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More than 7,000 active in D.C. LGBT sports leagues

Kickball, softball, football among 36 sports that draw players

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Super Bowl, gay news, Washington Blade
DCGFFL, LGBT sports, D.C. Gay Flag Football League, sports, gay news, Washington Blade

The DC Gay Flag Football League is one of many outlets for LGBT athletes in the city. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

In what some consider a little-known development, more than 7,000 LGBT people in the D.C. metropolitan area are actively involved in hundreds of teams and dozens of leagues that play in at least 36 sports ranging from softball, tennis, and kickball to bowling, soccer, and scuba diving.

Steve Frable, president of Team D.C., a nonprofit association that represents and promotes at least 36 LGBT sports clubs, said it’s hard to keep track of the exact number of people involved in the LGBT sports groups because many play more than one sport.

“A lot of people who are into these sports play multiple sports,” he said. “I’m a softballer and a bowler. My partner is a tennis player and a volleyball player and a bowler,” Frable said.

“So we don’t maintain any type of individual database that says this person is a bowler or softballer,” he said. “We just rely on the teams themselves and the clubs to tell us how many people they have.”

Regardless of the exact number, Team D.C.’s official list of LGBT sports clubs and the specific sport they play includes a wide variety of sports that Les Johnson, the immediate past president of Team D.C., said clearly dispels the stereotype that LGBT people shun sports.

“We have a very active legitimate LGBT sports community here in D.C.,” Johnson said.

Frable said one of the largest of the clubs is Stonewall Kickball, which has about 1,000 players competing in numerous leagues and dozens of teams.

The names of some of the clubs, which usually include the sport in which they are involved, include: Lambda Links Golf; Stonewall Dodgeball; Capital Splats Racquetball; D.C. Strokes Rowing Club; Washington Renegades Rugby; D.C. Pride Volleyball League; Eastern Women’s Baseball Club; D.C. Sentinels Basketball; and D.C. Gay Flag Football League.

Some of the sports groups, including the Quantico Orienteering Club, involve lesser known sports.

“Orienteering is an outdoor sport in which participants use a topographic map and compass to navigate to a series of checkpoints,” a write-up on the club’s website says. The write-up says the sport can involve “challenging yourself, racing against the clock, trying to maintain mental focus while pushing hard physically through demanding terrain.”

It adds, “If you love exploring the great outdoors, while being challenged physically and mentally, try orienteering. You’ll be hooked for life!”

One of the newer clubs to join Team D.C. is Stonewall Climbing, a rock climbing league that its founder Brian Yamasaki said is initially carrying out its climbing competition at a unique gym in the Crystal City section of Arlington, Va., that has created indoor rock-like walls for climbing.

“Essentially the league monitors everyone’s personal progress and then you get ranked amongst your teammates and then the teams get ranked among each other,” Yamasaki said. “We welcome anybody from seasoned climbers to completely new beginners.”

A number of the clubs involve swimming and sailing, including Washington Wetskins Water Polo; D.C. Aquatics Club, which involves swimming competition; Rainbow Spinnakers Sailing; and D.C. Strokes Rowing Club. The latter group competes on the Anacostia River.

“DCSRC holds fast to the conviction that LGBT rowers can be formidable athletes and competitors,” the group says on its website. “Our goal is for the DCSRC to be a platform for competitive success and to increase the profile of LGBT rowers in the rowing community while promoting a spirit of camaraderie amongst our members.”

Lambda Divers, which organizes scuba diving trips, says on its website that it has grown significantly since it was founded in 1989.

“Since then it has grown to be one of the most successful LGBTQ scuba clubs in the world,” the group’s website says. “We provide a unique forum through which LGBTQ divers can meet, learn more about diving, make friends and dive buddies, and enjoy great camaraderie on dive trips and social events.”

Johnson said he stepped down as president of Team D.C. after he was named vice president of external affairs for the Federation of Gay Games, the group that organizes the international LGBT sports competition known as the Gay Games.

D.C. is one of three cities competing to host the 2022 Gay Games. The FGG is scheduled to announce its decision on the host city at its annual meeting in Paris in October.

Johnson, an avid bowler, also serves as president of Capital Area Rainbowlers Association, an LGBT bowling club affiliated with Team D.C. that has about 400 members involved in its fall, winter and summer leagues.

“We have some really good bowlers,” he said. “My league last year had three perfect games,” he added, referring to a bowling score of 300, the highest possible score. “We probably have a dozen or more bowlers that have a 200 or more average.”

Brent Minor, one of the founders of Team D.C. who currently serves as chair of the committee promoting D.C.’s bid to become the host city for the 2022 Gay Games, said he has taken a leave of absence from his role as executive director of Team D.C. during the Gay Games bidding process.

He noted that Team D.C. was established in 1990 and incorporated in 2003 as a 501(c)3 charitable organization.

“Team D.C. works within the broader community to dispel discrimination against LGBT people participating in sports; awards scholarships to LGBT student-athletes; provides a network of sporting outlets for the LGBT community in the Washington Metropolitan area; and promotes participation in local, regional, national, and international amateur sports competitions,” according to the group’s website.

Other LGBT sports leagues and clubs affiliated with Team D.C. include Stonewall Darts; Rogue Darts; Lambda Squares Square Dancing; Ultimate Out Frisbee League; D.C. Roller Girls; Washington Furies Women’s Rugby; D.C. Front Runners; D.C. Sentinels Basketball; Chesapeake & Potomac Softball; TriOuts Triathlon Club; Stonewall Billiards; Stonewall Bocce; and Stonewall Darts.

A complete list of all of the clubs and leagues can be accessed at teamdc.org.

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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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