The Philadelphia Falcons Soccer League (falcons-soccer.org) made the decision earlier this year to move its annual Liberty Bell Classic from Memorial Day weekend to the weekend of OutFest. The tournament has had several morphs in date, location and size. With a little help from Falcon member Jessie Drummer, I reconnected with Craig Carty, who was there at the very beginning.
In his words:
“The Falcons’ Liberty Bell Classic was conceived during a time when various LGBTQI sport clubs in Philadelphia were coming together to share ideas around how to strengthen our collective impacts. It wasn’t unusual to see Falcons players hanging out with swimmers, wrestlers and softball players. In hindsight, it is clear that we shared a desire to be inclusive during a time when many of us felt marginalized.
“During my presidency, I found a strong mentor in Jeffrey Sotland, then-president of the softball league. He suggested that we launch a Memorial Day weekend tournament to coincide with its own, already going by the moniker ‘LBC.’ The aim was to build on the momentum that Philadelphia’s reputation was experiencing as a friendly and accommodating city that could host world-class sporting events, all of which were proudly supported by local and national businesses together with the amazing Parks Department. The rest just fell into place.
“Much to our surprise, we had a great turnout, owing in large part to the efforts of Manuela Tripepi, Michael Schmidt, Pam Candelaria, Anh Dang and Monika Kreummling. We invited a number of teams from across the USA and Canada, and held the first event at Pennypack Park in Northeast Philly. In the end, we had representation from New York, St. Louis, Boston, Atlanta and Washington. We also had a smattering of solo players who linked up with teams ad hoc.
“The fact that this event still carries on today is a testament to the importance of collaboration, the strength of gay sport in Philadelphia and its sustained impact on our communities and beyond.”
Couldn’t have said it half as well myself.
Drummer filled in the blanks for the tournament this year: It will be held at SoFive Soccer Center in Elkins Park. The team’s reveal party is Oct. 6 at Writer’s Block Rehab from 6-8 p.m., outside the bar if weather permits. The tournament will start at 10 a.m. Oct. 7 and will run until about 4 p.m., and the tournament dinner will be at Fado Irish Pub from 7-10 p.m. On Sunday, players will enjoy the OutFest celebration together.
The tournament is friendly, open to Falcons members and non members alike and players with a range of skills and abilities — so whatever your experience level, come out and play!
- The Jefferson Street ballpark-dedication ceremony honoring Octavius Catto and the first interracial baseball game ever played will be held from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 30 at 1400 N. 26 St. Seating is limited so it’s recommended you bring a chair.
- Stonewall Sports PHL is holding another Prom Night party, this time at the Loews Hotel. Prom goes from 7-10 p.m. Nov. 11, followed by an after-party at host sponsor bar Boxers PHL from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. For tickets, visit Stonewallphilly.org.
Scott A. Drake was the 2015 Sigma Delta Chi national winner for best sports photo and the 2017 Professional Keystone Press Awards winner for best sports column in a weekly paper. If you have a person or event you think should be highlighted, email [email protected][email protected]