That’s the theme of the Gay Softball World Series on Aug. 17-22 in Columbus, Ohio.
And seven teams are “in” from Chicago: Menace (Div. A), Closers (Div. B), Dragons (Div. B), Black Widows (Div. C), Green Team G-Force (Div. C), Jox (Div. D), Legends (Masters Div.).
They are among 185 teams from across the U.S. and Canada that qualified for the World Series—making it the largest in the tournament’s history.
Chicago is among several large cities like Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, that are fielding multiple teams to compete at Berliner Sports Park.
Chicago teams are affiliated with the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association—a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender athletics league. It organizes softball games at Clarendon Fields, Margate Fields, Pottawatomie Park, and Waveland Fields.
With so many entries, the tournament is divided into divisions: A, B, C, D, and Masters.
Athletes from the Windy City will be partying at an opening ceremony featuring 2015 Chicago Pride Parade grand marshal and country music star Ty Herndon. Also performing is Chicago-area YouTube sensation Steve Grand. The Columbus Commons will have food trucks and other activities for players, their families and friends.
Chicago last hosted the World Series in 2011—when the local Side Track Classic team won the Masters Division championship. The city hosted the event once before in 1983. It was won by the local Sidetrack team in an open tournament without divisions.
There will be a Home Run Derby on Aug. 20-21 where participants will attempt to bat 15 pitches each.
This year, the World Series created a dedicated app for iOS and Android devices—allowing fans in Chicago to follow the teams’ progress. It will also help visitors in Columbus navigate the tournament venues and find things to do in the city.
Ahead of the tourney on Aug. 16, Miss Gay Softball World Series 2015 will be crowned. Organizers explain it’s “funny and very campy.” Nina West, a National Entertainer of the Year drag pageant winner, will host the contest.
In its 39th year, the first World Series took place in 1977 in San Francisco.
Columbus last hosted the tournament in 2010. Because of the $5 million economic impact back then, the mayor lobbied for the World Series to return.
“The Gay Softball World Series was immensely popular with our residents and businesses when it was here in 2010, and we look forward to showcasing how much we’ve improved as a city since then,” Mayor Michael Coleman said.
The Columbus host committee website has a list of teams playing this year.
The 40th Gay Softball World Series will take place in Austin, Tex. on Aug. 15-20, 2016. Its theme will be “Deep in the Heart.”