Washington D.C. played host to Gay Bowl XVI over Columbus Day Weekend. The tournament featured 48 teams from 22 cities and was hosted by the DC Gay Flag Football League.
The San Diego Bolts did it again, for the sixth time, winning the Open A Division by defeating the New York Warriors Black 26-13. The Bolt’s Tyler Foerster summarized the Bolt’s experience as a member of the Gay Bowl XVI championship team. “Leading up to Gay Bowl XVI, I was pretty confident that my team, The San Diego Bolts, was just as strong and talented as the two previous teams I’ve been on. Going into the weekend as the heavy favorites, big targets on our backs way before any of us on the team stepped foot in DC territory.”
Foerster continued “statistically speaking, this year’s Bolts were putting up the same numbers from previous Gay Bowls. Scoring 33.9 points per game, while only giving up 14.4 per game. Which basically means we only allowed two touchdowns per game, which scoring almost five. It was as if our roster hasn’t changed over the years, but it has. From last year’s tournament in San Diego to this year’s in DC, half of our roster was of brand new players. Some brand new to the tournament circuit, some brand new to our league! A lot of changes to the roster sometimes means a lack of chemistry, but that wasn’t the case this year. Someone not knowing our team could mistake our squad was playing together for years, yet we’ve only been practicing together since mid-Augus
We also took home both the Offensive and Defensive Most Valuable Player, Eric Reissner and Alex Leloux, respectively. Alex is a transplant from Atlanta’s league, was San Diego American Flag Football League’s (SDAFFL) Rookie of the Year, had SIX interceptions all on Sunday (playoff round) and easily won this distinguished award. Eric, as we all know, is a superstar. This is his FIFTH Offensive MVP, along with your MVP award last year. Along with that, he’s always been in the Championship Game every time he goes to Gay Bowl. Doug has been with the Bolts for ALL six titles. Both Eric and Doug shared this recognition with three others this year.
Foester finished “Overall, the tournament was a success. We got through all the games despite the potential weather coming from Hurricane Matthew. Overcast on the first day, which turned into rain for the second, which turned into strong winds for the final. The sun did manage to peek through on Saturday afternoon and throughout Sunday. Temperatures stayed mostly in the 60s, which most say is perfect for football weather. The after-game venues were fantastic, from the opening kick-off party at Town Danceboutique to the closing ceremony (my favorite of all gay bowls) at the Howard Theatre. DC were great hosts, and next year is in Boston.
In the Open B Division, the Austin Capitals made news by taking the division in the team’s first year participating in Gay Bowl. The new team beat the Denver Summit Gold in finals. Austin Capitals’ Chris Blanke was grateful for the experience. “DC and the referees did a great job hosting Gay Bowl XVI. There were some very talented athletes in the Men’s B Division. Austin’s hard work and camaraderie, on and off the field, is what brought us to the championship. This was a life changing and memorable event.”
The Denver Mile High Club Blue took the Women’s Division by handily defeating the San iego Breakers 33-13. The Washington Senators placed third in the division. The team was thrilled to win their division. “It was absolutely amazing to play a gay and lesbian tournament in the nation’s capital, surrounded by the Linclon and MLK memorials. They were two men that shaped the nation and advocated for equality and acceptance. Also, the national community that this league has been able to foster is unique and unparalleled and makes each year amazing with new and old friends.”
The National Gay Flag Football League (NGFFL) also held its annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony as part of the tournament’s festivities. This year’s newest Hall of Fame members include Brandon Waggoner, Eric Reissner, Doug Komlenic, Rory Ray and Jared Garduno.