By Dirk Smith, M.Sc, SDL (He/Him)
After a two-year break, the Gay Softball World Series made its triumphant return to the field this last week in Columbus, OH when 235 teams from 47 different cities throughout North America, 45 being from the US, and 2 from Canada representing Vancouver & Toronto took part in the (normally) annual event. The event, in conjunction with the Columbus Health Department took Covid-19 safety measures to ensure that all the participants were safe and free to play and enjoy the fun that comes from hosting the largest LGBTQIA+ softball tournament in the world.
There are 7 different divisions represented at the NAGAAA (North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance) GSWS (Gay Softball World Series) – NAGAAA GSWS. The winners are listed below:
MD – Masters D Division
4th Place – PHX Vintage
3rd Place – SEA Silverbacks
2nd Place – FTL Code Blue
Champions – ORL SWAG SPORTSWEAR
MC – Master C Division
4th Place – NASH Force 5.0
3rd Place – FTL Alive & Kicking
2nd Place – CHI Legends
Champions – PS Greyhounds
4th Place – KNX Cyclones
3rd Place – BHM Sliders
2nd Place – TC Base Invaders
Champions – CBUS Columbus Ban’d
4th Place – ATL Vengeance
3rd Place – ATL TItans
2nd Place – CHA Aftershock
Champions – CBUS Capitals
4th Place – FTL Supervillains
3rd Place – PHI Tabu Triple Play
2nd Place – KC Dream Killers
1st Place – NOLA Skittles United
4th Place – BOS Blizzard
3rd Place – AUS ATX Cubs
2nd Place – ATL Wet Demons
Champions – CBUS Grizz
4th Place – LA Rebels
3rd Place – SF Fury Unleashed
2nd Place – DAL Colorado Reign
Champions – PHX Charlie’s Arizona Toros
In addition, we caught up with NAGAAA Commissioner, John Deffee, to hear his experience in organizing the first Gay Softball World Series in two years!
Dirk Smith: How was your overall experience in Columbus?
John Deffee: It was a wonderful and great experience. We are able to successfully hold all events through out the week, with no delays, interruptions, or cancellations.
Dirk Smith: How did it feel returning to the event after a two year hiatus?
John Deffee: It was great to be together again, after a long two years of challenges. We had a series cancelled, a NAGAAA Cup cancelled, many leagues and tournaments were unable to play or take place due to the pandemic. We had to overcome emotional challenges, financial stresses, and a lot of isolation and separation from our family, as softball is more than a game or sport. Having the NAGAAA GSWS this year, truly felt like a family reunion. Lots of hugs, smiles, tears of joy, and I would say a newfound appreciation of what this organization means to ALL of us. NAGAAA changes and even saves lives, everyone is welcome and encouraged to be themselves. There is a place for everyone, to unapologetically be themselves, we celebrate all our similarities and differences. With over 20,000 members and celebrating 44 years. It is the greatest organization in the World, or at least it feels that way to us!
Dirk Smith: As a commissioner for NAGAAA, what does organizing events like the GSWS and other tournaments mean for you in post-covid era?
John Deffee: It means many things. Safety, home, competition, family, community, pride, and celebration of who we are. It means love and acceptance. Softball is the competition portion and what initially brings us together. The sense of family, lifelong memories, and experiences we share, is what makes us unique and pretty amazing!
Dirk Smith: What can we look forward to next in LGBT softball?
John Deffee: NAGAAA will be celebrating 45 years as an association. The next NAGAAA GSWS will be in Dallas, Texas. We have several new associations applying for membership, as well as discussions currently going on to expand outside of Canada and the US, to potentially Mexico and other counties that want to be recognized as part of the NAGAAA Family. We will be expanding on our partnerships. We will look to extend and continue celebrating our partnerships, such as Molson Coors, Monsta Athletics, MLB, NBA, Nike, Watts Water, Cintas, and many others. It’s a great time to not only be part of NAGAAA, but to watch to see what is coming next.
Dirk Smith: Wonderful! We are looking forward to seeing what comes next and we look forward to seeing you in future events! To learn more about NAGAAA and the Gay Softball World Series, visit https://www.nagaaasoftball.org/
Photos by Andy Tran and Larry Barthel via NAGAAA