensconced at the Carter Barron Fields on Sundays. The group considers themselves lucky to have access to such a large amount of space as they have grown to 276 players.
Carter Barron is federally owned, administered by the National Park Service, and permitted by the DC Department of Parks and Recreation.
‚ÄúIt was very confusing at first,‚ÄĚ says Johnson. ‚ÄúWe now show up at the permit office several times a year just to shake hands and chit chat. We want them to know who we are and that we are appreciative.‚ÄĚ
Martin Espinoza of Stonewall Kickball agrees that the permit process can be stressful as the kickball league faces two permit renewals each year. They generally have their calendar set up for the upcoming season without knowing if their permit will be renewed. To be safe, league registration is always scheduled after the permit approval date.
Currently, the kickball league plays on Sundays at Stead Park Field. When the club started in 2010, the city was not allowing use of Stead Park on Sundays. ‚ÄúWe were very fortunate,‚ÄĚ admits Espinoza. ‚ÄúThe city made an exception to allow us to play on Sundays.‚ÄĚ
Stonewall Kickball has seen incredible growth since its inception with a current member list of 550 players. Because they were unable to secure a permit for an additional night, they have spilled over into the predominately straight DC Kickball League, which holds the permit for Thursday nights at Stead Park Field.
‚ÄúWe are hoping to grow this season by securing additional time on Sundays,‚ÄĚ says Espinoza. ‚ÄúEven though we arrive at the permit office with all of our paperwork on the first day of renewal, it is still a waiting game. Youth, senior and city programs are looked at first. Adult sports come last.‚ÄĚ
Stonewall Kickball will face another obstacle in 2014 when the $1.6 million renovation of Stead Park Field will begin. It is unclear at this time whether they will have a place to play or not.
In March of 2013, a new LGBT sports team joined the fray in the struggle for playing space.¬† The Washington Scandals Rugby Club has not yet found a field to call home. Being new to the process, they are running into the same obstacles that seem to plague all new sports teams.
‚ÄúWe have been looking for space on weeknights in the District and there is nothing available for adult sports groups,‚ÄĚ says Arc Riley of the Scandals. ‚ÄúThe field we are practicing on is so small that half of our 40 players are standing on the sidelines while the other half practice.‚ÄĚ
The struggle with getting a response from the Department of Parks and Recreation has led the Scandals to start looking for space in Montgomery County for the winter months. ‚ÄúWe are hoping to be back in the District by spring,‚ÄĚ says a hopeful Riley.
Faced with a similar space shortage back in the 1990s, New York City, along with the Randall‚Äôs Island Park Alliance (RIPA) created a 273-acre sports and recreational playground floating on the East River.
Randall‚Äôs Island boasts more than 60 sports fields, accommodating sports such as soccer, baseball, softball, lacrosse, field hockey and rugby.¬† Also included on the island is a world-class track stadium, a tennis center, golf facilities as well as cultural and natural areas.
Formerly used over the centuries for a range of public facilities including a boy‚Äôs home, a hospital, and a home for Civil War veterans, the island was first designated as a park in 1936 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. By the early 1990s it was in serious disrepair.
RIPA was formed in 1992 as a 501c3 non-profit organization to work with New York and local communities to transform the island. Today, Randall‚Äôs Island is New York‚Äôs premier recreational destination and home to dozens of sports leagues for youth, adult, senior and the LGBT sports communities.
The bottom line in the D.C. area is that although the permit process can be tedious, the lack of playing space is the primary obstacle in accommodating the ever-growing sports community.¬† The overwhelming success of the Long Bridge Park sports complex in Arlington in November 2011 is a perfect example of the need for more sports space in the area.
The possibility of 190 acres opening up in the future at Metro accessible RFK Stadium is giving many in the sports community dreams of a dedicated sports complex in Prince George‚Äôs County.
RFK Sports Park anyone?
Best house of worship:
Foundry United Methodist Church
1500 16th¬†St., N.W.
Runner-up: Bet Mishpachah
Best home furnishings:
Miss Pixie‚Äôs Furnishings and Whatnot
1629 14th¬†St., N.W.
