Starting at 1:15 p.m. April 21 on Field One at Dairy Fields in Fairmount Park (look for the tent), the celebration offers welcomes, introductions and award presentations. The ceremony will include a moment of silence for passed members, acknowledgement of 10-, 20- and 30-year members, music via the Philadelphia Freedom Band and other special moments. After all of that, Councilman Jim Kenney, who recently introduced an LGBT-reform bill, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Immediately following the ceremonies will be an Old Timers game.
There are a few games scheduled the morning of April 21 before the festivities and there is also a regatta on the Schuylkill River that day, which means traffic and parking will be at a premium. Arrive early rather than trying to get there as it starts. For more information, go to www.cblsl.org.
The Gryphons Rugby Football Club will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a banquet April 27 at Square Peg, 929 Walnut St. The three-hour affair will include a social hour, dinner, stories and photos from the first 10 years of play.
Gryphons RFC president Phil Cochetti let me in on a couple of secrets during a recent conversation. I agreed to keep the major surprises under wraps, but he did give me permission to reveal that director of LGBT affairs Gloria Casarez is coming by towards the end of the banquet, and that usually means something special from the city or the mayor.
Players often hit a pub for drinking and singing after games, and Cochetti said there would likely be a drinking competition between old and new players and, after the dinner, many will go on a pub crawl. So if you see a bunch of these rowdies out and about, join in. For more rugby info, visit www.philadelphiagryphons.org.
Gay Games 9 gets some green
Two great announcements came out of Cleveland recently regarding grant donations and sponsorships for next year’s Gay Games. On April 10, Gay Games 9 officials announced that the Cleveland Foundation would make a $250,000 donation to the event, making it the first presenting sponsor in the event’s 31-year history. This milestone means the games officially will be named the 2014 Gay Games presented by the Cleveland Foundation, bringing visibility to the games. The new partnership between the Cleveland Foundation and Gay Games 9 will also establish an LGBT field-of-interest fund that will launch at the conclusion of the games, which will run Aug. 9-16, 2014, in Cleveland.
Also April 10, Ernst & Young LLP became the first national sponsor of the games. The firm’s $100,000 donation makes it a platinum sponsor of Gay Games 9.
Gay Games 9 president Thomas Nobbe said he was happy with the show of support and commitment to diversity by these two organizations. When asked if there was any other specific sponsorship in the works, Nobbe replied, “Stay tuned. This is just the start.”
First out, first sponsored
Last year, Nike made it clear that diversity was more than a talking point when the company hosted the first LGBT Sports Summit in Portland, Ore., and unveiled three Pride-themed sneakers. Since then, Nike has made it no secret that it is in total support of LGBT athletes around the world. (I would not be surprised to hear Nike announcing support of Gay Games 9 in the future.)
Now, Nike has announced it wants to sponsor the first recognizable pro-sports athlete who comes out while still actively playing. What exactly Nike officials mean by “recognizable” is up in the air. Is the person to be recognizable to the general public, the sports-wise or the LGBT community specifically? But, this is another amazing step in the right direction by Nike to bring homophobia out of the locker room.
What else is there to say? Go lace up your sneakers and get out and play. Just do it.
• The Gryphons have a round-robin tournament April 20 in New York City with the New York Gothic Knights and the Boston Ironsides. Our thoughts go out to those athletes, spectators and responders in Boston during this tragic time.
• Part of the CBLSL opening weekend is the annual street party, this year from 2-7 p.m. April 20 on Camac Street between Locust and Spruce streets. Food, fun, 50-50 raffles, music and modest mayhem are all on tap. It’s a fun afternoon of discount drinks and softball fundraising.
• The Philly Rollergirls are back on the flat track at 6 p.m. May 11 and again at 11:30 a.m. May 12 at the Class of 1923 Arena, 31st and Walnut streets; www.phillyrollergirls.com.
Countdown to Gay Games 9: 476 days. For all your fun and games, indoors or out, email firstname.lastname@example.org.