Matthew Hays's picture

Joining A Gay Kickball Team Helped Me Find My Stride In A New City

When I first moved to Chicago I had a very specific item on my list of things to do. That was to join a gay kickball team. I’ve always loved playing kickball, figured it would give me a reason to get out and stay active, along with making friends as well. I also had not participated in any gay sport leagues in previous cities I lived in and planned on changing it. 

Luckily I found the league just before registration closed and signed on a s free agent for Stonewall Kickball – Chicago Spring 2017.

I was assigned to team Eggplant. I knew no one, but it worked out well, as most of the team was new that season. A lot of people knew each other through social circles, but I wasn’t the only one who was new. Instead of being intimidating, it was a great opportunity to make new friends.

In keeping with our team name, we rocked some pretty awesome purple shirts through the season.

The great thing about kickball, is we play on Sunday and it just naturally leads into Sunday Funday. We get drink tickets for free drinks after each game and always head out to the bar to not let them go to waste. I quickly established my love for champagne among the team, and had the wonderful hangovers to prove I may have had a few one to many on certain Sundays.

While there is plenty of fun and socializing to be had, it was still competitive. Sadly my first season, we didn’t do the best. We only won two games and were knocked out during the first round of play-offs.

But this fall, our team was back and we were ready to play hard but also further build our camaraderie.

We started off with a win. We head learned each other’s strengths and were even practicing outside of Sundays to make sure we knew what we were doing. This lead us to being ranked 5th in our division with three wins at the end of the fall season. We also made it past the first round in the play-offs as well.


Stonewall does a great job to make sure we have fun, and each season there are two fun games. One being spirit week, and the team with the best costume wins a bottle of vodka. Winning is chosen by voting on Facebook, so completely arbitrary. Last season we came in camo and it was decent. But this season our team came to slay, and we did with our Minion costume and over 500 reactions to our photo, well ahead of the second place team, the 101 Dalmatians.




The other fun game is the Drag Game where we work to raise money for our charity, Fred Says. The league has two divisions so that a lot of teams can play. The Drag Game consists of the two division facing off against each other in their best drag. If you’ve never seen a burly man run a field in heels, my is it quite the sight to see. I won’t like, I played in tennis shoes as my stilettos would not work, and I needed to be ready for Part 2 of the day.

Following the game, the divisions separate for a drag show to raise money and crown “Miss Progress” and “Miss Crystal Head,” the names of the two divisions, who then face off in a Lip Sync for their life. 

I’ve always wanted to do drag, and all my friends keep saying I should as well. So here was my chance to have some fun, raise some money, and perform on the stage at Roscoe’s, which really had me geeked out.

I didn’t win but I put on one hell of a performance to Work From Home by Fifth Harmony, complete with tear off and dildo on a drill. Nobody else had quite the same props.

The thing is that, just beyond kickball, my team is my family. Friends to hangout with, to drink with, and enjoy the wonderful city of Chicago with. More than anything, I am glad that I have joined, even though I was nervous at first. Not only did I get to know the guys I my team, I got to meet players from other teams. I even ran into a high school friend who was also on another team. There is also plenty of muscled guys and cute butts to look at as well throughout the season. Some romances have even started because of kickball. Mine has yet to take off, but I feel more connected and balanced in the city now.

I already am planning for Spring season and can’t wait for it.

Even if you aren’t “sports-y” it’s still a great experience and great way to get out and meet people. If you’re new to a city it’s a great way to get into the gay community. We had plenty of people are our team who were there just for the social aspects and rarely played.



If you’re looking for a more creative way to meet other gays, look at what your city offers in the form of sports. Chicago has multiple leagues and dozens of sports to choose from and so do many other cities.

The thing is there are so many ways to get out and meet people that don’t require a club or bar, even though that’s where we ended up. Can’t say no to those free drinks after each game.