Twenty years ago, George Kessinger, Jim Stork and Bob Hagen founded the South Florida Softball League (SFSL) in an attempt to create a haven for LGBT (and non-LGBT) ball players to have an environment that was accepting and open. Starting with only six teams that year, the South Florida Amateur Athletic Association (SFAAA) now has 24 teams and approximately 375 members in its association.
Any person LGBT or non-LGBT person over the age of 18 is eligible to participate as an active member of the league organization.
“Our current membership currently includes two players in their seventies, so no one is never too young to play,” said SFAAA Chairman Paul Falcone.
There are three separate divisions of play, based on skill level. Games take place on Sundays every week in two separate seasons (spring and fall). The spring season champions are afforded the right to participate in the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance Gay Softball World Series held later in the summer. All games are played at Mills Pond Park in Fort Lauderdale with alternating morning and afternoon schedules with its sister league, the South Florida Sports Foundation. Dues are $40 per person and a sponsor fee for each team is required.
In 2001, the South Florida Softball League,in an attempt to incorporate a women’s division, transformed itself into the South Florida Amateur Athletic Association with both a women’s division (only women) and an open division (men and women). Since 2011, the women have formed their own self-governing league, the Sports Foundation of South Florida. The SFSF welcomes all women over 18, at all levels of play whether beginner or advanced.
SFSF is associated with the Amateur Sports Alliance of North America (ASANA). This affiliation affords players the opportunity to compete on a national and international level with other slow pitch softball leagues across the country and around the world. More information is available at SFSFsoftball.org.