FOUR YEARS AGO, I was still new to Columbus and didn’t know many people. To help change this, a friend encouraged me to join his team in the Columbus Lesbian & Gay Softball Association (CLGSA). I thought, why not? Looking back it was one of the best decisions I could have made. Not only did I become part of an amazing team and one of the largest LGBTQ leagues in the nation; I became part of a family.
When CLGSA was founded in 1986 there were only a few teams, but participation has grown over time to include 28 teams for the 2013 season. There are five different divisions based on skill level. So whether you were the star of your high school baseball team or if you’ve never thrown a ball in your life, there is a team that would work for you. The most important thing to remember is, “There’s no crying in softball.” This league is about making new friends, learning new skills, and having fun whether you win or lose. Teams are set this year, but plan to join up next year.
Games are played Sunday afternoons at the newly renovated Tuttle Park Fields just north of Lane Ave. Cheer on your favorite team and join them afterward as they patronize their sponsoring bars. Remember, if you can’t be an athlete, be an athletic supporter.
Photos | Josh McConaughy
CLGSA is also responsible for my favorite event of Columbus Pride weekend: Bat-n-Rouge. This drag softball fundraiser is one of the oldest annual charity events in Columbus and has brought in more than $200,000 over the years. Last year Bat-n-Rouge raised $24,000 allowing CLGSA to donate $10,000 to local charities while continuing to operate without dues from individual players. This “must attend” event is hosted by Nina West and Virginia West at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 23 at Dodge Park. Of course the gates open and the fun starts at noon.
Columbus offers many different LGBTQ sports leagues and I encourage everyone to get out there and join a team. Playing softball for the last four years has enriched my life in countless ways and brought me so much joy. I am proud to be member of the CLGSA league. The time has come, for one and all … to play ball.