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.

Soccer will probably never overtake baseball as America’s favorite pastime, but it is evident that the past decade has seen a massive increase in the number of people interested in the game. World Cup followers aside, there are plenty of people passionate about futbol in Philadelphia. There are those who brought their love of the game with them and many others are finding the action more exciting than football — with its six seconds of action and two minutes of milling about ass-patting.         

As ripples of hate in pockets of the country swell into waves of statewide bigotry, it’s clear the LGBTQI community again has to prepare for another battle with the evil empire rallying under the guise of religion. As mind-boggling as it is, some self-identified “Christians” are still raising their offspring to be intolerant, racist bigots created in their own image and are leading another crusade to eradicate anyone who makes them feel icky.

When you’re a group like City of Brotherly Love Softball League, Greater Philadelphia Flag Football League or Stonewall Sports, with hundreds of participating members, you’re already ahead of the smaller organizations by shear numbers. With officers, a board, event and fundraising people, web and Facebook-savvy updaters, maybe 20 people can keep the organization on track and in the public eye also.

Just less than three months of practice and play remain before members of the Philadelphia Gryphons Rugby Football Club head to Nashville, Tenn., for the biannual Bingham Cup. The international gay rugby league tournament honors and celebrates the life of Mark Bingham, motivator behind the passenger takeover of Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001.

Victor Miranda was more interested in tennis when he started as a freshman at Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J., but a friend was trying out for the cheerleading team and he decided to go with her in support. All it took was the coach asking him to help with some of the acts they were doing and he was hooked.

Whether it’s the change in acceptance and openness, what is now being taught in gym classes and after-school sports or just the desire to be a team player versus an individual competitor, sports organizations in Philadelphia are reaching new, and frequently difficult, crossroads.

On Jan. 25, the Philadelphia Flyers will celebrate the NHL collaboration with national LGBTQ youth sports organization You Can Play during a regular-season game against the Boston Bruins. Event organizers hope to bring more awareness to the program and help put some money into the You Can Play coffers.

With the outdoor sports all in hibernation and soccer pickup, volleyball and dodgeball waiting in the wings for first-week play, only the swimmers and wrestlers are vying for attention in early January. But there’s some other stuff to talk about too.

Thomas Hormby, of the Nashville Grizzlies gay and inclusive rugby team, emailed me to announce they just released their 2016 fundraising calendar.       

The Grizzlies host the Bingham Cup, the world championship of gay rugby, in Nashville in May 2016. The tournament is named after Mark Bingham, who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacking and crash of United Flight 93. The Bingham Cup is the biggest tournament in the world for gay and inclusive teams, and this will be the first year it has been hosted in the Southern United States.

Hormby said organizers have been playing a number of straight teams the past season for the first time and are working hard to raise money so the tournament is affordable to many. He also said their goal is to “create a safe space for players of all sexual orientations, backgrounds and experience levels to learn about the sport and have fun.”

Our own Philadelphia Griffins RFC are also raising money to compete in Nashville next year. You can get more information on how to support the team or sponsor a player at

Grizzlies calendars can be ordered at


Short stops

• Get Out and Play will be on hiatus the rest of the month, coming back strong Jan. 1, 2016. Have a great holiday, and a safe one also. And whether it stays nice longer this year or turns cold and snowy, remember to get out and play!

Thanks for another great year of sports and recreation. If you want to share a story idea, interview possibility or a fundraiser event where there are shirtless men, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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