Team DC, the local organization promoting LGBT participation in sports, will hold its annual Champions Awards Thursday, July 18, during which it will honor those who made great contributions to the local LGBT sports community and will present scholarships to four D.C.-area LGBT student athletes.
The awards dinner will feature former NFL player Wade Davis – a gay athlete who played cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins – as the guest speaker. Davis, a board member of You Can Play and the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Educational Network's (GLSEN) sports advisory board, is one of the co-founders of the You Belong Initiative, which seeks to promote inclusion among LGBTQ youth and their straight allies in sports.
Those being honored with 2013 Champions Awards are Jerry Langan of the DC Front Runners and Melvin Thomas of Stonewall Bocce, both of whom will receive the MVP Award; and Eric Bolda of the Rainbow Spinnakers Sailing Club and Dan Schaefer of the Chesapeake and Potomac Softball Club, who will receive the Trailblazer Award. Davis and the Burgundy Crescent Volunteers, a volunteer nonprofit that serves as the source for volunteers for LGBT-run or LGBT-friendly nonprofit organizations, will be presented with the Community Support Award.
The Team DC Student-Athlete Scholarships, which can range up to $2,000 each, are awarded annually to openly LGBT student athletes from the D.C. area who are planning to attend a two- or four-year college or university, exhibit academic and athletic excellence, have made a contribution to their respective sports, and have enhanced the perception of the LGBT community through their involvement.
This year's winners are: Terrance Curry, of T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria; Sarah Kerndt, of West Springfield High School in Springfield, Va.; Christian Tarver, from Bell Multicultural High School in Washington; and Laura Ventura, of Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda.
Brent Minor, Team DC's executive director, says he particularly appreciates the Champions Awards for their diversity.
"We hear from students who represent the future and awardees who represent not only the present but the past,'' Minor said. "I think it's important for people to see their participation in sports as part of something bigger.''
Nellie's Sports Bar and Absolut Vodka are sponsors of this year's celebration, which includes a buffet and open vodka bar. The following night, July 19, Nellie's will also host the kick-off registration party, from 7 to 10 p.m., for Team DC's Freedom Sports Festival, running through July 21, and featuring Stonewall Kickball, DC Sentinels basketball and Capital Splats racquetball.
The Team DC Champions Awards Dinner, Thursday, July 18, begins at 6:30 p.m. at the City View Room, 1957 E St. NW. Tickets cost $45 if purchased by noon, July 18, online via teamdc.ticketsocket.com, or $65 at the door. For more information about the Freedom Sports Festival, visit teamdc.org/freedomsportsfestival. Nellie's is located at 900 U St. NW.