The biggest little sports story right now is a small group of big players from Philadelphia who are competing in the Little League World Series in Williamsport. This is the first team from the city that made it to the WS — not bad, considering the program only started in 2012.
More times than I can count lately, I’ve run into people talking Taney, cheering the Dragons, posting and tweeting on these remarkable youth. Dedicated, enthusiastic and ever humble, they are having fun, as we are having fun celebrating their accomplishments on the field.
A variety of Philadelphia neighborhoods and fields have also been part of this journey. The Taney Dragons have played more than once at the Marian Anderson Recreation Center at 17th and Fitzwater streets, about six blocks from my house. It’s probable that they were playing one of the many times I have seen games going on there. I expect I’ll pay more attention next season.
So, why is a group of 12- and 13-year-old hardball players a big story in the gay newspaper?
Ask anyone who plays softball. Being a team is taking each other’s strengths and weaknesses and making it all work together. And let’s not go with the cliché, ‘‘Some of them will turn out to be LGBT’’ rhetoric but rather celebrate the accomplishments of these kids who have come from more diverse racial/socio-economic backgrounds than you can imagine.
From North Philadelphia to Rittenhouse Square and every ethnic group, these are this country’s future players, politicians, teachers, trainers, doctors, directors, servicemen and women, husbands, wives and parents. They have found a way at their age to look at who each of them are, where they are from, look past some things and learn to embrace others.
This paper went to print just about the time the Wednesday night game was to start. I hope they won. I proudly expect that they will/did. I also hope that every person who has watched, cheered, listened, posted, texted, tweeted, called or rallied during this run takes a moment to see what our future could look like: a bunch of unique people working together towards a common goal. We hear about all things that youth do wrong, about all the trouble they cause or get into, so it’s nice to see these 11 athletes bring a positive, hopeful face to Philadelphia youth.
It’s important to our own community as well. Too often personal agendas and egos overshadow events and actions, making our LGBT ‘‘team’’ lose in the end. We still need more unity, more community, more humility, and to embrace our differences as we include everyone in the LGBTQQI alphabet that we are.
Yes, we could all learn something from this team.
Hitting the alleys
Like to bowl? Like to hang out in alleys and avoid the gutters? Philadelphia Gay Bowling League starts rolling with its Wednesday-night league Sept. 6 at Brunswick Zone Deptford, 1328 Delsea Drive, Deptford.
The PGBL is the organization that also puts on the Liberty Belle Invitational every Fourth of July weekend and hosts the semi-monthly skating parties at the Cherry Hill Skating Center, so if you’re inclined to be a volunteer, fundraiser, party-thrower or skater, this is the group for you!
All skill levels welcome, fees are $17/week. For more information, go to the Philadelphia Gay Bowling League Facebook page.
• Registration is in full swing for Stonewall Kickball fall league play. Go to stonewallkickballphilly.leagueapps.com for registration, rules and reasons to get out and play!
• Sports and recreation information can be found on the inside back cover of PGN every fourth Friday of the month or any time on epgn.com.
Got something sporty to share? Email [email protected].