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Triangles, CAPS, Wetskins and more up and running

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sports, gay news, Washington Blade
sports, gay news, Washington Blade

Larry’s Lounge wins the Summer of Freedom League championships. (Photo by Glenn Auve)

The competitive and club LGBT sports teams of Washington have had a successful summer season and are lined up for plenty of action in the coming fall months.

The Summer of Freedom Soccer League, hosted by the Federal Triangles Soccer Club, wrapped up in August with Larry’s Lounge winning the championship match. Also last month, the Triangles sent two teams to the 2015 IGLFA North American Championship II in Verona, Wis., and and won in the championship match.

On Sept. 19, the Triangles along with Team D.C., will host United Night OUT at RFK Stadium as D.C. United takes on Columbus Crew. Tickets are $25 and are available at teamdc.org.

Chesapeake and Potomac Softball sent four teams to the 2015 Gay Softball World Series in August and the D.C. Union took third place in the B Division. This month, the D.C. Party Animals are competing in the Gotham Softball Classic in New York and the D.C. Raptors are taking on the Midwest Invitational Softball Classic in Cleveland.

D.C. Pride Volleyball hosted the inaugural Rehoboth Beach Open Volleyball Tournament on the sands of Rehoboth Beach last month. Twenty teams from the Mid-Atlantic States competed in the event. This month they kicked off the second season of their competitive league.

Washington Wetskins water polo captured fifth place in the competitive division at the 2015 EuroGames in Stockholm last month. Also last month, its women’s team, the WCAPS, grabbed second place at the Midwest Open Water Polo Tournament in Chicago. On Oct. 10-11, they will host teams from the eastern seaboard at the 2015 Wetskins Columbus Classic at Takoma Aquatic Center.

Last month, the Capital Tennis Association won the 2015 Atlantic Cup in New York just nipping Boston in the final match. This month they kick off their fall league and on Sept. 12-14 they will host the Capital Classic XXIII at Rock Creek and East Potomac Park. The event will be broadcast live on the CCE Sports Network.

Washington Scandals RFC has just wrapped up its three summer rookie camps and will be begin the fall season with a home rugby match against the Charlotte Royals on Saturday, Sept.12.

D.C. Sentinels basketball will be sending two teams to Dallas in October to compete in the Dallas Showcase Classic 2015 tournament. Its Washington D.C. Gay Basketball League registration will also open in October and play will begin in January.

The D.C. Gay Flag Football League is firing up its 11th season with 270 players on 20 teams. Play begins on Sunday, Sept. 13 at the Carter Barron fields.

The District of Columbia Aquatics Club had a successful trip to the 2015 Stockholm EuroGames in August winning 125 medals. On Oct. 10, they will host teams from the region at the 2015 Columbus Day Classic at the Wilson Aquatic Center.

Eighteen teams from the D.C. Strokes Rowing Club traveled to the U.S. Rowing Masters National Championships in Camden, N.J., last month and won a silver medal in the Men’s Open 8-plus. This fall they will continue to compete in the longer distance head races throughout the region.

Capital Area Rainbowlers Association began its fall season this month offering nine different leagues throughout the metro area.

Stonewall Kickball, Stonewall Darts and Stonewall Bocce all begin league action in September with Stonewall Dodgeball beginning its next season in January.

 

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A Revolution for Women in Baseball

Last week, they announced that Rachel Balkovec will become the first woman to manage a team in minor league baseball.

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Rachel Balkovec was hired as a hitting coach in the Yankees’ system in 2019. She will now manage the Class A Tampa Tarpons.Credit. Photo Courtesy of Rachel Balkovec/Instagram.

The Yankees were late on introducing an African-American player to their roster, adding Hall of Famer Elston Howard to the team in 1955, eight years after Jackie Robinson starred for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  The Yankees seem determined not to repeat that bad history.  Last week, they announced that Rachel Balkovec will become the first woman to manage a team in minor league baseball when she takes the helm of the Tampa Tarpons this spring. 

It has been just over ten years since Justin Siegal threw batting practice to the Cleveland Guardians and five since she was the first woman to coach a MLB squad with the Oakland Athletics.  Two years ago, Kim Ng became the first female General Manager of any of the four major professional sports when the Marlins hired her to run their team.  In the two years since then, the dam has burst.  Women have been hired to important on-field positions with professional baseball at an impressive clip.  As baseball has lagged behind other professional sports in bringing women into the game, the current pace of hires indicates that baseball’s embrace of analytics and objective measures have finally penetrated the walls of one of the most enduring old boys clubs in the U.S. and given talented women opportunities they have long been denied.

Ten women will be coaching with major or minor league teams in 2022.  In 2021, Bianca Smith became the first African-American woman to coach in the minors when the Red Sox hired her. Alyssa Nakken became the first woman in uniform during a Major League Baseball game when she coached first base for the Giants in a July 2020 exhibition against the Oakland A’s.  Her jersey now belongs to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Cuban-American Veronica Alvarez is not only the coach of the U.S. Women’s National Baseball team, she also served as a spring training coach for the Oakland A’s.

