Kickball is off to a roaring start said commissioner Jason Shervinski.
Teams formed in South Florida this Fall to compete and network in the Varsity Gay League sanctioned sport. Kickball games are popular in Washington, D.C., said Chris Nichols.
“It’s a huge league,” said Nichols, a member of the Stonewall team.
Nichols helped officiate Saturday morning’s kickball action in Wilton Manors. Varsity Gay League’s first foray into South Florida is underway, Shervinski said.
“To have 76 players in our first season is huge,” Shervinski added.
The Pennsylvania gay man helped line the bases for Saturday morning’s play at Mickel Park. He got the action going in the first game for the Sit On My Base team kicking past Crew members to score. The teams ultimately played to a tie.
“It’s fun meeting new people and a nice way to commune,” Mark Halacy said.
Halacy is a 60-year-old married gay man who lives in Wilton Manors. He brought a tent to the games to give participants a break from the sun. The first game started shortly after noon Saturday with a light breeze in the air and temperatures stuck in the high 80s.
“We’re here to find nice sporty guys and girls to hang out with,” said Nicole, who traveled from Miami to attend the kickball games.
Nicole and her friend Tara did not seem too concerned with the action on the playing field. The young women congregated on the sidelines most of the time.
“I want to play against an all-girls team because they’re going to pitch it slower,” Nicole said.
Tara, a nurse who studied at Louisiana State University, was less snide in her comments.
“I had a blast!,” Tara said. “I absolutely loved it. It’s great that there’s a league where the LGBT community can all get together and have a good time.”
In kickball a rubber ball is “pitched” – or rolled – on the ground and players kick it and run the bases. The outfield, Nichols said, is a good position for those not looking to exert a lot of energy.
“The ball rarely comes out there,” Nichols said.
Five teams registered for the fall league and Shervinski said he was pleased. Gym Bar Fort Lauderdale sponsored the games on Saturday.
Many of the kickball players met at the bar during pre-season registration, while others showed up at Mickel Park to watch and see which team had spots left on the roster.
“It’s a good way to be social,” said Nichols, who umpired the game between Misfits and Balls of Glory. “It’s not too competitive. I don’t play to win or lose. I play for fun.”
Crew coach Troy Bartee said it was an “exciting” first week to the season. The Crew, dressed in gray uniforms, defeated the pink cladded Nutcrackers team on Saturday.
“I am excited about the great turnout for the inaugural season of Varsity Gay League Kickball,” Shervinski said. “Our members represent the full spectrum of the LGBTQ community centered around a sport, common interests and shared values.”
For more information, visit www.VarsityGayLeague.com