by Jacob Buck
Stonewall Sports, a national LGBT nonprofit sports organization, founded in 2010, and based in Washington, D.C., is expanding after approving an application for a Salt Lake City chapter. Salt Lake City is the 16th city to be added to this national organization that has over 12,000 athletes throughout the US. It’s also the first West Coast city!
The effort to bring Stonewall Sports to Salt Lake City was spearheaded by a new local, the new commissioner Jacob Buck (that’s me). Having a masters in community development and playing sports my whole life I wanted to have this in my new community in Salt Lake City to grow and become more connected. The first thing I did was look for sports to be active and meet new people. I found a couple sports but they weren’t the kind I wanted to play and couldn’t find a centralized league that had more than one sport.
While living in Baltimore, I played in a kickball league, and knew people in D.C., and participated with Stonewall Sports in Chicago during my time living there. I met my best friends and built such a strong camaraderie. And I was inspired to bring Stonewall Sports to Salt Lake after knowing the community that can occur, the spirit of giving and the fun going to their events. I’ve heard so many people say I’m so glad I joined this league. “You guys are my best friends” and I was missing out on a sense of community. Stonewall builds community! From my experience living in Salt Lake for such a short time, we have a large gay population but its so disconnected. People know each other but not really. I want to change this through Stonewall.
I have always used sports to build friendships, and to be active with Stonewall Sports you get to give back to the community. We would have mixers with other teams, special team events — Spirit Day is one of my favorites.
However, fun is secondary to the mission of Stonewall Sports. Every chapter is focused on giving back to the community as it bills itself as an inclusive sports organization with philanthropy at its core. The Salt Lake City chapter has chosen the Utah Pride Center and Encircle as the league’s charitable partners. We not only want Stonewall Salt Lake to raise funds for both of these local charities but hope to raise visibility in the community.
Stonewall Sports also encourages inclusivity and diversity, and this is an important part of the application to bring a chapter to Salt Lake City. I tried to build a diverse team of leaders from throughout the community. I’ve been working with people in the latino, jewish, and other communities to do outreach for our inception. The Stonewall Sports Salt Lake City leadership team is as follows:
· Jacob Buck, Commissioner
· Kayla Adams, Division Lead
· Bryce Jackson, Events Director
· James Pumphrey, Treasurer
· Matthew Boudrero, Technical Director
Stonewall Sports SLC will formally kickoff activities during the January and February months with some dodgeball tournaments. Anyone interested in learning more about Stonewall Sports is invited to come to an information meeting with the leadership team and get more information about the league (date to be announced). Formal play begins in March for our inaugural season with a kickball league. Chapters in other cities play more than kickball — other potential activities include billiards, bocce, bowling, climbing, dodgeball, flag football, softball, tennis, ultimate frisbee, volleyball, and even yoga. We hope to expand and add some of these sports to this league within the next few years.
Persons of all skill levels are welcome to participate, there are no try-outs and the league teams will not be separated by skill level. You may join as a team or be a ‘free agent’ and meet other free agents and teams at a ‘Free Agent Social’ that is currently being planned, or join as a full team.
In the next few weeks, Stonewall Sports SLC will be rolling out a website and a social media presence to register teams and recruit players and teams. We currently have a Facebook group where people can go and join.
The cost to join is not yet set, but is typically $35–45. We also need local sponors to help raise funds.
Check out “Stonewall: 2018 Highlights” from Joo Kno on Vimeo.