This year’s Volunteer of the Year award recipient, Rick Maas has been a staple of the Sin City Classic since its founding. His passionate, hard work, and fabulous personality has helped the event grow from a simple softball tournament to become the largest annual LGBTQ+ multi-sport event in the world. Our managing editor of sports, David “Dirk” Smith, M.Sc., SDL (He/Him) caught up with Rick Maas to learn more about the man and the legacy, himself.
David Smith (DS): Let’s jump right into it then! How did you get involved with GLASA (Greater Los Angeles Softball Association)?
Rick Maas (RM): It was a chance meeting when I was coming out as a young man in 1993. a mutual friend invited me to come out and hang out with a softball team that was playing in a local tournament. Well, I ended up joining that team, that eventually became The Stray Cats. It was all new to me, the whole “gay lifestyle” as I was just coming out myself which was perfect timing for me. It really helped me come out from my friends, family, to have an outlet and a community to be a part of. GLASA was a big part of my early years being out in the gay community and it was very helpful to me.
DS: You went from playing to coaching?
RM: I played on a lot of a lot of teams, both straight and gay. The camaraderie and the chemistry of The Stray Cats was second to none. It taught me a lot about sports and what it takes for a good team to be a great team. As I got older and started playing less and coaching more as my way of giving back to GLASA and all they had done for me. Being able to mentor new players coming into the league, I coached some of the lower-level teams that I felt needed, the most coaching. I coached both the C and D teams, and we were able to make it to the World Series. They came about when a couple of players from each team around the league came together to put together a team that can be competitive and fun.
DS: That’s amazing! Is that how you got involved in the Sin City Classic?
RM: I had always been involved in it from a little bit, but when Ken Scearce and Larry Ruiz took it over, it was a time of turmoil, there was a lot going on. Larry went through the efforts of getting it all worked out and get it getting it all straightened out. But then he needed somebody to run the softball tournament itself and while Ken and I had played together competed against each other for decades. So, when he was named the lead to run Sin City, he asked me to take over in organizing the softball tournament.
DS: You’re being honored with the Volunteer of the Year award; how does it feel?
RM: It’s an honor, I’m not one that thinks about awards and accolades, but it because of what it is, and who it’s coming from, it does mean a lot to me. It’s pretty special, I tend to just do what I do quietly in the background, but because of what it is and where it’s coming from, it’s special.
DS: What does #SportsDiversity mean to you?
RM: One of the special things about Sin City Classic is the diversity of people that come to it and participate. There are people coming from all over the world, primarily from North America, but every community is different. The diversity in all the participants that come from here and feel comfortable. It’s the power of this festival and what it brings to all of our communities that makes it so great.
Photo Credit: Wesley Anderson