Thom Duffy wrestled with the guys, wrestled with his available time and wrestled with his decision until ultimately deciding to return to Spartans Wrestling earlier this year. The once-former, now-current member is eager once again to increase the team’s visibility and membership over the winter months and next year.
Spartan membership has waned over the years and the drive is back to encourage interested grapplers of all ages and weight classes to participate. There are regular practices as well as the occasional tournament in and out of town. Skill levels vary, so if you are a former wrestler or even a newly interested one, the group will welcome you.
Duffy decided to return after his hiatus for a number of reasons.
“I was looking to be part of a group and activity that was physical and healthy,” he said. “The big reason was returning and being a part of a group that is warm and a strong bond. I missed that when I was gone — glad to be part of it again.”
The fall Spartan wrestling tournament is slated for Oct. 10 at First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St. Weigh-ins begin promptly at noon with the guys hitting the mats starting around 1 p.m. The annual event draws wrestlers from Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., New York City and several other places in the Mid-Atlantic. You’re welcome to enjoy watching guys in their skin-fitting singlets take each other down for a small donation.
More information can be found at phillyspartans.com/ and on Facebook.
Out in the street
OutFest is a Sunday block party, but many groups jump on its coattails and ride it like a cheap porn star. (Not that I have anything against cheap porn stars.) I expect the sports teams will be set up like a defensive line on 13th Street again this year, and what a great way to interact and recruit new players. And just as importantly, new sponsors!
While you’re out celebrating being out of the closet with 10,000 of your closest friends, remember that LGBTQ athletes are some of the last members of our society to become comfortable exposing themselves to the antigay attitudes of some sports organizations. Stop by all of the booths, not just your favorite Speedo-, singlet- or football-clad table, and offer words of encouragement and support. Then toss them a dollar or five to keep these great institutions thriving.
After the festival
The weekend after OutFest holds another couple of fun events. First, on Oct. 17, it’s the Tough Mudder Philly obstacle course (toughmudder.com/events/2015-philly), which is oddly not in Philadelphia but at Plantation Field, 329 Apple Grove Road in Coatesville. I know that won’t deter many of you; you’re dirty and you like it like that.
Then on Oct. 18, the same day as the AIDS Walk if you’re keeping score, Stonewall Kickball is bringing Halloween out a couple weeks early. Players are encouraged to wear costumes safe to play in for the afternoon games at Marconi Plaza at Broad Street and Oregon Avenue. If you’re not a kickballer, come watch the fun or put something on and be part of the party. A costume contest afterparty is at Tabu; facebook.com/events/1624199151162203/ for more info.
• Philadelphia Firebirds’ next tryouts are 9 a.m.-noon Oct. 18 at Kendrick Recreation Center, 5822 Ridge Ave. Cleats and water are highly recommended, but not mandatory. All skill levels are welcome; Philadelphiafirebirds.com.
• Greater Philadelphia Flag Football League is having its annual Halloween party 7 p.m. Oct. 31 at William Way LGBT Community Center; phillyflagfootball.com.
• CBLSL Fall Ball continues Sundays at Sweetbriar Fields through Oct. 25. Watch for details on the end-of-season annual softball fall bar crawl (try saying that three times fast); cblsl.org.
• Philadelphia Frontrunners are still meeting Saturday mornings while the fall weather settles in. Meet 9:15 a.m. at Lloyd Hall for a Kelly Drive run and a brunch to follow. Just show up with your running shoes on.