Connect with us

Sports

Rookies & vets: Federal Triangles

Players of all skill levels find fun in gay league

Published

on

Federal Triangles, gay news, Washington Blade
Federal Triangles, gay news, Washington Blade

Scott Teribury, left, and Andy Sylvia on the field. (Photo courtesy Federal Triangles)

This week in the continuing Blade series on the rookies and veterans that make up the LGBT sports teams in the Washington area, we check in with two gay athletes from the Federal Triangles Soccer Club.

The Triangles host the Summer of Freedom League every summer and three tournaments throughout the year. In addition, their players travel to out-of-town tournaments and play in a variety of straight leagues in the area.

Scott Teribury grew up on military bases mostly in northern Virginia and competed in wrestling and soccer. He also ran cross country and track for his high school. During his collegiate years at Christopher Newport University, he played intramural soccer.

After moving to the D.C. area in 2012 to work in consulting, he Googled “gay sports” and found two clubs that interested him, D.C. Front Runners and the Federal Triangles Soccer Club. He ended up going with a friend to a Triangles pick-up game in 2013 and was recruited and put into a league mid-season.

“When I moved to the area I only knew a couple of people,” Teribury says. “The Triangles participate in so many things and the athletes are all so different. I have made many new friends including a best friend.”

Teribury has been competing in the area competitive leagues along with the Summer of Freedom League. He says the veterans are very supportive and are always looking to put new players on their teams. Several of the Triangles players have called Teribury the best rookie player to come along in years.

He has also been traveling with his teammates to tournaments and has played in Cleveland, Provincetown, Rehoboth Beach, Philadelphia and New York.

An ankle injury in October has him sidelined for the time being and he will have surgery in January. The recovery period will be four to six months, but he is already planning his return.

“The International Gay & Lesbian Football Association Worldcup is in Portland in August of 2016,” Teribury says. “I am hoping to be there.”

Andy Sylvia was born and raised on the eastern shore of Maryland and played club soccer up until his high school years. After finishing his degree at Salisbury University he moved to the D.C area for his work in human resources.

In 1998 he was looking for a new social activity and began playing pick-up games with the Triangles and is still playing with some of those same players.

“My first tournament with the Triangles was in Fort Lauderdale and it was great opportunity to bond with my teammates. Soccer has given me a fun group of people to travel with,” Sylvia says. “I have also met people from all over the world and it is a comfortable feeling to compete with those same athletes at the international events.”

Over the past 18 years, Sylvia has played in tournaments in Cologne, Dublin, London, Copenhagen, Sydney, Buenos Aires, Barcelona and Montreal among others. Along with Teribury, he is also planning on being at the Worldcup in Portland next year.

Sylvia says people come and go all the time and depending on the skill level of the rookie player coming in, you sometimes have to remind them that they are playing in a recreational league.

“Putting a team together is more than just throwing 11 people on the field,” Sylvia says. “A rookie player needs to learn how to play with his team and the team needs to learn how to play with him.”

Coming up for Sylvia this next year is the Liberty Bell tournament in Philadelphia, the Summer of Freedom League, the aforementioned Worldcup in Portland and the Rehoboth Beach Classic of which he is one of the founding players.

“Most of the teams I play on now have athletes that are over 30 years old,” Sylvia says. “The skill levels of the rookie players coming in today are much higher than they were before soccer became popular.”

Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

Sports

Brittney Griner and wife celebrate birth of their son

Cherelle Griner gave birth to healthy baby boy earlier this month

Published

on

Brittney Griner (Screen capture via Instagram)

It’s a boy for Brittney and Cherelle Griner. The Phoenix Mercury center revealed the news in interviews with CBS Sports and NBC News. 

“Every minute I feel like he’s popping into my head, said Griner. “Literally everything revolves around him. And I love it.”

The couple officially welcomed the baby boy on July 8. He weighs 7 pounds, 8 ounces.

“That’s my man. He is amazing,” Griner told CBS Sports. “They said as soon as you see them, everything that you thought mattered just goes out the window. That’s literally what happened.” 