Runner-up: Room & Board
Best property management:
Coldwell Banker Mid-Atlantic
6031 University Blvd. Suite 140
Ellicott City, MD
Runner-up: Bozzuto Group
515 15th¬†St., N.W.
Runner-up: Carlyle Suites Hotel
Best art gallery:
Corcoran Gallery of Art
500 17th St., N.W.
Runner-up: The Phillips Collection
1701 14th St., N.W.
Logan 14 Salon Spa ‚ÄĒ Aveda Hair & Body
1314 14th St., N.W.
Runner-up: Aura Spa/Bang Salon
Best men‚Äôs clothing:
1529 14th St., N.W.
Best women‚Äôs clothing:
Runner-up: Buffalo Exchange
2700 F St., N.W.
Runner-up: Studio Theatre
Best theater production:
‚ÄúRocky Horror‚ÄĚ at Studio Theatre
Runner-up: ‚ÄúBook of Mormon‚ÄĚ at Kennedy Center
Best LGBT sports team:
Stonewall Kickball‚Äôs 21st Amendments
Runner-up: D.C. Front Runners
Best LGBT-owned business:
Flowers on 14th
1718a 14th St., N.W.
Runner-up: Grassroots Gourmet
Best comedy club:
D.C. Improv Comedy Club
1140 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
Runner-up: Washington Improv Theater
Best Rehoboth business:
208 Rehoboth Ave.
Rehoboth Beach, Del.
Runner-up: Blue Moon
Best LGBT social group:
Burgundy Crescent Volunteers
Runner-up: Nice Jewish Boys
Friday, Nov. 8
Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) hosts Bear Happy Hour tonight from 6-11 p.m. There is no cover charge and admission is limited to guests 21 and over. For more information, visit towndc.com.
Green Lantern (1335 Green Ct., N.W.) hosts ‚ÄúJOCK‚ÄĚ tonight from 9 p.m.-3 a.m. with DJ Jake Marx. Dress code is sports gear or just a jock. Dress code strictly enforced. There is an open bar from 9-10 p.m. Cover is $10. For details, visit greenlantendc.com.
Nellie‚Äôs Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) hosts ‚ÄúKickoff‚ÄĚ featuring DJ Matt Bailer tonight from 10 p.m.-closing. For more information, visit nelliessportsbar.com.
Bachelor‚Äôs Mill (1104 8th St., S.E.) holds a happy hour from 5-7:30 p.m. tonight with all drinks half price. Hip music begins at 11 p.m. Enjoy pool, video games, and cards. Admission is $5 after 9 p.m. Must be 21 and over. For more details, visit bachelorsmill.com.
Saturday, Nov. 9
Singer and actress Melissa Errico performs ‚ÄúA Passion for Broadway‚ÄĚ with Broadway songs focusing on Stephen Sondheim and more, at The Barns at Wolf Trap (1635 Trap Rd., Vienna, Va.) tonight at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $40-$42. For details, visit wolftrap.org.
Stonewall Kickball hosts its ‚ÄúFall 2013 All Stars Game‚ÄĚ at Stead Park (1625 P St.,) today from 2-4 p.m. Cobalt and JR.‚Äôs division will be playing. For details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Team D.C. presents its fall casino night at Buffalo Billards (1330 19th St., N.W.) tonight from 8 p.m.-midnight in support of local LGBT sports clubs. Play poker, blackjack and craps to win raffle prizes. The LGBT sports teams will be running the tables including D.C. Aquatics, D.C. Strokes Rowing Club, Capitol Area Rainbowlers and more. There is no cover charge. $10 is worth $100 in chips and $20 is worth $250 in chips. For more details, visit teamdc.org.
Sunday, Nov. 10
Temple Emanuel (10101 Connecticut Ave., Kensington, Md.) hosts its ‚ÄúBrotherhood Brunch with Guest Speaker Professor Ethan Hutt‚ÄĚ this morning at 9:15 a.m. Hutt is an assistant professor at University of Maryland who recently published an article on educational malpractice. Admission is $7 for non-Brotherhood members and $5 for Brotherhood members. RSVP at email@example.com or call 301-942-2000.
Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers for D.C. Central Kitchen (425 2nd St., N.W.) today from 9 a.m.-noon. Volunteers will cook alongside chefs who are graduates of D.C. Central Kitchen‚Äôs job training program. To volunteer, RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit burgundycrescent.org.
Arlington Philharmonic presents a free concert for its season opener featuring soloist Jeffrey Work, principal trumpet of the Oregon Symphony, today at 3 p.m. at the Washington-Lee Auditorium (1301 N. Stafford St., Arlington, Va.). For details, visit arlingtonphilharmonic.org.
The Choral Arts Society of Washington presents the East Coast premiere of Steven Stucky‚Äôs ‚ÄúTake Him, Earth,‚ÄĚ an orchestral commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Kennedy‚Äôs assassination, today at 4 p.m. at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St., N.W.). Tickets range from $23-$68. For more details, visit kennedy-center.org.
The D.C. Center celebrates the life of Joe Rio from the Center Careers program at DC9 (1940 9th St., N.W.) today from 2-4 p.m. Rio assisted individuals to find jobs and careers, facilitated weekly ‚ÄúJob Club‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúMasterminds‚ÄĚ groups at the D.C. Center and the Spanish language Career Development at Casa Ruby for the D.C. Center. To RSVP, email larryd2156. For more details, visit thedccenter.org.
Church of the Holy City (1611 16th Street, N.W.) hosts its ‚ÄúMusic with the Angels‚ÄĚ concert series today at 3:30 p.m. featuring cellist Natalie Spehar and violinist Zachary Wu performing works by Fiorillo, Ravel and more. Tickets are $10 for adults; $5 for children and seniors. Visit churchoftheholycitydc.org for details.
Monday, Nov. 11
The D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) hosts coffee drop-in hours this morning from 10 a.m.-noon for the senior LGBT community. Older LGBT adults can come and enjoy complimentary coffee and conversation with other community members. For more information, visit thedccenter.org
Us Helping Us¬† (3636 Georgia Ave., N.W.) holds a support group for gay black men to discuss topics that affect them today, share perspectives and have meaningful conversations. For details, visit uhupil.org.
Tuesday, Nov. 12
Us Helping Us is having a town hall meeting tonight at 7 p.m. to discuss implementation of the Affordable Care Act at its headquarters (3636 Georgia Ave., N.W.). The meeting will discuss the impact the act will have on the LGBT community and provide an overview of the D.C. Health Exchange. On-site enrollment will also be offered. The event is free and open to the public. Visit uhupil.org for details.
D.C. Bi Women hosts its monthly meeting in the upstairs room of Dupont Italian Kitchen (1637 17th St., N.W.) from 7-9 p.m. tonight. For more details, visit thedccenter.org.
SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) hosts a ‚ÄúRap Group‚ÄĚ today from 5-6:30 p.m. Discuss stressful issues like school, bullying, getting into college or finding a job in this support group. For more details, visit smyal.org.
Wednesday, Nov. 13
Big Gay Book Group meets tonight at 1155 F St., N.W. Suite 200 at 7 p.m. to discuss ‚ÄúMary Ann in Autumn‚ÄĚ by Armistead Maupin, a story about Mary Ann Singleton‚Äôs homecoming to San Francisco after spending 20 years pursuing a television career in New York City. For details, email email@example.com.
The Lambda Bridge Club meets tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., S.E.) for duplicate bridge. No reservations required and new comers welcome. If you need a partner, call 703-407-6540.
SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) provides free and confidential HIV testing drop-in hours today from 3-5 p.m. For more information, visit smyal.org.
Thursday, Nov. 14
Human Rights Campaign hosts a free screening of the documentary ‚ÄúBridegroom‚ÄĚ this evening at 6 p.m. at its headquarters (1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.) as part of its ‚ÄúEquality Talks‚ÄĚ speaker series. Shane Bitney Crone, the film‚Äôs producer, will speak. ‚ÄúBridegroom,‚ÄĚ directed by Linda Bloodworth Thomason, tells the story of two men in a committed relationship and what happens after an accident cuts short their lives together. The film explores how a partner can be legally shut out without having proper protections in place. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the event. View the trailer at bridegroommovie.com. Details on the event are at hrc.org/bridegroom.
Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers for Food and Friends (219 Riggs Rd., N.E.) tonight from 6-8 p.m. Volunteers will chop vegetables and pack groceries. To volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more details, visit burgundycrescent.org.
Rude Boi Entertainment hosts ‚ÄúTempted 2 Touch,‚ÄĚ a ladies dance party, at the Fab Lounge (2022 Florida Ave., N.W.) tonight. Doors open at 10 p.m. Drink specials $5 and vodka shots $3 all night. No cover charge. Admission limited to guests 21 and over. For more details, visit rudeboientertainment.wordpress.com.
The D.C. Center and Professionals in the City host speed dating for women in their 20s and 30s at Finn and Porter located inside the Embassy Suites Hotel (900 10th St., N.W.) tonight from 7-9 p.m. Dating is approximately one hour. After enjoy a mixer with fellow speed daters. Cash bar. Check in is at 7 p.m. and dating begins at 7:20 p.m.¬† Complimentary valet parking offered to anyone who purchases two drinks or other items from the bar or restaurant. Cost is $30. For details, visit thedccenter.org.
‚ÄúRuPaul‚Äôs Drag Race‚ÄĚ contestant Pandora Boxx performs her standup comedy show at Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) tonight at 9 p.m. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $5. For more information, visit cobaltdc.com.
One of the great stories to come out of the LGBT sports community in D.C. over the last few years has been the emergence of Stonewall Kickball.
The group was founded in the fall of 2010 by Martin Espinoza and Mark Gustafson who were both playing in the D.C. Kickball League.
The first season was a huge success with 90 players making up six teams. In about two years those numbers have grown to 550 players making up 20 teams. And that‚Äôs just in the Sunday league.
With limited space at Stead Park Field, the only option to expand was to add a league on Thursday nights within the D.C. Kickball League whose members held the permit for that night.
‚ÄúIt was the best option as we did not want to compete for the permit,‚ÄĚ Espinoza says.
That league features competitive teams along with more social teams that fall under the Junior Varsity classification.
Along with kickball, the Stonewall Sports umbrella has grown to include Stonewall Bocce and Stonewall Darts.
‚ÄúWe decided to use the Stonewall name because there are a lot of young LGBT transients in the D.C. area,‚ÄĚ Espinoza says. ‚ÄúMany of them are unfamiliar with the Stonewall riots and we like to think of it as honoring those who came before us in the fight for gay rights.‚ÄĚ
The league operates a spring season that runs from March to May and a fall season from September to November. Both seasons last nine weeks, games last 45 minutes and up to 11 people can be on the field at a time.
For many, the memory of those red rubber playground balls can conjure up painful dodge ball memories. But along with that are sweet childhood kickball memories.
‚ÄúThe whole reason we decided to start this league was because we were not having fun in the other league,‚ÄĚ Espinoza says. ‚ÄúThey were very competitive and we ran into some homophobia. The goal of Stonewall Kickball is to have fun. It‚Äôs human nature to want to win, but we have adopted the attitude of ‚Äėyou win some, you lose some.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
That attitude seems to pervade throughout the players as on any given Sunday you can see a mixture of team colors walking along together in groups on 17th Street.
Giving back to the community is also a focal point for Stonewall Kickball. Registration fees for the league are $40-$50, but teams are encouraged to reach preset fundraising goals.
Their main beneficiary over the last two and a half years has been the D.C. Center.¬† They will also be hosting their third Drag Ball fundraiser this June, which also raises funds for Capital Pride.
Last summer the group paid for the mulching and painting of the tree boxes along 17th Street and Espinoza was the leading force behind the Save Stead Park petition, which sought to stop renovations to the park that would reduce field space by 25 percent.
Coming up for the kickball players is a mixer with the bocce league, the dart league and the D.C. Gay Flag Football League and also a community day that will focus on 17th Street and Stead Park.
You can follow them at stonewallsports.org.
Stonewall Kickball held an ‘All-Star’ game between the best of the JR’s Division and Cobalt Division. JR’s bested Cobalt 13-2. (Washington Blade photos by Michael Key) ¬†