Summer tournaments crown the sports circuit
by Scott A. Drake
May 16, 2013 | 1491 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<b>OFF AND RUNNING:</b> With the flag football Gay Bowl heading to Philadelphia next year, Greater Philadelphia Flag Football League kicked off its fundraising May 4 with a Kentucky Derby party at Pennsylvania 6. About 50 players, friends and supporters packed the new eatery on South 12th Street and raised $1,200 for the event.<i> Photo: Scott A. Drake  </i>
OFF AND RUNNING: With the flag football Gay Bowl heading to Philadelphia next year, Greater Philadelphia Flag Football League kicked off its fundraising May 4 with a Kentucky Derby party at Pennsylvania 6. About 50 players, friends and supporters packed the new eatery on South 12th Street and raised $1,200 for the event. Photo: Scott A. Drake
Spring soakers mean a muddy May

Before I kick off the annual summer-sports rundown, a couple of notes on the wet weather impacts. Soccer, football and softball were all canceled or postponed due to soggy soil May 11-12, because all of the organizations that play in city-managed parks are at the mercy of the parks commission calling the shots on field usage after rain. It also means the outdoor sport photo options were very limited.

This means the City of Brotherly Love Softball League will move last weekend’s games to the built-in July 26 rain date and hope for no more rained-out Sundays. GPFFL already lost a couple of Saturdays this spring and rearranged some schedules, extended the season and moved the championships to after Memorial Day this year, so they had to cancel the May 11 match-ups all together.

The Gryphons RFC played in the mud. That’s what real football players do. They lost their battle with Second City RFC in their season closer and finished the spring season with a 3-4 record.

If you’re an athlete, you know about your own organization’s schedule, and if you are not, then this is a great opportunity to participate in a stand-alone event or just go and watch with a packed cooler. Here is what is going on across the fields, greens, courts and paths during the summer.

Summer starters

Memorial Day kicks off the summer and tournament seasons with two Liberty Bell Classics — one for soccer, one for softball. The playing days are the same, but the sports and locales are quite different!

Softball takes to its usual battlefields in Fairmount Park and South Jersey. Online registration is underway for teams but if you want to play and you’re not on a team, singles signups are the way to go. Registration is 7-10 p.m. May 24 at ICandy and games are played May 25-26.

The annual tournament street party is May 25 on Camac Street between Locust and Spruce streets and the closing party is at Fox & Hound. Special T-shirts will be sold, with proceeds going to One Fund Boston. Visit for all this and more information.

Those birds-of-prey Falcons are holding their sixth annual Liberty Bell Classic the same weekend, at Pennypack Park on the Delaware River. This is a non aggressive coed tournament that welcomes players of all ages, skill levels and sexual orientations, so if you want to play, jump into the fray because everyone is welcome. Squads are set based on skills, so grab your water, sunscreen and cleats (if you have them) for some fun in the sun.

Registration is held 7-9 p.m. May 24 at Stir and as many as eight games are played Saturday and Sunday. More than 50 people are expected from Philadelphia, New York City, Washington D.C., and the surrounding areas.

These fancy footworkers also have a cookout after the Sunday games, so bring your folding chair and cooler. The post-tournament cookout is after the awards presentations.

Don’t play soccer? That’s OK. Go on up and hang out along the river and watch a game — they always approve of spectators! Visit

June: Fun on the run

Runners get revved up starting in June with mid-month color runs in back-to-back race days. Members of the Philadelphia Frontrunners and dozens of other LGBT runners will go through the paces in these fun runs that aren’t about winning as much as they are about having fun. And getting a dye job.

Run or Dye is June 15, with two morning times to run. The 9 a.m. slots are filled, but you can still get into the 11 a.m. run and get your colors on. The 5K run starts at Citizens Bank Park and stays in South Philly until it makes its way back to the ballpark. See for more info.

All color runs are not created equal, I am told. Color Me Rad sold out weeks ago, but if you want to see what this one is all about, head up to the Please Touch Museum the morning of June 16. The color bombs start going off at 8 a.m. This run benefits the Special Olympics;

The Gryphons RFC is a spring and fall organization, but that doesn’t mean they sit around all summer and drink beer. Well, it does, but they also get together in groups of seven, seven minutes at a time for some other fun.

