By Dirk Smith, M.Sc, SDL (He/Him)

As a non-softball player, and someone probably as far disconnected from the sport as one can be. I find writing a letter from the editor for an entire issue on the Gay Softball World Series to be a real… pitch. Now, read that again with your best RuPaul bottom (teehee) two critique impression.

Now, all the softball puns a-slide, I am more excited to see that LGBTQIA+ sports events such as the Gay Softball World Series are kicking back up again. This last year has been exhausting and brutal on many levels, for all of us. So, seeing tournaments organize, people getting outside and playing, friends spending time together and such, it’s great to see.

This year’s Gay Softball World Series is extra special for a few reasons, most notably the passing of Ken Scearce, who has been the tournament director for the Sin City Classic since 2017 and has been an active member of the LGBTQIA+ softball community for many years before that. With that, I really appreciate the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance for creating the Ken Scearce Scholarship Fund to celebrate and honor Ken’s impact and legacy on the LGBTQIA+ softball community. The scholarship is for NAGAAA individuals for “higher education needs as well as athletic leadership achievements to further LGBTQIA+ sports.” NAGAAA is currently raising funds to establish the scholarship foundation and donations can be made at the official NAGAAA website at www.nagaaasoftball.com

It’s exciting to see this years Gay Softball World Series host the most teams ever in GSWS history, with 235 teams playing in the tournament this year, it really shows just how big and powerful the LGBTQIA+ sports community is. I will mention this again in another article in this issue, but this pandemic has taken a toll on all of us, physically, mentally, and socially. So, events like GSWS are really important to help us recover from the pandemic (while ensuring proper safety and hygiene guidelines are followed of course).

While I can’t be there in person, I really hope everybody has a good time and the tournament goes well. My colleagues at Compete Sports Diversity who are attending the tournament will be looking for people to record #iCompete videos for us to share on social media. If you’d like to make one for us, find one of my Compete Sports Diversity colleagues or use your own phone, get on the field, introduce yourself “hi, my name is _____ and I COMPETE” and answer the question “how does it feel competing at the GSWS post-covid mean to me.” Check out our Facebook and Instagram pages for examples. If you make the video yourself, then please send it to david.smith@competediversity.com so we can share it on our social media!

Have a wonderful week in Columbus, ya’ll!

Photo via Official N.A.G.A.A.A Softball Facebook Page