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For several years, an annual kickball game has raised money for AIDS Walk.
But in Kansas City, kickball has led to even more than that. The game helped connect people who went on to establish a new group that’s affiliated with Stonewall Sports., a national nonprofit organization. Kansas City is the 19th city to join the national group, which was formed in Washington D.C. in 2010.
Over the years, Kansas City has seen organizations representing LGBTQ people centered on various athletic activities, including softball, bowling, rugby, running/walking, swimming, tennis, volleyball and tennis. And don’t forget the highly competitive Missouri Gay Rodeo Association. (This year, it had to cancel its Show Me State Rodeo that’s usually in September, but they expect the rodeo to be back in full form in 2020.)
The Kansas City group, was established in July, hopes to centralize some of the LGBTQ sports groups around the city into a network that can benefit more people, teams and the LBGTQ services they support.
The executive board members of Kansas City Stonewall Sports are Jared Horman, league commissioner; Eric Thomas, director of events and sponsorships; Stephanie Wagner, technical director; Ricardo Salabarria, director of operations; Ryan Fortney, director of visibility; and Shannon Madden, treasurer.
I recently met up with three of the board members around the dining room table at the home of Eric Thomas and Jonathan Gregory which they share with two large, pretty golden retrievers, Jaxon and Max.
Just the day before, Jax had had his 12-year birthday party. The dogs stayed nearby for the interview.
Horman said that after he moved to town, participating in sports was a way to meet people.
“I joined a gym, made some friends through there, and then immediately was like, all right, how do I get to know people in Kansas City?” he said. “And they were like, look at this kickball team, if you want to do that. And I was like, yes.”
Horman said he has been in Kansas City now for “two and a half-ish years.” He said he got connected with Thomas’ kickball team “pretty much right away” after he arrived. He had played in Stonewall Sports in Charlotte, North Carolina, before and was looking for a similar experience.
Wagner said she got involved through her friendship with Thomas.
“I’ve played kickball with Eric and ‘Amazeballs’ for eight years. It’s been a long time,” she said.
“The league we play on now is called KC Blue Balls,” said Thomas.
The board members said that players come up with the names for their teams, just like participants in the softball league or bowling teams do.
“They’re usually puns,” said Horman.
“Everything’s got balls in it,” said Thomas, with a laugh.
“This league that we’re playing in now is exclusively kickball,” said Thomas. “Now an important differentiation: Stonewall Sports League is a full sports league, and our goal is starting with kickball because we’re all familiar. And then we’re going to have dodgeball and sand volleyball as well. Those are the two that are closest on our sights.”
“And other Stonewall cities are across the board,” Horman said. “Pretty much all of them start with kickball. It seems to be the most, like, accessible gateway to start a team sport,” He said that some other cities include other sports in their league and “some cities just stick with kickball.”
Thomas credits the local KC Blue Balls League for being very supportive of Stonewall Sports KC (which has KC Blue Balls as a team name, but not a league name). “They’re about 22 teams, of which four we would say are gay teams. And so it’s been a super how accepting and loving that whole league has been to us. They’re wanting to partner with us, and we’re talking about, like, co-league playoffs.”
They will pick a beneficiary for the money they raise each year, and this year, it’s the AIDS Service Foundation. Stonewall KC has member dues of $40 per player.
Wagner said they are also looking for indoor venues during winter months when they cannot play kickball outside.
Team registration is going well, Horman said. “We have 130 registered people as of this point. That’s 11 teams. Our goal is to have 12 teams, [with] 16 people on each one of those teams.” That would be 192 players total.
The three board members said that teams are allowed to be co-ed and that there are not separate male or female divisions. Teams are not exclusively gay or lesbian, they said, and will include transgender players and straight allies.
Wagner acknowledged that fewer women play kickball than men.
In addition to the registration fees from players, they get money from corporate sponsors and are looking for more. The registration fee covers the cost of the team T-shirts.
“The equipment is provided by us,” said Wagner, when referring to the balls and other materials necessary for games.
The group has built up membership mainly through social media and personal connections.
“It’s really just been word of mouth, but a huge chunk of it is talking with friends, who talked with their friends, who talked to their friends,” said Wagner.
They said they have partnered with Woody’s, the LGBTQ sports bar, for social activities, and they are working on more social activities after games or on off-game nights.
The group said they were looking forward to the Gay World Series in Kansas City, which will be Sept. 1-8.
“It’s an exciting time for sports in Kansas City right now,” said Horman. “And that’s something we can piggy-back off of for more sports opportunities within Kansas City.”
Games will be played on Sundays between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Westport Commons – Plexpod Field, 300 E. 39th St., Kansas City, Mo. The season starts Sept. 8, and the tournament is Nov. 3. For more information on Stonewall Sports KC: https://stonewallkansascity.leagueapps.com and Facebook: Stonewall Sports Kansas City
After the last 2 years of dealing with the pandemic and packing on those COVID pounds here are some motivational quotes that can be the spark plugs to our wellness engines. You can have a full tank of gas, a clean carburetor, all the fluids topped off, and 300 horsepower of Detroit’s finest under the hood, but you’re going nowhere without that initial spark. In your quest for well-being, you need a catalyst to move you from idle to ideal. Here are some motivational jolts to inspire you to get your health and fitness vehicle moving.
