Take me out to the ball game

It's time to buy some peanuts and cracker jacks and head out to the old ball game. The Metro Nashville Softball Association (MNSA) begins their new season in April, and the burgeoning league continues to gain supporters as it moves into its sixth season.

The MNSA plays every Sunday (except holidays) from April to August, and their new campaign begins on Sunday, Apr. 10 with opening ceremonies at West Park (6105 Morrow Road).

League coordinator Kerry Pogue says the event is a fitting way to bring the GLBT and gay-friendly communities together.

"The opening ceremonies will be bigger and better than ever this year," he promises about this year's activities. "We are having a car show this year and there will be the parade of players again. At the end, all the teams go out onto the field. It's great to see."

While MNSA is a GLBT-oriented league, it is open to all players regardless of age, race, creed, national origin, religion, sex or sexual orientation. According to their website, the league's mission is "to unite the entire Nashville community by reaching out to GLBT and gay-friendly businesses and organizations... and to work together to achieve the goals of tolerance and acceptance for all members of the community."

As a way to say thanks for the community's support, MNSA is offering free vendor booths for any company at the opening ceremonies. Those who occupy a booth can use the space to promote their businesses.

"Everything has come together because people in Nashville are so into it," Pogue says. "This is a new league that started five years ago with 22 people, and now we have nearly 300 people participating. We have a lot to be thankful for."

To further develop relationships in the Nashville area, team members perform volunteer and charity work for organizations including OutCentral and Nashville PRIDE. League outreach efforts have even extended to Knoxville, Clarksville and various other Tennessee cities.

This commitment to community service also plays an important role in acquiring new fans and players. Interested parties are encouraged to visit the website for more information on how to get involved.

"At the website there is a place to sign up if you're interested in being a player," Pogue says. "We also need scorekeepers and volunteers for events that we do. Those people are just as important as the ones out on the field."

The Metro Nashville Softball Association opening ceremonies begin at 12 p.m. on Sunday, Apr. 3. For more information, visit their website at www.metronashvillesoftball.org.

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