HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Huntsville LGBTQ+ softball league kicked off its inaugural season on Sunday afternoon in Brahan Spring Park.
While everyone was excited to take the field, organizers say the league is about so much more than a chance to play a little ball.
“You just kind of get a little overwhelmed sometimes when you look around and you see how many people turned up,” said Jonathan Wallace, the inaugural commissioner of the league.
Wallace said when he and his friends first hatched the idea of creating a league, some including teammate Edwin Kuzma were worried.
“We weren’t expecting that many for the tryouts,” Kuzma said. “We had over 40 show up.”
That was back in June, now we fast forward to Sunday afternoon with four teams taking to the field – helping Kuzma and other take one big step towards realizing their goal of filling a hole in Huntsville LGBTQ+ community.
“There wasn’t much diversity as far as LGBT entertainment for Huntsville, and being able to create a new community and environment for us to come to that’s accepting of all of us is just amazing,” Kuzma continued.
Many in the league say it creates a welcoming, judgement free zone that feels both safe and inclusive.
“So it’s not just for the community, but it’s for their friends and their allies as well, anybody who supports the LGBTQ+ community can actually come out here and play,” said player Christina Langley.
The judgement free aspect of the league also extends to skill level.
“If you have never played before then we encourage people to come out,” said Wallace. “If you have played before and you just don’t have a place to play then we want [those] people to come out as well.”
With day one in the books, organizers are saying mission accomplished – in fact, it may have just been a home run.
“You don’t want to seem prideful, but you kind of take pride in it, but you do it for the community and not pride for yourself,” Wallace concluded.
Organizers say this year’s season will be eight games long.
Earlier this year, News 19 reported Kuzma’s goal of forming four teams in order to qualify for the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA) and eventually send a team to the Gay World Series.