Each LGBT-inclusive sports team or club in the D.C. area is loaded with athletes and leaders who make their respective organizations a success.
In the launch of the new D.C. All-Stars series in the Washington Blade, we shine a light on the two MVP award winners from Season 13 of the D.C. Gay Flag Football League.
With more than 300 players on 22 teams, standing out as an All-Star during a 10-week season requires a special mix of leadership and athletic excellence.
In her first season with the league, Lindsey Walton captured the female rookie of the year award. In her second season this past fall, she followed that up with the female MVP award.
Growing up in Pittsburgh, Walton excelled in soccer, basketball and softball. She took on another sport when a coach saw her throwing a football.
“I always had an interest in football, but my mom wouldn’t let me play because I was small,” says Walton. “The track and field coach saw me throwing a football and recruited me to throw the javelin.”
She would be recruited again for college, this time playing four years of soccer as the starting goalkeeper at Howard University. After graduating she remained in the sport playing club soccer with men as a goalkeeper.
After several years in D.C., Walton moved to Chicago and picked up flag football in an attempt to make new friends. She continued in the sport when she returned to D.C. and joined a women’s league and a co-ed league. The demands of the one league sent her on a different sports path.
“The league I joined was more physical than most and allowed downfield blocking with no body protection,” Walton says. “I decided I needed to put on pads and play full tackle.”
She joined the Washington Prodigy in 2014 and continues to play as a punter, kicker and receiver. Two years later she added on flag football with the league, which doesn’t utilize downfield blocking rules.
“I like competing against guys and I like giving them the work. It’s fun for me,” says Walton. “Some guys take it easy on me which just makes me have to embarrass them.”
Walton, who works as a communications director with the D.C. Council and met her girlfriend in the league, is also a member of two of the league’s travel teams, the Washington Senators and DC Delta Force.
The Delta Force won the title at the Pride Bowl in Chicago last June and this weekend, she will be traveling with her Senators teammates to compete in the Sunshine Bowl in Fort Lauderdale.
Jordan Anderson’s life growing up as a military brat included time spent in multiple states including California, Virginia, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Despite all the moving, he found success in football, basketball and track and field.
He spent three years as a running back on the football team at James Madison University and after redshirting a year, completed his fourth year of athletic eligibility as a running back at Virginia State while earning his master’s degree.
When his mother became stationed at Andrews Air Force Base in 2014, he decided to stay in the area to help care for his 8 year-old twin siblings. He went with a friend to watch a league game and joined in the spring of 2016.
“I was drafted onto a team full of rookies in my first season,” says Anderson. “We came together as a team as the season progressed and finished as runner-ups in the season-ending Super Bowl.”
Because of the way the league draft system works, Anderson found himself on a new team with only one person from his prior team in his second season last fall. It was on that team that Anderson found that balance of sportsmanship, leadership and community spirit that would propel him to the season’s male MVP award.
“I like to help people to believe in themselves,” Anderson says. “If someone wants to play cornerback, I want to help them achieve that goal. In the long run, it also helps to make my team better.”
Anderson, who is working as a medical assistant with an eye on moving towards physical therapy, is enjoying that the League fills his competitive needs as well as the social aspects of being around so many athletes.
“I love the competition and this is a great way for me to get exercise; jumping, running and cutting is just better than a gym workout,” says Anderson. “Also, as one of the younger players, it is a big plus for me to be around fellow athletes who are doctors, lawyers and community leaders.”
Registration for Season 14 of the DCGFFL will begin on January 24 for returning players and January 31 for new players.