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

 

E

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

 

C

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

 

A

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