A Brief History of Gay Softball and the CGSLThe Cabbagetown Group Softball League (CGSL) is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1975. Initially comprised of only 4 teams, the CGSL currently boasts 20 teams in 3 divisions of play with membership in excess of 300 women and men.
The CGSL also hosts the annual Canada Cup Tournament in July, which attracts players from across Canada and the United States. In addition to playing softball, the League has become a vibrant force in the Lesbian and Gay international community through its annual events, entertainment spectacles, celebrations, volunteer work and charity. The 519 Church St. Community Centre is a recipient for the donation of cash and the sleighful of toys for needy children raised at our annual Christmas party. Past beneficiaries have included the PWA Foundation, Gilda Fund and Toronto Hospital for Sick Children.
Gay softball has its roots back in the late 1970s. In 1978, CGSL was one of the five founding members of an international organization called NAGAAA (North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance), formed originally to govern the many leagues participating in gay sports.
The previous year, three gay teams from New York traveled to San Francisco to play in the first inter-city competition. Los Angeles, Toronto and Milwaukee joined the competition in 1978 and along with New York and San Francisco are all founding members. Today, there are 29 leagues in the open division with some 8,200 members.
The first women's team entered in the competition in 1979, coming from La Crosse, WI. The GSWS (Gay Softball World Series) as it is called today was first held in Los Angeles in 1980. Since then, it has grown to a week - long tournament with more than 150 teams and 2,500 players, coaches and officials from cities around the United States and Canada. In the women's and open divisions, skill levels range from seasoned softball veterans to first-time weekend athletes. Toronto was the host city for Series 2000, the Millennium Series. The year 2000 was also the 25th anniversary season for the CGSL.
Our continuing purpose is to provide the opportunity for gay, lesbian and straight persons and their supporters who wish to play softball in an atmosphere free from discrimination as to skill, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation.
We hope to provide a summer of fun and friends, with opportunities to meet other softball players, both at our own tournament (international) and many, many others across North America. Our motto has been "Gay Pride through Sports".
We hope to continue this great adventure taken at a time when we could not even advertise ourselves as gay. Our name continues to link us to not so distant past when we were forced to live in the shadows. Together we have brought this present to each other. Play Ball!