When Darran Mazaika was looking for an outdoor sports league in the spring of 2013, he joined the South Florida Gay Flag Football League (SFGFFL).

“I was instantly hooked with flag football because of my competitive nature,” Mazaika, 33, said. “I want to win at everything I do. It was my first season ever playing flag football.”

The SFGFFL began in 2006 and league spokesman Jeremy Jones said it continues to grow each year.

“Our league is open to everyone, which truly makes us diverse,” Jones said. “We are built around the GLBTQ community, but we also open our arms and hearts to our supporters and allies.”

The league has players from Miami, Palm Beach and Broward counties.

For $60, players can compete in the spring or fall seasons. The SFGFFL is also host to the annual Florida Sunshine Cup Gay Flag Football Tournament, celebrated every year on the weekend following President’s Day. This past year, competition spanned six days, with a kick-off party, two full days of games and a farewell brunch.

Along with hosting its own tournament, the SFGFFL also travels as a league throughout the year to various tournaments across the country. According to the SFGFFL website, players can travel with the team when possible.

“Efforts are made to ensure that all players receive sufficient playing time as well as education in the game to enhance their personal growth, development and world view,” the website states. The league has its own tournament traveling team, Cat 5.

This season, Jones said the league hopes for 6 to 8 teams and follow some rules of the National Football League: just like the NFL, you’re drafted. Although in the SFGFFL, you’re drafted every season. The team you’re on varies each year.

As of May 2013, the SFGFFL operates as a 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation. They have nine members on the board of directors and each person is elected to a two-year term.

Competition for the spring has already begun, but that shouldn’t stop you from registering for next season or even inquiring about the upcoming tournaments. Jones said it’s the players that really make up the great league.

“Our league is about creating relationships and friendships. Numbers are great, but building a family of players who grasp the importance of what we are creating is even more important.”

Visit sfgffa.com for more information.

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