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Rookies & vets: Stonewall Kickball

League has D.C. tournament this weekend

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Stonewall Kickball, gay news, Washington Blade
Stonewall Kickball, gay news, Washington Blade

Tarik Pierce says each Stonewall Kickball team has its own dynamic and personality. (Photo by John Jack Photography)

This week in the ongoing Washington Blade series on the rookies and veterans of the LGBT sports teams in D.C., we take a look at two gay athletes from Stonewall Kickball.

Three leagues from Stonewall Sports will come together to host the Stonewall Sports 2015 Summer Tournament this weekend which will be contested at multiple locations in D.C. and will feature players from the Stonewall expansion cities. Some 550 players will compete in three sports that will include 25 kickball teams, 10 dodgeball teams and 16 dart teams. About 100 spectator/friends will also be arriving in town to cheer the teams on.

Scott Rodney grew up in Massachusetts and south Florida and played soccer from middle school to high school along with playing on a travel team. He left sports behind while attending Tallahassee Community College and Florida State University.

While he was working as a manager at Olive Garden, he traveled to Annapolis to visit a friend and fell in love with D.C. He took a transfer with the restaurant chain and committed to one year of employment so they would pay his moving expenses.

He found himself playing in the Nakid Kickball league, a straight D.C. league, and in January of this year, a friend mentioned Stonewall Kickball and he went to a league mixer.

Rodney registered for the spring 2015 league and according to Stonewall rules, you have three weeks to find a place on a team or you become a free agent. He ended up on a team, the 21st Amendments, that is half veterans and half rookies.

“I was pretty shy at first, but the veterans were very welcoming and kept inviting me to all the activities,” Rodney says. “Every time I had a question about the rules, they were there to show me the ropes.”

Rodney says he definitely wants to become more involved in Stonewall and has already participated in the drag kickball event and the Queen drag competition between the teams at JR.’s.

Rodney is now working as an administrative assistant at a law firm and will be heading back to school this fall.

“I have never seen a community like what I have found at Stonewall,” Rodney says. “It really puts everything in perspective.”

Tarik Pierce only played little league baseball growing up in Florence, S.C. His extracurricular activity in high school was marching band and besides taking up running, he did not participate in sports at Clemson University.

His job with the Department of Commerce brought him to D.C. and he has since transitioned to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Living in D.C. has brought out Pierce’s sporty side and he is entrenched in the LGBT sports community having played in leagues for flag football, kickball, darts, bocce and dodgeball.

Pierce and a group of 20 friends were originally playing in the World Adult Kickball Association league until they began to experience gay slurs from the other players. In the spring of 2011, they took their team and headed to Stonewall Kickball, then in its second season.

“Stonewall is a little raucous, but there’s nothing like it,” Pierce says. “People come together every Sunday and each team has its own dynamic and personality.”

For Pierce, it wasn’t really a social outlet when he became a part of a team with 20 of his friends. It was just a new activity and he says it added a new dimension to their friendship and brought them closer together.

As the years progressed, Pierce found himself stepping forward as a leader. He is currently on the board of Stonewall Darts, is a division leader for Stonewall Dodgeball and along with playing, is an umpire for Stonewall Kickball. He’ll be in the tournament this weekend with his team, the Ballstars.

“It’s my theory that if you become a part of a community, at some point you should step forward as a leader,” Pierce says. “I make sure that my team is involved in the fundraisers and the charitable community support.”

Pierce has also shown his altruistic side by recently stepping aside as the captain of his kickball team.

“My focus is different because I want everyone to have the chance to have the experiences I have had,” Pierce says. “You shouldn’t keep taking away from something like this; you should give back to it.”

Stonewall Kickball, gay news, Washington Blade

Scott Rodney says his teammates were very welcoming when he started in Stonewall Kickball. (Photo courtesy Rodney)

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Sports

Las Vegas Raiders head coach resigns after homophobic emails surface

Discovery made during misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team

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Courtesy of ESPN

LAS VEGAS — The head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, Jon Gruden resigned his post Monday after an article in the New York Times reported that he frequently used misogynistic and homophobic language directed at Commissioner Roger Goodell and others in the National Football League, (NFL).

The emails were discovered in a workplace misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team the Times reported, but ended up costing Gruden his job when they also showed Gruden denounced the drafting of a gay player and the tolerance of players protesting during the playing of the national anthem among other issues.

In a statement released by the team late Monday, Gruden said; “I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”

The sequence of events started last Friday when the Wall Street Journal reported that Gruden used a racist term to describe NFL union chief DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 email to the Washington team’s former executive Bruce Allen.

According to the Associated Press, Gruden apologized for his “insensitive remarks” about Smith, saying they were made out of frustration over the 2011 lockout. But the latest emails sent from between 2011-18 when Gruden was an analyst for ESPN show his use of derogatory language went well beyond that.

A league source confirmed the accuracy of the emails to the Associated Press and said they were sent to the Raiders last week. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league hasn’t made the emails public.

The New York Times and the Associated Press both noted that Gruden used a gay slur to insult Goodell and said he was “clueless” and “anti-football.” He also said Goodell shouldn’t have pressured the Rams to draft “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, who was the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team.