Make time for exercise each dayPhoto by Victor Freitas on Unsplash
Thomas Paine said, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” You will have conflicts with making time for exercise each day. The treadmill will conflict with your enjoyment of the living-room couch and its fluffy pillows. Your body will engage in conflict with dumbbells and exercise balls as it seeks better health. Embrace these conflicts with excitement, and walk through the smoke and fire. Triumph is waiting on the other side.
Marathon runnersPhoto by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash
John F. Kennedy said, “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” The firefighter’s 55-pound weight loss did not just happen one day on a call. The computer programmer’s success in the Chicago Marathon did not just happen on a Sunday in October. The 4th grade teacher’s significant drop in cholesterol level did not just happen the day before spring break. These people made things happen…and it took time.
Ralph Marston of The Daily Motivator website, wrote, “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” Let today be the first day in 28 years without a cigarette. Stay an extra five minutes on the recumbent bike at the gym today. Start training today for the three-day breast cancer walk that is scheduled for the fall. Tomorrow is always waiting to see what you put in your piggy bank today. Invest wisely and watch the dividends grow.
Full MoonPhoto by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
Jill McLemore once said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land amongst the stars.” Set that goal to trim 75 pounds from your body. Only losing 42 pounds puts you way out there with the North Star. Aim to run 750 miles this year. Coming up 68 miles short will still put you past that former planet Pluto and on your way to the Orion constellation. Dropping eight waist sizes by Christmas instead of the projected 10 will let you glow with the luminescence of several brilliant wonders in the sky. By the way, I think there’s a full moon tonight!
Zig Ziglar stated, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Tom Cruise was another aspiring pretty face in Hollywood about 30 years ago before starting to audition for parts in TV shows. Jared Fogle was a morbidly obese college student at Indiana University in the 1990s before beginning his Subway diet. Mark Zuckerberg was just another starry-eyed Ivy Leaguer until he began to implement a social network idea. They all have that common bond: They started something.
These motivational quotes should help get your wellness engine running and once your car is started there’s no telling where your health and fitness can go. Don't forget to end me a postcard when you get there!
This health and fitness article is brought to you by that guy who’s sneaky like a black hole and bright like a nebula. My name is Ron Blake and I can be found playing with my telescope at email@example.com.
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Is there any cost?
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How soon do I get the results?
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Please visit curative.com to schedule your no-cost appointment TODAY at a site nearest to you. Together we can end this pandemic!
Curative believes that communal well-being is fundamental to individual health.
Curative is building infrastructure to make essential health services easier to access for everyone. Their infrastructure is designed to change as the world does—offering nearby access, affordable services, and science-based guidance.
Their efforts are supported by the optimism and ambition we share with communities across the US, and together we’re imagining new ways to help more people stay safe, healthy, and informed wherever they are.
“I wish I could work out, too, but I just don’t have the motivation!”
Give me a dollar for every time I’ve heard that and I’d be in Cabo San Lucas with an umbrella drink right now. Let’s identify a few of your motivations to get you on the right path. They are there … you just need to realize them so you can make it a great 2022.
How about getting healthy so you can be at that Christmas celebration in 30 years with all the family gathered around and exchanging presents? There will be nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, children and maybe some grandchildren, all enjoying the sounds and sights of the season. That would be amazing!
How about being healthy so you can watch the first man land on Mars in 2030? You hear all the talk about preparing for a mission to Mars, but it will be a long time in coming. Just think if you were alive and well to see it happen!
How about being healthy so you can attend that 60-year class reunion? It might even be nice to walk into the function with a spring in your step and a glow of health about you! Many of your classmates will have walked past St. Peter and those pearly gates by that time, but you can give yourself a chance to stay here with some proactive measures.
How about being healthy so you can spend more time being relaxed and retired? It would be awesome to just not have to do anything you didn’t want to do! Get up every day and use that watch they gave you as a fashion accessory only. With a healthy body, you can spend ample time in the lap of leisure well into your 90s.
How about being healthy so you can walk your dog with your grandkids or great-nephews after that Thanksgiving meal many years down the road? It will be so cool to have that turkey dinner with all the relatives, but it’ll be even more fun to be able to move around without having to catch your breath between steps.
How about being healthy so you can continue to enjoy vibrant sunsets, thrilling football games, colorful leaves in the fall, summer barbecues, or birthday cards in the mail?
Everyone can find the motivation to work out! You just have to identify which motivation will get you to your starting line each day and which will help you get to your daily finish line.
There are plenty of great things to enjoy in life. Find your motivation and start earning your frequent flyer miles for your healthy life. Then soar into the future with excitement about what will be!
This article of motivation is brought to you by a guy who knows a good thing when he sees it. That guy of good vision is Ron Blake, and he can be spotted on that bright horizon at firstname.lastname@example.org.