May 7, 2015 at 12:30 pm EDT | by Kevin Majoros
Ballsy move
Stonewall Billiards, gay news, Washington Blade

Martin Espinoza, left, co-founder of Stonewall Sports, and George Zokle, commissioner of Stonewall Billiards, at the Team D.C. SportsFest on April 9. (Photo by Kevin Majoros)

George Zokle was told by a friend a few months ago that a Google search came up blank for LGBT billiards leagues in the D.C. metro area. Zokle, who has been an active player in Stonewall Kickball for several years, began to think about the possibility of a billiards league.

“Over the past few years, I have seen Stonewall Sports expand to four different sports leagues,” Zokle says. “Why not create Stonewall Billiards?”

Zokle, a lawyer from Youngstown who now makes Silver Spring his home, tapped Buffalo Billiards near Dupont Circle as the venue for the new league.

Registration for the kick-off summer season of Stonewall Billiards opened May 1 and will continue until May 20 or until all of the teams have been filled.

League play will be contested on Mondays from 7:30-9:30 p.m. and will run from June 8-Aug. 17. The League will also present a winter season later in the year.

The Stonewall Billiards league will consist of three phases. The majority of the season will consist of teams of eight players playing other teams of eight with a team champion crowned at the end of team play.

The next phases of the season will consist of a doubles tournament and a singles tournament.  Players without a team are welcome to register for the league as a free agent.

“We are hoping that this League will attract newcomers to the LGBT sports community,” Zokle says. “Possibly those not interested in playing a field sport or a gym sport.”

One of the reasons that Buffalo Billiards was chosen as the venue was its location and the offerings of the establishment. While teams are waiting to play, they can enjoy food and the other games on site such as ping pong, skeeball, foosball and shuffleboard.

As with the other Stonewall Sport leagues, which include kickball, bocce, darts and dodgeball, Stonewall Billiards will operate with a mission to promote an active lifestyle, local community engagement and a safe space for the LGBT and allied community to play sports.

Another focal point of the Stonewall Sports leagues is to operate with a “philanthropic heart.”  After registration closes for Stonewall Billiards, they will choose a local nonprofit to receive proceeds from the first season.

In future seasons, they will consider adopting a platform where each team chooses a charity and competes to win proceeds for that charity.

As for the competitive aspect of Stonewall Billiards, Zokle is hoping for a relaxed environment, but has been made aware that billiards is one of the sports with no D.C. representation at the international LGBT sporting events.

“For now, we are just looking for a successful first season,” Zokle says. “After that, it may certainly be possible to send players to the Gay Games or Sin City Shootout.”

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