Gruden’s abrupt resignation was announced live on the Colts/Ravens “Monday Night Football” broadcast when the NFL ran multiple LGBTQ-inclusive advertisements, including one featuring an NFL logo wrapped in the colors of the Trans Flag and Rainbow Flag Gay City News Editor Matt Tracy reported.

Raiders owner Mark Davis issued a statement which only said that he accepted Gruden’s resignation. In a separate statement the Raiders announced that special teams and assistant head coach Rich Bisaccia will serve as Interim Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, effective immediately.

“Coach Bisaccia will meet with the media at the regularly scheduled media availability on Wednesday,” the team said.

According to ESPN and the Associated Press, Bisaccia has been a special teams coordinator in the NFL for 19 seasons with the Raiders, Chargers, Dallas and Tampa Bay. He has no head coaching experience but his elevation will allow other assistants in the Raiders organization such as defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to stay in their current roles.

Jon Gruden resigns as Raiders head coach | SC with SVP

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New Zealand university names trans athlete ‘sportswoman of the year’

Laurel Hubbard is first out trans woman to compete in Olympics

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Screenshot via CBS Sports

DUNEDIN, New Zealand — Olympic weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was named “sportswoman of the year” at the prestigious 113-year-old University of Otago and OUSA Blues and Golds Awards event this past week.

The 43-year-old Queenstown, South Island, native was the first openly transgender woman to compete in an Olympics when she competed in the women’s 87kg weightlifting event at the 2021 Tokyo Games.

In a statement to the local newspaper, the Otago Daily Times, Hubbard said she was ‘‘grateful for all of the support and kindness received from the teaching staff and students at Otago University.’’

‘‘It is not possible for athletes to complete at the Olympic level without the encouragement and aroha [a Māori word meaning “love”] of friends, family and supporters.

‘‘This award belongs to everyone who has been part of my Olympic journey,’’ she told the paper.

Hubbard’s participation at the Tokyo Games had provoked controversy as she had prepared for competing as the world’s first out transgender woman Olympian. The director of medicine and science for the International Olympic Committee, Dr. Richard Budgett, directly addressed those who had attacked and mocked the New Zealander and claimed she shouldn’t be competing with cisgender women, saying  “everyone agrees that trans women are women.”

“To put it in a nutshell,” he said, “the IOC had a scientific consensus back in 2015. There are no IOC rules or regulations around transgender participation. That depends on each international federation. So Laurel Hubbard is a woman, is competing under the rules of her federation and we have to pay tribute to her courage and tenacity in actually competing and qualifying for the Games.”

Otago University Students’ Association president Michaela Waite-Harvey told the Otago Daily Times that the Blues awards aim to highlight Otago students excelling in their chosen sport.

‘‘We could think of no-one more worthy of sportswoman of the year than Laurel Hubbard who represented Otago and New Zealand incredibly well at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.’’

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Gold medalist Tom Daley battled COVID in hospital prior to Tokyo games

An x-ray revealed “blotches” on his lungs, and he was kept at the hospital for 10 hours to increase his oxygen levels

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Tom Daley (Photo by sportsphotographer.eu via Bigstock)

LONDON – British Olympic champion diver Tom Daley acknowledged in an recent interview with British newspaper The Times, that he had been secretly rushed to hospital seven months prior to the summer Tokyo Olympic games after contracting the coronavirus.

Daley told the paper “[my] lungs felt pressurised, as if they had sacks of rice around them”, and added: “Every time I stood up, I felt the room spinning and a blinding white light, as if I was going to faint, and as if I couldn’t get enough oxygen into my body.”

He went on to describe his ordeal in graphic details telling Times journalist Jane Mulkerrins that he gave specific instructions to his husband, screenwriter D. Lance Black one night as he headed off to sleep, what to do in the event he quit breathing.

He also told Mulkerrins he was frightened for their son Robbie if he and his husband both contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus, especially after he was rushed to hospital by ambulance unable to breath correctly.

When his head began to feel like it had “a vice tightening around it” and his “oxygen levels were dropping,” it was at that point Daley said he decided to call 111. [The UK’s emergency phone number]

‘My oxygen levels were dropping’

He was rushed to hospital in an ambulance and put on oxygen. An x-ray revealed “blotches” on his lungs, and he was kept at the hospital for 10 hours to increase his oxygen levels, The Times reported.

“I understood how quickly things could potentially go downhill,” said Daley.

“I had flashes of fear about whether I would be put on a ventilator, and my time being up. I was really terrified.”

He also described his reasons for keeping his ordeal secret so that his rivals in his sport wouldn’t know.

The episode kept the Olympian diver out of training for nearly seven months although Daley along with his British teammate diving partner Matty Lee won the gold with a score of 471.81 in the men’s synchronized diving on at the Tokyo 2021 games.

After tough competition in the Men’s 10m platform diving from China’s Cao Yuan who picked up the Gold Medal and his teammate Yang Jian cinching the number two spot with a Silver Medal, the 27-year-old Daley secured a Bronze Medal win with a score of 548.25.

It was the second Olympic Bronze Medal for the Plymouth, England native, in individual diving completion since he won bronze at the London Games in 2012. Daley and his teammate Daniel Goodfellow won a Bronze Medal in the 10m synchronised at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

The Times interview comes as the paper’s magazine is serializing Daley’s new book, Coming Up for Air: What I Learned from Sport, Fame and Fatherhood, which is due to be published by Harper Collins on October 14.

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