We're here, we're queer, and we're gonna play football!
There has never been a doubt about the athleticism of our community. Many of the guys and gals in the gay community make it a point to attend ‘gay church’ multiple times a week to stay in the über desirable tip-top condition. But what about sports?
My dad has a hard time picturing gays as anything other than stereotypical and feminine. I would not classify myself as either of these, but I am of course going through a ‘phase’ in his eyes. Trying to explain to him that as diverse as the community of heterosexual men is, so is the span of personalities, body types, and interests in the homosexual community. It is almost incomprehensible to him. This is nowhere as evident as in San Diego’s American Flag Football League (SDAFFL).
SDAFFL is the all-inclusive intramural football league in San Diego that many gay athletes make their springtime sport of choice. This year, there are over 160 players on a total of ten teams, all competing for the number one spot in San Diego. That team will then go on to play in the division championships and maybe onto the Gay Super Bowl.
Flag football may not sound like an intense sport, but people that say this have never witnessed one of the games, where men and even a few women give it their all in a sport that - more often than not - involves full contact. Dirt, sweat, and occasionally, blood and tears accompany many of the games.
Players range from all skill levels and all shapes, sizes, and even ages. Personalities on the field range from feminine to masculine and everything in between, but everyone plays and everyone gives their athletic best. I tried to explain to my dad, that he would never be able to tell that some of these guys were gay until they ran to the sidelines after a touchdown to kiss their partner. He still doesn’t get it. Maybe one day soon, he will be able to come out and witness some of the most athletic members in the community and change his queer perspective.
Teams in San Diego are all named after their sponsors, many of which are the neighborhood bars we have all come to love. Teams include the Martinis Above 4th Eagles, the Park Manor Bombers, True North Stunnas, and Baja Betty’s Hitmen. Mo’s, Flicks, Bourbon Street, and Pecs also have teams, and there are also teams sponsored by the Stonewall Citizens’ Patrol and Woods Real Estate.
You may have seen the herd of red t-shirts on the league pub-crawl, the event that kick-started the season. Clinics were held for the last two weeks and the draft party last Saturday at Bourbon St. means that the season will quickly be underway.
Games start March 6th at 9am at Doyle Park Rec. Center and continue each Saturday through the end of the season. Come check out the league and maybe even change your perspective. Look the league up by going to SDFFL.org and come out to support your friends and your community.
P.S. I'll be suiting up for the Eagles.
Joey is a graduate of Southern Illinois University, a prior Marine, and a triathlete. Originally from Illinois, he moved to San Diego in 2004 and fell in love. He writes for pleasure while traveling the world and continuing his education. He believes that experience is the spice of life and tries to find new things to see, do, and write about, everywhere he goes.