Griner, 33, corrected the CBS News correspondent who said, “You’re about to be a mom!” She told her Cherelle, 33, had already delivered the baby and that she preferred to be called,“Pops.” 

Griner told NBC News correspondent Liz Kreutz they chose to name their newborn son, “Bash.” 

The WNBA star said she is Bash’s biggest fan and is constantly taking photos of him. “My whole phone has turned into him now,” Griner told CBS Sports.

The baby comes as Griner gets set to play in Saturday’s WNBA All-Star Game and then head to Paris with Team USA to compete for their 8th straight gold medal at the Summer Olympic Games. 

“It kind of sucks because I have to leave, but at the same time, he will understand,” said Griner. 

Her time in Paris will mark the first time since the basketball star was released from a Russian gulag, where she was held on drug charges for nearly 10 months in 2022.

“BG is locked in and ready to go,” Griner told NBC News on Friday. “I’m happy, I’m in a great place. I’m representing my country, the country that fought for me to come back. I’m gonna represent it well.”

Griner also spoke with NBC News about her hopes the U.S. can win the freedom of imprisoned Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was sentenced to 16 years in a Russian maximum security prison on Friday. 

“We have to get him back,” she said. 

Continue Reading

Sports

High hurdler Trey Cunningham comes out as gay

Florida State University alum grew up in Ala.

Published

on

Trey Cunningham (Photo courtesy of Cunningham's Instagram page)

He didn’t get to punch his ticket to the Olympics this summer but Trey Cunningham, 26, one of the world’s best high hurdlers, is in the news for a far more personal reason: He publicly came out as gay. 

“We say our goals out loud,” Cunningham told the New York Times Monday, explaining a technique he has relied upon in his training as an elite athlete. “If there’s something we want to achieve, we say it. Putting something in words makes it real.”

His sexuality isn’t exactly a secret. Cunningham came out to his parents and friends by phone five years ago at age 20. 

“It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done,” he told the Times, recalling that he found himself dripping with sweat as he waited for the ringing to end and for the calls to be connected. 

Cunningham revealed to the newspaper that he got the sense that at least some of his friends were not at all surprised by this news, and had been “waiting for me,” he said. “I was really lucky to have a group of people who did not care.”

He was in college then, starting to “explore the idea” of his sexual attraction. 

“It took me awhile to know it felt right,” he said. 

His high school years in Winfield, Ala., were a time for friends and fun, dreaming of playing pro basketball with the Boston Celtics before discovering he enjoyed “flinging myself at solid objects at high speed,” he said. It was not a place conducive to dating other boys. 

Cunningham recalled his hometown as “rural, quite conservative, quite religious: The sort of place where you did not want to be the gay kid at school,” he told the paper. “So, I had certain expectations of what my life would look like, and it took me a little while to get my head around it, looking different to that.”

So, it was not a surprise that his parents gave him some “pushback” — in his words — when he called them with the news five years ago. 

“They had certain expectations for their little boy, for what his life would be like, and that’s OK,” he told the Times. “I gave them a 5-year grace period. I had to take my time. They could take theirs, too.” 

Cunningham drew a parallel between his own process and theirs. “What was true for me was also true for my parents,” said the world-class sprinter. 

And he is world-class, even if he’ll be watching the Summer Games instead of competing in them. As the Times reported, Cunningham is ranked 11th in the world. In 2022, he won the silver medal in high hurdles at the world championships in Eugene, Ore., and last month he placed ninth in the 110-meter hurdles at the U.S. Olympic trials. 

“If you do well in the U.S. trials, you know you have a good shot at a medal,” he said.

Following his disappointing finish in what he described as a “stacked field” of competitors, he is coming out as gay in an interview with a journalist now because everyone who he feels needs to know has known for some time, he said. Also, he recognizes that being out is still rare. 

“There are lots of people who are in this weird space,” said Cunningham. “They’re not out. But it is kind of understood.”

