The Varsity Gay League (VGL), founded in Los Angeles in 2007 by Will Hackner, is the largest gay sports league in California with over 8,000 members since its implementation and has expanded to over 8 cities in the U.S. to include San Diego, San Francisco, Long Beach, Sacramento, Austin, Orlando and Portland (with plans to add other major cities to meet the demand). With Kickball as their main sport, the VGL also includes other sports in varying cities such as Bowling, Soccer, Tennis, Beach Volleyball, Flag Football, Dodgeball and Ultimate Frisbee (among others).
The Varsity Gay League was formed when founder Will Hackner became disillusioned with the limitations the Los Angeles gay scene had to offer in terms of socializing. With the bar culture the only real means for gay people to meet up, one night Will and a handful of friends decided to skip the bars and instead head to the local West Hollywood Park to play tag. This impromptu game ended up attracting other strangers who happened by and two hours later the seed for VGL began. A short time later Will and his friend Andrew, motivated by each other’s excitement of summer camp fun, planned a game of capture the flag at Pan Pacific Park, and VGL was officially born.
The VGL was founded on the hopes that it will be instrumental in the gay community by educating people on recreational sports and getting them to commit their time to an activity they might not have been interested in before and to provide the LGBT community (and their allies) a means to socialize outside the bars in a new and meaningful way. The founding idea is that VGL will be more than just sports and games but become something that players look forward to each week, that brings them happiness. It’s an option for new players in large metropolitan cities to not feel so alone and a make new friends. For it to be a chance for people to fall in love by having fun in a silly way and to express themselves in their apparel, skills and unique talents that may not otherwise be noticed or expressed. VGL is designed to be a place to find confidence and an open community for everyone — gay and straight, any color, prime health or existing illness, any age, any skill level, religion, political affiliation, sober/not sober, rich or poor as long as everyone has fun.
VGL offers year-round outside-the-box activities, games, mixers, fundraisers and sporting events. With eight cities currently being serviced by VGL, the goal is to branch out into new cities that could benefit by socialized recreational sports in the LGBT community. While there are other organizations, across the country, that provide activities, VGL hopes that all major LGBT+ hubs (and some that are not) will have a sports and activities option for their communities. Together (all groups working together) they can create a unified, national organization that works with each other in a positive way. VGL already has a host of amazing LGBT+ friendly sponsors, both locally and nationally, and they intend to increase new sports programs in cities that exist, and create new partnerships and programs that will allow VGL to connect to new audiences that might be intimidated by certain sports and/or are afraid to join something. VGL is proud that it has not only created a space for people to be active but it has created a community that people depend on — a “family” that support one another on and off the field.
With Varsity Gay League celebrating its 10-year anniversary, they are proud of their many accomplishments which include being the first group ever to play Kickball at Dodger’s Stadium, running the first National Kickball tournament that currently has almost 600 players, to have a nationally recognized brand with major local and national sponsors and to have been featured in multiple press and media mentions due to their unique and interesting story. Varsity Gay League is looking toward the future and hopes to continue to grow this valuable resource with the plans of VGL having leagues in all 50 states (and beyond) to service the LGBT communities.
For more information, visit varsitygayleague.com. V
Via Press Release