This weekend, over 940 players from 48 teams, 22 cities, and two countries will compete in the nation’s premier LGBT flag football tournament. And for the first time ever in its now 16 year history, the Gay Bowl will be played in Washington, D.C.
Jared Garduno, Commissioner of the National Gay Flag Football League (NGFFL), is excited to share this unique experience with all the new participants and old friends.
“This is a very unique site for us. For me, as a player, you can see where the LGBTQ movement has grown through my life. But also we’re going to be able to play freely and openly right there on our nation’s capital. I hope that everyone takes the time to, or a moment to realize just how fortunate we are and to be able to embrace this moment.”
Founded in 2002, the National Gay Flag Football League seeks to promote the positive social and athletic enjoyment of American Flag Football. The NGFFL creates a place where LGBTQ participants and their allies are safe to place the sport they love.
“For our LGBTQ members and our allies, it’s a place that brings people together and breaks down barriers.”
But it goes beyond that. Jared knows that although the league was founded as a safe-haven for athletes, the NGFFL is so much more than that.
“It’s so much more after the games are done. When we started, we were all very big into the social events after games. Local restaurants, bars were eager to help in fundraising and hosting events. There was a big social aspect to it,” Jared said.
Now, there’s still a big social aspect, but it involves players’ families, spouses, and children. “Most of us are lucky enough to have children now.”
Since 2002, the NGFFL has grown from three teams in one city, to leagues spanning from the Hawaiian islands to Florida, including new teams and leagues in Austin, Cincinnati, and Seattle. They’ve also expanded into Toronto now as well.
“As a commissioner, to see the growth of not just the league but also the teams and the players, it’s really something,” Jared said. “We’ll also be celebrating the fifth year anniversary of the women’s division. As a participant, it’s a great chance to see all your friends and everyone from around the country. There’s going to be a lot of hugs and love.”
We’re in our first year with you and we couldn’t be happier. I’m really excited for next year when all this information can transfer from not only the previous year but also to the next city. You guys were really heaven-sent!
This weekend, fans and participants will be rewarded with the NGFFL’s sixth and largest class inducted into the Hall of Fame. Participants have to play for seven years as well as serve at the local level by making a big impact on local leagues, the national bowls, and, of course, display excellence on the field.
LeagueApps is happy to be a part of something so special for so many.
“We’re in our first year with you and we couldn’t be happier. I’m really excited for next year when all this information can transfer from not only the previous year but also to the next city- Chicago used it for their tournaments a few months ago- everybody is getting used to that. It does wonders for us from a liability standpoint and have all the waviers lined up, it’s just so helpful.
“And you guys really came through in a pinch earlier this year when another partner backed out hours before our season started. If not for your system, we’d be scrambling on what the heck we’d be doing. You guys were really heaven-sent in the fact that we were able to communicate to 900 plus people on scores and schedules and all that other information.
“I couldn’t be thankful enough for you guys!”