Following the annual Drag Kickball tournament and festivities during Capital Pride Week in June, our curiosity was piqued on how the Stonewall Kickball-DC League started. Stonewall sports leagues are LGBT friendly and while most team members across the country are LGBT, everyone is welcome. I talked to Martin Espinoza, one of the founders of DC Stonewall Kickball.
Segal: When did the league start?
Espinoza: Mark Gustafson and I began planning the league over the summer of 2010 and introduced the inaugural Sunday season of Stonewall Kickball in the fall of 2010. Our Sunday season started with six teams and 90 players and now has grown to 20 teams and more than 525 players. With this fast jump and high demand, we were able to most recently partner with DC Kickball, offering a Thursday night league now that has over 300 players and 12 teams currently.
Segal: What made you want to start this league?
Espinoza: Mark and I had played in other kickball leagues in DC and realized our teams wanted a less competitive, LGBT-friendly league that could better give back to the community. We had the perfect opportunity to create a new league where we could bring the people together and help raise money for local, LGBT non-profits. Looking for locations, we found Stead Park right off the 17th Street neighborhood [1625 P Street NW] and thought it would be a great fit. We knew we were onto something when JR’s and Cobalt were ready to sponsor and support our venture.
Segal: What separates you all from any of the other sports leagues/kickball leagues in the DC area?
Espinoza: The difference is, our main priority is FUN. We have created an environment for everyone to play, network and have a good time competitive or not. We also are the only social sports league in DC focused raising money for the community with more than $20,000 annually going to The DC Center for the LGBT community and other community-based organizations. The excitement and spirit of the league led us to create Stonewall Sports offering a range of sports with this same interest in FUN and charity. We now offer Stonewall Bocce and soon Dodgeball.
Segal: Funniest moment during/after a kickball game?
Espinoza: One of the funniest moments in kickball was the day a handful of players decided they would wear high heels to the game. Not only was this fun to watch, but also helped spur the idea of a drag kickball game. We later created the Stonewall Kickball DragBall as an annual Capital Pride event with real DC drag queens and Stonewall Kickball players dressed in drag. Last month, our second annual DragBall raised over $11,000 for The DC Center and for Capital Pride.
Segal: Best team name?
Espinoza: That is hard to say, we have so many from My Caucus Enormous, Sit On My Base to Pitches Be Crazy.