If you’re not familiar with 7s, you’re not alone. These are shorter games that have seven-minute halves and only seven players on a side. They can be men’s, women’s, co-ed and even college teams. Philadelphia Women’s Rugby has a competitive side and a rec side, so if you want to play or just watch, there’s a place for you.

For next month, the schedule is June 8, Lehigh Valley 7s in Bethlehem; June 15, PICK 7s in Washington, D.C.; June 22, Rugarama in Washington, D.C.; and June 29, Harrisburg 7s in Harrisburg. Get all the details at

Also in June:

• GPFFL has its spring championship games June 1 at Columbus Park, 1200 Wharton St.

• Spartans Wrestling hosts its annual wrestling tournament June 15 with participants expected from New York City and Washington, D.C. They hit the mats starting at 1 p.m. at First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St.;

• CBLSL has a Bingo, Beef & Beer fundraiser for fans of any or all of those three on June 15 at Finnigan’s Wake.

• GPFFL competitive team The Revolution will once again hit the windy city for Pride Bowl VI during Chicago Pride June 28-30.

July: Alleys and Courts

The 25th annual Liberty Belle Invitational Bowling Tournament is again over the July 4 weekend (or thereabouts) and promises some alleys and gutters for local and visiting players. For this tournament, you must have an established average through an IGBO-sanctioned league to play, but you do not have to be any particular level of bowler.

Last year, Doug Scheidig bowled a perfect game, a first for the annual tournament. Organizers say they expect at least as many people as last year and another prize pot over $20,000.

All of the games are at Laurel Lanes in Maple Shade, N.J., but you can catch most of the bowlers in the ’hood after they’ve finished their frames and games. The tournament finale is cocktails and a banquet on the last night at the Doubletree Hotel on Broad Street. Information for the July 5-7 event can be found at

The second annual Philadelphia Open tennis tournament hosted by Philadelphia Liberty Tennis Association will be held July 18-21 at Legacy Youth Tennis and Education (formerly Arthur Ashe), 4842 Ridge Ave. Anyone can sign up and play; you do not need to be a regular member of PLTA. Draw party is July 18, and tennis singles and doubles are July 19-21 with a banquet the night of July 20 at Loews Hotel.

Last year was the first for this tournament, and about 70 people from around the U.S. and a few other countries came to play, earning the tournament the title of one of the best new tournaments of the season by the Gay Lesbian Tennis Association. For info on playing, go to and look for Philadelphia Open or contact Dave Killian at

PLTA plays on the FDR Park courts on weekends through summer and welcomes new players all the time. Check out the website at

Also in July:

• The Mud Run is July 13. Unlike color runs where you finish with scores of colors, here everyone ends up brown. Timing might have been better if the Philly Mud Run were on one of these May weekends that caused game cancellations, but it could still be muddy mayhem. Two courses, 20 obstacles. This one is held on Belmont Plateau in Fairmount Park and still has openings. Register at

• The last (known at this point) Color Run 5K is on July 14. Also sold out, organizers are still looking for volunteers to help out before, after and during the event. Or just go watch. It’s pretty hilarious;

August: Gay Days and Doldrums

Get your Gay Community Night tickets early ’cause this one’s a party! Hundreds of baseball fans and baseball-player fans will come out for the 11th annual gay Community Night Aug. 7 at Citizens Bank Park.

Announcements are pending on who will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and who gets “National Anthem” honors. Last year it was Larry Felzer and the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus bringing us to our feet.

This year, the Chicago Cubs will face off with the Fightin’ Phils, and here’s hoping the dismal 1-9 gay-night record doesn’t get any worse. Tickets can be purchased independently or through organizations like the William Way LGBT Community Center, Team Philadelphia and others. Or get your own group and pick your own seats.

Also in August:

• Gryphons RFC usually has its fall boot camp the first weekend in August. Get up-to-date info at

• GPFFL begins its fall-season registration in mid-August;

• Philadelphia Fins Aquatics Club will head to Seattle to participate in the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics annual event;

• August 10-11 is the rugby National 7s championships in Pittsburgh.

All of these organizations welcome visitors, fans and cheerleaders. Get out of the house, out of your routine and go to a game. Better yet, get out and play!

To submit information for Get Out and Play, email

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