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I’ve never been asked our stalwart Coverboy question, ”What position do you play in the big baseball game of life?” But, in case you were wondering, I play third base.
I don’t mean that in a jokingly ironic sense. I actually was, lo these many years ago, the third baseman for my Little League baseball team, the Fredonia Cardinals. I still have the little baseball hat and a trophy for our undefeated 1980 season. Of course, this was a teeny town in western Kentucky where we had a total of three teams — I mostly remember them as the red team, the blue team and the green team — so a 10-0 season just meant that we beat the other two teams five times over the course of the summer.
Still, that little baseball diamond with its faded wooden bleachers under a corrugated-tin roof and a chicken-wire backstop was the social center of the town every summer. Kids not playing ball ran rampant around the neighborhood, hopped up on the ”graveyards” we ordered from the rickety snack shack by the field (a blend of Pepsi, 7-Up and Dr. Pepper that only a 9-year-old could find delicious). Farmers talked weather and crops in between innings, mothers talked about PTA meetings, teenagers drove their cars in endless loops around the neighborhood.
Baseball was a centerpiece of life.
So it’s fun for me this year to have Metro Weekly joining up with Team DC as one of the sponsors for this year’s Night Out at the Nationals. June 21 at Nationals Park will be just like those community nights of my youth. Except bigger. And louder. And light years gayer.
Seeing thousands of LGBT people gathered in the stands of a stadium for an event produced in cooperation with a professional sports team is really one of those moments when you realize how far we’ve come. As always, it’s not nearly far enough, but it’s something to be proud of.
Fitting, then, that the Night Out happens so soon after the culmination of Capital Pride, this weekend’s parade and festival. If there’s ever a moment when we can find comfort and solidarity in the sheer numbers of our community, its when we find ourselves filling the streets in celebration.
As always, you’ll find all of us from Metro Weekly at the festivities. We’re looking forward to riding the parade route, along with some special guests: our Next Generation Award winners Gregory Cendana, Victoria Kirby, Daniel O’Neill and Sadie Ryanne Vashti; and our Coverboy of the Year Franklin Caintic. And we hope to see everyone at our booth at the festival, where we’ll be meeting and greeting with all of our friends, new and old, as well as serving as the hub for our reporters, photographers and videographers who’ll be keeping the focus on the weekend that serves as our community’s own, special centerpiece.
After all, Pride isn’t really about the booths that line the festival grounds and the carefully calibrated messages that flutter overhead on banners and balloons. Pride is about the people who fill the streets, the energetic groups of LGBT youth, the toddler-toting families, the glittered and the glowing.
Pride is about you.