HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The inaugural season of Huntsville’s NEXUS League ended on a high note in the fall. Now, the league is hoping to make even more waves in the Rocket City for its second year.
The NEXUS Huntsville Softball League is the city’s newly formed LGBTQ+ league. Established in 2021, the league aims to “provide a safe and fun environment for all LGBTQ+ people and their allies,” according to nexushsvsoftball.com.
Online registration is already open for the league’s 2022 season, but the organization is also hosting two recruitment days in the hopes of drawing out even more people.
“For this year’s recruitment days, we are hoping that we have gotten the word out enough to the community and the surrounding areas, that we can expect a bigger turnout than last year,” said the league’s commissioner, Jonathan Wallace.
According to a Facebook post, the recruitment days will be held on February 19 and February 27, both at 2 p.m. in Brahan Spring Park. All new players will need to come by one of the events. The registration fee is $35 per person.
Wallace told News 19 there were 52 players in the league last season, amounting to four teams. This year, the goal is six teams.
“We had a great turnout last season!” said Shannon Lambeth, the league’s tournament director and an assistant coach. “I am hoping to build off of that and help the community continue to grow while doing what they love.”
Efforts began in May to establish the league, but opening day didn’t kick off until September 2021 in Brahan Spring Park. At that time, one of the league’s key organizers Edwin Kuzma stated, “There wasn’t much diversity as far as LGBT entertainment for Huntsville, and being able to create a new community and environment for us to come to that’s accepting of all of us is just amazing.”
When asked how he thinks the league affects the LGBTQ+ community in Huntsville now, Wallace said, “I do think that the league helps bring awareness [to] the LGBTQ+ community… I feel like it just gives [other] options that the community can participate in… Whether it be students in college, with families, et cetera.”
“The state of the community is headed in the right direction, I just feel like having many options for the LGBTQ+ community will help it continue to grow!” Wallace continued.
Wallace added another goal to the league’s list this year: membership for Huntsville in the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA). Three board members from the league represented the Rocket City earlier this month at NAGAAA’s winter meeting in Dallas in an effort to showcase Huntsville as a potential member city.
Lambeth is organizing a tournament with other NAGAAA member cities for what they’re calling the “Rocket City Space Jam.” The tournament is set for August 13 and 14, 2022 at Metro Kiwanis in Huntsville.
“[The tournament] is open to all NAGAAA teams regardless of location in the country,” Lambeth told News 19. “Currently, we have teams close that are from Birmingham and Nashville confirmed to come, but we’ve had teams from Seattle and Kansas interested as well.”
“Our tournament teams will also compete against these teams, but most of the teams in the tournament will be from other cities,” Lambeth stated. Eligible teams can register for the tournament here.
Lambeth concluded by stating her hope is “to help the people in our community feel more comfortable with who they are, knowing they have a support system in place.”
According to the league’s website, the league is primarily for the LGBTQ+ community, but all individuals are welcome to play. For more information on the NEXUS Huntsville League, visit their website or check them out on Facebook here.
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