Get Out and Play

The myth that being LGBT precludes one from being an athlete has been refuted over and over, and Get Out and Play further seeks to highlight the important role that LGBT people play in the sports world. Philadelphia has a vibrant LGBT sports community and, in Get Out and Play, PGN artistic director and photographer Scott Drake chronicles the match-ups and meets, tournaments and tryouts that stand out on the local LGBT sports calendar, as well as tackles issues like homophobia in sports and unity among local teams.


Pride nights by professional sports organizations are becoming more common as the seasons go by. The Philadelphia Union aims to score with its LGBT soccer fans with its first Pride night July 26, for a matchup against the Columbus Crew SC at Talen Energy Field. The first official Philadelphia Union Pride Night, presented by the Pennsylvania Lottery, sprang up quickly this season, but there is plenty for the inaugural year to make LGBT fans feel welcome.

Summer starts either June 21 if you’re an astronomical purist, May 1 if you follow the meteorological calendar or Memorial Day weekend if you’re all about the days off. Days off? Yep! That’s what I’m talking about!

It hardly seems it, but Memorial Day is a mere four weeks away, and as all the warm-weather sports get into full swing (and kick), there’s plenty to cover across all fields. There are a stack of short stops this month, but the big story is the 10 rugby teams participating in Philadelphia for the Colonial Cup.

 

There are times in journalism when you pause and wonder if anyone is reading your words. It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing a sports column, an editorial, a film or theater review or the follow-up to a murder; sometimes you feel like you might have just an audience of one — yourself.

 

We often forget that sports are about more than just competition. For parents of youngsters, sports are a way for diverse personalities to interact in a playful and stimulating setting. It’s also a setting for learning unity, equality, tolerance, diversity and uniqueness. Personal interaction and teamwork are hallmarks of almost every team sport. Even many individual competitions require a fair amount of those skills.

Every handful of years we run a survey in the paper and online to learn about the readership. The vital part, IMHO, is finding out what people who regularly read PGN really dig into the paper to read. And by regular, I mean you read something online or in print more weeks than you don’t. These are the readers who have found their reasons for being a regular fan and what they’re reading is critical for us to know.

Soccer is an outdoor sport in the summer, but playing on frozen ground, ice and snowpack in air wind-chilled to 0 degrees isn’t a thing.

Every year, the Falcons go in search of a recreation center to use a couple times a week for some pick-up games, scrimmages and all-around skills work. And every year they go to the closest playground/rec center to the Gayborhood: Palumbo Recreation Center at 10th and Fitzwater streets. Yet every year, they are told it’s already all full. So again this winter, the players will trudge further south to the Guerin Recreation Center at 16th and Jackson streets.

So I dropped over to Palumbo to check things out and it all comes across as above-board. The traditional way for the rec centers to book seems to be that groups that have already been established get first swing to renew, which makes sense. And with a number of groups returning every year because of their school associations, it doesn’t change much, if at all, year to year.

To be fair, the scheduler at Palumbo did connect the Falcons with Guerin in the first place and it continues to be a fall-back option. This fall, the group is tentatively practicing there beginning Oct. 31 on mixed days and times for a couple of weeks and then settling into a late-night 7:50-9:50 p.m. Monday/Tuesday routine.

I was also told that Palumbo High School could be an option for one night a week or more, which is much more convenient. There is also the new gymnasium at the Marion Anderson Rec Center at 17th and Fitzwater streets, which just opened weeks ago so, theoretically, it should have a plethora of available time slots.

What all this says is what we already knew: The city has limited space available for limited hours. It also points out an issue that sports groups share, which is finding available space in a convenient gym on a consistent basis. Stonewall Sports, for example, has used everywhere from FDR Park to Marconi Plaza to a spot in North Philly and Drexel University, to name a few.

Keep up to date on what’s where through the winter at the Falcons’ Facebook page. Search Philadelphia Falcons. For Stonewall Sports, the website is stonewallphilly.org.

 

Liberty and tennis for all

The Philadelphia Liberty Tennis Association is having an autumnal soiree 10 a.m.-noon Oct. 22 in FDR Park. The social event includes food and drinks and is open to members and non-members alike. If you play tennis and are looking for a regular group with whom to play, this is your chance to meet some people and get involved. The courts are located just inside the entrance off Pattison Avenue near Broad Street.

PLTA has weekend hours reserved for play in the park, one of the perks of being a member — that, and having a group of like-minded racketeers to contact for a game of singles. Once the nice weather gives it up to old man winter, the group moves indoors. The organization has not determined where they will hunker down for the winter.

For more information on the social or to keep tabs on the group if you’re interested in joining, go to philadelphialibertytennis.org.

 

Graveyard shift

It’s time again for MANNA’s annual Run4UrLife fundraiser at West Laurel Hill Cemetery. This is a short 3K walk/run event that begins around 4 p.m. Oct. 22 with food, games, fun and drinks for your entertainment, followed by spooky surprises after dark.

The walk/run part starts at sundown and weaves through the cemetery (and I might add, it’s a classic cemetery without street lights or lighted pathways) where sounds, sights and who knows what will jump out at you!

Registration is $35 and all of the proceeds go into MANNA’s coffins. Er, uh, coffers. Go to mannapa.org for complete details.

 

Short stops

  • Join Fresh Meat any time! Beginning Oct. 2, The Philly Roller Derby Fresh Meat practices will be rolling admission, meaning you can join whenever you want! All skill levels are allowed. You must be 18 or over to participate. Check out the Facebook event page for more details: Facebook.com/events/440134652823548/.
  • One-upping the Falcons, and not a part of its overall umbrella, Starfinder is running women’s pick-up soccer 10:30 a.m.-noon Sundays at 4015 Main St. in Manayunk. Women only, 18 and over, and you must sign a waiver. There is no fee.

Get Out and Play runs approximately twice a month. To share where and what you get out and play with, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Since March, a small group of fitness enthusiasts led by Eloy Muñoz have been sharing their Saturday mornings in some high-intensity interval training in Fairmount Park. Edgley Field is the spot for the early-morning workouts, which, if you’re familiar with Falcons Soccer, you know is the space near the reservoir. It’s a fairly centrally located spot with plenty of parking.

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