The proliferation of women in baseball is not an accident.  More girls than ever are playing baseball.  Here, in the DC area, 160 girls participated with D.C. Girls Baseball in 2021.  Baseball for All, an organization that supports and promotes girls in baseball, held a tournament last summer that drew nearly 600 girls who play baseball.  There are more women than ever on collegiate baseball rosters.  Major League Baseball has also devoted significant resources to girls and women in baseball, running several development camps for girls in baseball.  Six of the women now coaching professional baseball participated in MLB’s Take the Field initiative, which is designed to help place women into baseball positions. To top it all off, the classic film about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, A League of Their Own, is getting a reboot on Amazon Prime this year.

The pace of hiring is exhilarating.  Unfortunately, every report of a woman being hired is followed by predictable hateful commentary on social media.  Many cannot imagine that a woman may be hired for a baseball position on merit and resort to making sexist and derogatory comments.  As women in baseball, the coaches are used to that vitriol and have developed thick skin and sophisticated defense mechanisms.  However, also reading are thousands of girls who are inspired by the achievements of these women and they are, sadly, learning that to achieve in baseball means enduring the sexist taunts, gross come-ons, and hurtful comments.

Baseball has a long way to go.  Other leagues have women officiating games, so it should be reasonable to expect that baseball will have women umpires in the near future.  The possibility of women playing professional baseball is tantalizingly close as 17 year old Genevieve Beacom made history last week as the first women to play Australian professional baseball, when she threw a scoreless inning against the Adelaide Giants.

We are watching a revolution in baseball unfold before our eyes. 

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Gus Kenworthy skis for Great Britain at 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

The freestyle skiing Olympic medalist continues to advocate for sport to become a more accepting place for openly gay athletes

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Gus Kenworthy (Screenshot courtesy Beijing Olympic Winter Games/IOC)

Out British-American freestyle skier, actor, and YouTuber Gus Kenworthy, will be competing in his third Olympic Winter Games, but his first for Team GB next month for the 2022 Beijing Games. In 2014 and 2018 Kenworthy represented the USA where during the 2014 Sochi Winter Games in Russia he became an Olympic Silver Medalist.

In an interview recorded in December, Kenworthy stressed his personal mantra of ‘Let people be themselves.’ The freestyle skiing Olympic medalist continues to advocate for sport to become a more accepting place for openly gay athletes.

Having recently won bronze in slopestyle for Team USA at PyeongChang 2018, Kenworthy is aiming for another podium place at his “third and final Games”, where he’s focusing on halfpipe at Beijing 2022, representing Great Britain. Kenworthy said with quiet determination that this year’s Winter Games will be his last as an Olympic competitor.

Kenworthy joins a “record number” of openly LGBTQ+ athletes heading to the Beijing games, Outsports reported. The 2018 Winter Olympics featured 15 out queer athletes, and Outsports noted that the Beijing games will see more openly LGBTQ+ athletes than previously Winter Games.

PinkNewsUK notes that there was a question as to whether Kenworthy would be able to compete at the 2022 Winter Olympics, which kick off in February.

Just weeks ago, Kenworthy shared in an Instagram post that he recently got a “bad concussion” while at a training camp in Switzerland.

He explained that he’s had a “few serious” traumatic brain injuries in the past so the “seriousness of each added concussion has been stressed to me”.

 

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Out professional soccer player calls out ‘homophobic abuse’ from crowd

The Adelaide United player said he had “no words” to describe his disappointment at being the target of anti-gay insults from the crowd

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Photo courtesy of Josh Cavallo Instagram

Professional soccer player Josh Cavallo, who became the only openly gay top-flight male professional footballer last year, told his Instagram followers over the weekend that he experienced “homophobic abuse” during his last game. 

The Adelaide United player said he had “no words” to describe his disappointment at being the target of anti-gay insults from the crowd at AAMI Park during his team’s Saturday game against the Melbourne Victory.

“As a society it shows we still face these problems in 2022,” he wrote. “This shouldn’t be acceptable and we need to do more to hold these people accountable. Hate never will win. I will never apologise for living my truth and most recently who I am outside of football.”

Cavallo added that he was also targeted after the game online. 

“To @instagram I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that I’ve received,” he said. “I knew truely being who I am that I was going to come across this. It’s a sad reality that your platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.”

The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) said it was “shocked and saddened” to hear Cavallo’s reports of “homophobic bullying,” according to the Guardian

“Our players, staff and fans have the right to feel safe on and off the pitch,” APL CEO Danny Townsend said. “There is no place for bullying, harassment or abuse in Australian football and we have zero tolerance for this harmful behaviour.”

The APL is working with both teams to investigate the incident, adding that sanctions will be issued to anyone involved. 

In a statement, Adelaide United Chief Executive Officer Nathan Kosmina said that the team was “appalled” at the “verbal abuse” that Cavallo received. 

“Adelaide United is proud to be an inclusive and diverse football club, and to see one of our players subjected to homophobic abuse is disappointing and upsetting,” he said. “Josh continues to show immense courage and we join him in calling out abuse, which has no place in society, and it will not be tolerated by our Club.”

The Melbourne Victory added that it “sees football as a platform to unite fans no matter what background. Spectators found to have breached these standards will be banned from future matches.”

At the end of his Instagram message, Cavallo thanked those sending him positive messages, love and support. 

“Love will always win,” he said. 

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