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Batter up! Gay Softball World Series slides into Seattle
Batter up! Gay Softball World Series slides into Seattle
by Scott Rice - SGN Contributing Writer

The Seattle summer doldrums have set in and I can't help thinking how nice it would be if a few thousand sweaty amatuer athletes, Gay and Lesbian, dropped in to shake things up. Looks like I'll be getting my wish, as that's exactly what will happen August 22-30 as Series 2008 comes to Seattle.

Series 2008, also known as the Gay Softball World Series (GSWS), is the largest annual Queer sporting event in the world, according to the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA) website. The NAGAAA, along with the Amateur Sports Alliance of North America (ASANA) and the Emerald City Softball Association (ECSA), co-host this year's events in Seattle.

Many in Seattle are looking forward to scores of Queer folks coming to our city. Scott Reichert, general manager of C.C. Attle's, says, "It's huge, one of the largest Gay events that Seattle has held. It'll be a huge boost to the Gay economy." When asked what he most looks forward to, Reichert said, "Hot boys, what else?" Reichert then took on a more serious tone and added, "It's about just hosting out-of-town Gay and Lesbian people and having them enjoy Seattle, whatever it takes." Ben Bethel, owner and GM of the Clarendon Hotel in Phoenix, AZ, site of last year's tournament, thought the guests at his hotel had a wonderful time. "It was interesting to see how different the teams could be. One team took everything very seriously and operated like a Marine Corps boot camp; all uniforms pressed, everyone in bed by a certain time. Another team could have been a grown-up, Gay version of the Bad News Bears - in it for the sheer enjoyment, some team members rolling into the hotel so late that they barely made it to their game," Bethel said.

Daniel Cross, World Series 2008 sponsorship director, says, "Teams from 41 cities across the United States and Canada compete locally for slots in the national competition." Cross estimates that 185 teams will participate with about 15 players each. That translates to around 3000 players. Add in officials, support staff, and significant others, and it is obvious the Queer influx will be formidable.

Teams compete in two divisions: The Open Division, open to all gender expressions, and the Women's Division (no word on who will be checking for vaginas, ovaries, and stray Y chromosomes). These two divisions are then subdivided into four categories based on skill level. Those categories are designated as Divisions A, B, C, and D.

Open Division competition will be held at Russell Road Park in Kent, Celebration Park in Federal Way, and Game Farm Park in Auburn. Women's Division competition will also be held at Russell Road Park in Kent along with Stephen J. Underwood Memorial Park in Des Moines and Petrovitsky Park in Renton.

Open Division registration begins Saturday, August 23, at the Marriott Seatac Airport. Women's Division registration begins Monday, August 25, at the Holiday Inn in Renton. Opening Ceremonies will be Monday, August 25, from 4-6 p.m. at the Seattle Center. Games for both divisions begin on Tuesday, August 26 and championship games will be played on Saturday, August 30 at Russell Road Park.

Additional activities and events include the Miss Gay Softball Pageant, 7 p.m. Sunday at 88 Keys; Series 2008 Mariners Night, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday at Safeco field; and a talent show, 8 p.m. Wednesday, at the Hilton Airport Ballroom. Proceeds from the pageant and talent show will support the Life Long Aids Alliance (LLAA) and Lambert House.

Volunteer opportunities are available. You may e-mail volunteer@series2008.org for more information. According to Cross, about 200 volunteers are needed for the week's events. "We have a number of positions available and can use people with any skill set," Cross added.

For more information about Series 2008, log on to http://series2008.org. Then sit back and wait for all the competitive games, parties and Seattle style hosting of the athletes.

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