FERNDALE – For years, Andrea Sorenson of Ortonville sat on the sidelines while her uncle Jeff Seconder batted for the Genuine Chiropractic team of the Metro Detroit Softball League. She’s been the team’s scorekeeper for the past three years, but this season she’s had enough.
“This is going to be my first season playing,” Sorenson said. “I’m 18 now, so I’ll finally get to play. I’m so excited.”
Sorenson and the Genuine Chiropractic team will compete along with 19 other teams in four divisions of play in the area’s largest LGBT softball league. The MDSL began in 1985, and was one of the first of many organizations to form in the area giving the queer community access to team sports.
On March 19, Affirmations had their first annual LGBT sports fair, which showcased 18 different recreational opportunities. Among the rows of brightly colored booths, visitors found information on bowling, biking, softball, golf, tennis, running, kickball, yoga and more.
Frank Burger, the president of The Rainbow Pride League, drove all the way down from Flint to lure prospective bowlers in with promises of theme-night bowling including Nascar night, a pajama party and a Mardi Gras bowl.
Representing another local LGBT bowling league, Don Hubbard of Ann Arbor touted the Rainbow League of Ypsilanti’s annual tournament that pits 40 teams of bowlers against each other in a grand one-day event.
“People always worry about their ability,” Hubbard said. “But it’s not about that. We have teams for all abilities and all kinds of people. It’s more about being able to get out and have fun somewhere safe. Something different than the bars.”
Another group at the event with a family-friendly theme was the motorcycle club Dykes on Bikes. “We have a monthly meeting with a family atmosphere at different local restaurants,” said founder Heather O’Brien. “Not all bikers fit into the image. We promote safe motorcycling, and we make sure we are out and staying positive.”
The group goes on six main rides throughout the year, makes appearances at Motor City Pride and Lansing Pride, and gives their time and contributions to local no-kill animal shelter. “We welcome everybody as long as they are positive,” O’Brien said. “Even if they don’t have a bike.”
For those who prefer that their cycles be powered with feet, there’s the Get OUT Bike Group that meets every Sunday at various parks through the area for a two-hour moderately paced ride.
Swimmers can find company in Team Detroit Aquatics, and those who enjoy kayaking or canoeing might be interested in the Paddle Dykes group.
With so many possible activities and such a large local LGBT population, its no wonder Affirmations had over 150 people attend the fair. Affirmations Social and Enrichment Coordinator Maureen Jones said she was “thrilled” with the turnout. “It’s great to see so many people come out on this nice sunny day,” she added. “What better way to begin spring than by thinking about being outside and playing some sports?”
For more information about area LGBT sports and recreation opportunities, call Affirmations at 248-398-7105 or visit http://www.goaffirmations.org.