Gayest Gay Bowl ever

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WHAT GOES UP … : Ian Ralls (right) from New York shows his stuff at the annual Spartans Wrestling Tournament over Columbus Day weekend. In the end, Ralls went on to win the Middleweight Division. Philadelphians Icsam Smith and Nick Harris placed first and second in the Heavyweights and in the Lightweights, while local guys Ijendu Obasi and Gus Scheerbaum brought in second and third, respectively. The event drew about two-dozen wrestlers and spectators from Philly, New York, Minneapolis and Southern California. Photos: Scott A. Drake

About 700 players, 42 teams and 120 games played over three days made Gay Bowl XIV here in Philadelphia the largest and gayest Gay Bowl to date. OutFest weekend got a helluva lot bigger with the Greater Philadelphia Flag Football League hosting this bowl over the past weekend, and it surely helped boost the local street festival attendance and bar crawling. Next year’s host group from San Diego is already boasting that it will be even bigger.

 

A great asset within the Philly LGBT sports scene, GPFFL won the Bowl rights over a year ago and worked pretty much non-stop since then to accomplish this flag football and city milestone. While to some it’s just a bunch of people having fun, GPFFL also makes contributions to local nonprofits through special party events, participates in MANNA Pie in the Sky and assists with the annual Delaware Valley Legacy Fund TOY, to name a few.

From the opening-night party at Field House through the championship games during OutFest, I heard nothing but praise and the sounds of raucous good times from players, organizers and volunteers. Some spectators were content with watching all of the comings and goings of the visiting teams as the Gayborhood bragged about having some of the hottest men and women athletes from around the continent bar-hopping.

GPFFL boasted three men’s teams this year: Revolution, Rev Blue and Rev Gray, and one women’s team, the Lightning. The Lightning took the coveted Spirit Award for the event and all three men’s teams finished in higher places than they were placed in first-day rankings. Congrats to all who played and worked with the teams!

Kudos to Gay Bowl committee co-chairs Tom Ensminger and Gary Issacs, tournament director Matt Pitucco, volunteer coordinator Bo Banwo, hospitality chair Ken Levitt, Maianne Mondt for marketing and Tim Adams for event planning. The GPFFL board, VIPs, sponsors, volunteers and bus coordinator Jimmell Vaughn also all worked hard to make the event successful and, most importantly, fun!

Fall fun

GPFFL is having its second-annual Halloween party and fundraiser 7:30-11 p.m. Oct. 24 in the Mark Segal Ballroom at William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St. This year’s theme is Animation Domination and attendees are encouraged to dress in their best animation-themed costume.

Besides music, food, beer and “Power Ranger Punch,” there is a player auction and you could buy your very own footballer (for whatever one does with one). Proceeds from the auction and the $20 cover charge go to GPFFL and Action AIDS.

OPAL, the Out Philadelphia Athletic League, is championing a cross-sport Sunday Funday in the park from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 26 in FDR Park. (Can someone please find a new cute label for Sunday events? Sunday Funday is so 1680s.) It’s a great first step towards rallying the various organizations into a cohesive group.

There will also be some intramural sports, games, some exhibition events (thank the gays I’m a voyeur!) and some food, but BYOB.

Short stops

`• 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.

Keep the Philly community in the sports loop with information on your games, tryouts, tournaments, elections, fundraisers and naked bar crawls. Email [email protected].