Compete Network Feature Stories

Kansas City Says, “Come to Play!”

Featured in our September/October 2018 issue of Compete Magazine

I recently had an opportunity to talk with the executive director of the 2019 Gay Softball World Series (GSWS), Scott Switzer to see how things are progressing for next year’s tournament. It’s being held in Kansas City, Missouri and carries the tag line, Come to Play.

Dirk Smith: Scott, thanks for doing this interview. First, please tell me about your involvement with gay softball and then why we should want to “Come to Play” softball in Kansas City in 2019.

Scott Switzer: This is my 11th year playing gay softball. In addition to working on NAGAAA’s (North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance) GSWS for next year, I’ve also been involved with a grassroots group that started “Out at the K pride night” with the Kansas City Royals, making it the only one put on by a local community instead of an MLB team

DS: The last time a GSWS came to KC was in 1999. What inspired your group to bid for the 2019 world series?

SS: There were rumors that KC wanted to bid for 2019. I had talked to people involved in the league but we couldn’t find the right people to do it or anyone who wanted to commit. We were ready to skip it for that year but during a local softball meeting I told them that I would like to take it on.

So we bid for the GSWS in September of 2017. The committee plus Becky Harsch from VisitKC went to Portland, Oregon to present our bid to NAGAAA delegates. After being selected we went to Tampa twice to deliver updates. We’re really getting excited to host the NAGAAA winter meetings in January to start showcasing what we have to offer.

DS: Tell us about the kinds of activities and social events already have planned from now until next fall? And how are you getting people involved? It takes a lot of volunteers to raise money and participate in all the activities it takes to put this on successfully.

SS: We will be at several gay softball tournaments, including the local Show Me Showdown Softball Tournament. We have several more local events as well as bingos. And we’ve partnered with AIDS Walk KC and Kansas City Pride to help out with volunteers along with other teams in Heart of America Softball League.

DS: Who do you have sponsoring the GSWS already? With events like the Gay Bowl receiving sponsorships from professional sports organizations, are you pursuing anything like that for GSWS?

SS: As of right now we don’t have any pro sports organizations but we have reached out to the Kansas City Royals. Terri Goddard has a lot that she’s working on for sponsors – some large corporations as well as local business sponsors and the Missouri Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Terri has also been working with Compete Magazine on program ads and sponsorships and WE also kicked off our Friends of the Series campaign.

DS: It sounds like the 2019 GSWS is in capable hands, Scott. Anything else you’d like to share with our Compete readers?

SS: We’re really excited to host this event and are very confident that people will have a great time. Since KC is both a very affordable travel destination and place to party, we’re hoping to hold the largest tournament in the history of NAGAAA. So to your readers we say, “Come to Play in 2019. And if you don’t play then come to party! You won’t want to miss what we have planned.”

DS: Thanks for the update, Scott. Since last year’s Petey Awards were held in Kansas City, I agree – KC is a great place to visit and party!

By Dirk Smith

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