Featured in the July/ August 2018 Issue of Compete Magazine

For athletes and sports lovers alike, summer is a special time for sports. Being outside in the sunshine with the breezes blowing on your face as you play or watching your favorite game makes for one of the season’s greatest experiences. And then you and your friends can gather in your favorite watering hole to relive the day (maybe even exaggerate your prowess a bit) to make it the perfect end to the perfect day.

This summer season is filled with extra opportunities for athletes, officials and fans to participate in their sports of choice. In addition to regularly scheduled sports activities at the local level, this is the time for NAGAAA, the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance to hold its 42nd annual Gay Softball World Series (GSWS), this year in Tampa Bay.

While some sports have seen a decline in player involvement, NAGAAA, with its emphasis on inclusion has continued to grow. Its members throughout the U.S. and Canada include players who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight as well as male and female. This year over 5,000 athletes plus family members, friends and fans will be cheering their favorites from among more than 200 teams vying for the big win.

And this year it’s time for the long awaited Gay Games 10 being held in Paris! Once every four years LGBTQ and straight athletes, artists and activists from around the world come together to experience an event where all are welcome. This year’s Games are offering at least 36 sports and 14 cultural events, keeping alive the core principles of its founder, Olympian Dr. Tom Waddell – Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best™.

The final count of Gay Games participants this year is 10,317, and thanks to a strong scholarship program by the Federation of Gay Games (FGG), hundreds of them are coming from highly underserved countries and communities. For many if not all these participants, it’s their first opportunity to experience the Gay Games 10 tag line of All Equal.

Even if you can’t attend the GSWS or the Gay Games, keep your eye on our social media for all the latest on what’s definitely a great summer filled with sports.

And don’t forget to send in your nominations for our Mark Bingham Athlete of the Year! The winner is based on his or her commitment to personal achievement, active participation in an individual or team sport, commitment to supporting/encouraging others in sports and a commitment to the LGBTQ sports community and/or the LGBTQ community. Send your applications to: competenetwork.com/aoty

By Jared Garduno