What he hopes is that both sports and the wider world will someday get to a place where “people do not have to ‘come out,” he said, where people can “just get on with being them.”

In addition to being an elite athlete, Cunningham has a Master of Science degree from Florida State University, a deal with Adidas and — with his scruffy square jaw and pouty lips — he is a sought-after Ford model.

He said in the interview that he realized coming out comes with practical and potentially financial considerations: Competing in countries where being gay is a crime, like Qatar. Although he doesn’t think hiding his sexuality inhibited his performance or that some great weight is now lifted, he believes being public about it has value.

There are times, Cunningham said, when it pays to say something out loud, to make things real. This is that time. 

Continue Reading

Sports

Transgender nonbinary runner Nikki Hiltz makes Team USA

‘Woke up an Olympian’

Published

on

(Screenshot)

They ran like the wind, broke the tape at the finish line, and clutched their chest with the broadest smile on their face. Then Nikki Hiltz collapsed to the track, having set a new record in the 1,500-meter race at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials and earned a spot on Team USA. 

As the realization sank in that they would be representing the U.S. in Paris as an out transgender nonbinary athlete, what the Paris-bound Olympian did next was to scribble a message of LGBTQ representation on the last day of Pride Month, writing with a red marker upon the glass of the camera that records each athlete’s signature on a whiteboard: 

“I ❤️ the gays,” they wrote, and above it, they signed their first name. 

Hiltz, 29, finished the race on Sunday at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field in first-place with a final time of 3:55:33, breaking third-place finisher Elle St. Pierre’s 2021 record of 3:58:03. 

Hiltz credited St. Pierre, the top-finishing American and third-place finisher in the women’s 1,500 at the Tokyo Olympics, with motivated them and the other competitors to race faster. With a first lap time of 61 seconds, St. Pierre led the race for the majority of its duration. St. Pierre and Emily Mackay, who placed second, also both earned spots in the Paris Olympics.

“If someone would have told me this morning that 3:56 doesn’t make the team, I don’t want to know that. I’m just in the race to run it and race it and that’s what I did,” Hiltz said after the race. The Santa Cruz native who came out in 2021 as trans nonbinary told NBC Sports that the accomplishment is “bigger than just me.”

“I wanted to run this for my community,” Hiltz said, “All of the LGBT folks, yeah, you guys brought me home that last hundred. I could just feel the love and support.” 

On Monday, Hiltz reflected on the race and how they became an Olympian in a post on Instagram.

“Woke up an Olympian. 🥹 Yesterday afternoon in Eugene Oregon a childhood dream of mine came true. I’m not sure when this will fully sink in … All I know is today I’m waking up just so grateful for my people, overwhelmed by all the love and support, and filled with joy that I get to race people I deeply love and respect around a track for a living. 🙏”

Hiltz also shared a photo with their girlfriend, runner Emma Gee, and captioned it: “Remember in Inside Out 2 when Joy says “maybe this is what happens when you grow up … you feel less joy”? Yeah I actually have no idea what she’s talking about. 🎈🌈🤠🦅🥐🇫🇷”

They shared photos in their new Team USA garb, too. 

While they will be the first out trans nonbinary member of the U.S. track and field team, Hiltz will not be the first nonbinary Olympian. That honor goes to Quinn, who played soccer for Canada in Tokyo and holds the record as the only nonbinary athlete to have won a gold medal. So far. 

Many of the posts by Hiltz, Team USA and others have been trolled by bigots and ignoramuses who have mistaken them for a trans woman who was presumed to be male at birth and transitioned genders. Right-wing outlets and anti-trans activist Riley Gaines have commented on their victory and questioned their gender identity and decision to compete against cisgender women. 

But in the spirit of the late Marsha P. Johnson, who famously said the “P” stood for “pay no mind” to the haters, Hiltz shared a photo of a handwritten motivational note to themself, which ends: “I saw a quote online the other week that said, ‘respect everybody, fear nobody,’ and that’s exactly how I’m going to approach this final. I can do this.” 

And they did. 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade

Advertisement

Popular