Pride and Beyond

By Lavender July 12, 2011

Categories: Our Scene, Sports

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Now that Pride has been over for a couple of weeks, and the weather is holding up and heating up, don’t forget about the opportunities you have to hook up with our local sports teams. For some reason, after Pride, everyone kind of gradually forgets that it ever happened—and maybe some with good reason! Let’s hope you hang onto some of those fliers, buttons, and stickers, and get involved in the many sporting and leisure groups here in the Cities.

Pride and Beyond

As usual, the Volleyball team had their annual Pride Tournament. If all those sweaty guys make you wish you could be a part of the action, here’s how you get there. If you’re a beginning player, or otherwise new to the game, you can learn all the basic skills at open gym times Tuesdays, 6:30-9 PM. Got the basics down, and ready to get down and dirty? Then Monday and Thursday nights are for you. E-mail glass_vb@hotmail.com for details.

After the volleyball boys cleared out on Sunday, the Mayhem rugby team had probably their most successful exhibition match in years at Loring Park. There was a quite a crowd as the rugby team played several short matches Sunday afternoon versus the St. Paul Pigs rugby club, a local straight team.

Several of their guys were kind enough to take on the Mayhem in 7s matches, which are 7-minute halves, with 7 players on each side. The Mayhem decided to showcase their new 7s division players, which is a different style of rugby from the typical 15-per-side style of rugby played in the fall and spring.

Through the summer, 7s play will continue, as will touch-rugby for beginners and those interested in getting into the game in the fall.

Check out <www.mayhemrfc.com> as details roll out for the rest of the summer and fall.


Straight Players on Gay Teams

Recently, a judge recommended that the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association (NAGAAA) be allowed to keep its rule that limits the number of nongay players. It stems from a lawsuit filed by three men who say they were disqualified after a 2008 NAGAAA championship game for being nongay.

This issue is one that all local “gay” teams struggle with. At which point do you stop calling yourself a gay team before you are viewed as “stacking” your team with straight or even bisexual people?

I should say that I have played on the local gay Mayhem rugby team for nearly seven years, and am currently club president. Having just invited a straight team to play against us at, of all events, a Gay Pride match, I thought this issue particularly compelling.

I have experienced firsthand the infighting that occurs as an organization starts to question if it has “too many” nongay players. Rugby, being a brutal sport, can turn off a lot of gay men. Recruiting for the rugby team means going to straight players just to survive.

Does this mean the gay rugby team, or any similar team, should stop calling itself a gay team? Does doing so not marginalize its straight players? Sometimes, I think so on both counts. Should any so-called “gay” sports team actively recruit straight players? I think maybe not—sometimes.

NAGAAA has a rule about how many nongay men can be on a team, while most gay sports teams probably don’t. Perhaps more do than we realize.

At some point, those organizations have to ask themselves if they want to be “that” group, which, as it tries to fight discrimination by its own existence, becomes one that must discriminate to maintain its existence.

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