We ran into Ballin’ Out, a newly formed Outloud kickball team, while they were having drinks and hanging out at Gym Bar in West Hollywood on a Saturday afternoon. The 17-player team formed in late June after answering a call from West Hollywood’s Recreation Services Division to join Outloud Sports, the nation’s original queer+ recreational sports leagues founded in 2007, with over 45,000 LGBTQIA+ and allied athletes across the US.
The Ballin’ Out team plays kickball at Poinsettia Park on Saturdays, which is located on the Los Angeles side of West Hollywood. “We got into this sport because a lot of us didn’t get a chance to play sports because we were gay and the straight men didn’t accept us,” said one of the team captains, Tony Sanchez. “Now we get to be in a team, and we get to let some of that energy out that was repressed when we were younger. We actually won our first game. We wanted it so badly that we brought it. The other team was so worried about not messing out that we won 8-2.”
After a game of kickball, all the teams gather at Gym Bar for drinks, a tradition that dates back over a decade at its original location not far from its new home on Santa Monica Boulevard in the heart of the LGBT Rainbow District. The gathering at the bar is a chance to meet other team players and talk about their scores from previous games.
“We all get together here to meet other teams. Gym bar sponsors our team, so it’s our way to give back for their support. West Hollywood has a Gay Sports League which offers dodgeball, pickleball and we decided to play kickball. This is purely recreational. We’re not fundraising, we’re just doing this for fun. We want to get out and be social. A lot of the people we meet here have moved here from out of state, so it’s a great opportunity to meet new people.”
Kickball aside, The City of West Hollywood will host the OutLoud Sports Festival Dodgeball Tournament as part of a two-day sports festival over Labor Day Weekend which includes multiple sports at locations throughout Southern California.
The OutLoud Dodgeball Tournament is scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 2 and Sunday, September 3, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the West Hollywood Park Aquatic and Recreation Center located at 8750 El Tovar Place, adjacent to the West Hollywood Library. The Dodgeball Tournament is free for all spectators; interested participants can register via the League Apps website at OutLoud Sports Festival 2023: Dodgeball Tournament, Recreation Division : OutLoud Sports: Tournaments (leagueapps.com).
OutLoud Sports is the nation’s original Queer recreational sports league, founded in 2007 and proudly representing more than 45,000 Queer and allied athletes across the United States and OutLoud offers inclusive year-round activities, games, and sporting events. The Sports Festival consists of tournaments of the following sports: kickball, dodgeball, tennis, pickleball, soccer, sand volleyball, and bowling at various locations in surrounding cities.
More information regarding the Festival, events, and OutLoud Sports can be found at www.outloudsports.com.