Softball is King….and Queen in Knoxville
In East Tennessee, situated in the Tennessee Valley you’ll find the city of Knoxville, home to the K-Town Softball League.
The state of Tennessee has three NAGAAA cities, the other two being Nashville and Memphis. In fact, the state of Tennessee is tied for the 2nd most NAGAAA cities by state with Texas and Florida. Knoxville is the newest city in Tennessee to join NAGAAA being admitted in as a member city in 2011.
The K-Town Softball League was founded in 2004 and while the league is thriving now in its 10th year, there was a time when the league struggled on many levels. “We struggled to find fields as we were told the fields were not available for use,” said K-Town Softball NAGAAA Representative, Tonya Vaughn. To say that the league has come a long way would be an understatement. The league’s steady growth has allowed it to have a positive impact on Knoxville LGBT residents and LGBT allies. “Coming from not knowing if we had a place to play to where we are now is heartwarming,” said Vaughn.
Knoxville has built quite a reputation for its teams traveling all around the country to participate in NAGAAA sanctioned tournaments and it comes as no surprise that they have been very successful at the Gay Softball World Series as well. “We (K-Town Board) highly encourage our teams to travel for the experience, camaraderie and competition,” Vaughn says. The best finish at a GSWS for a Knoxville team came by the Knoxville Cyclones who took 2nd place in the B Division at the 2011 Chicago GSWS.
While the K-Town Softball League’s season ended on June 1st the league is far from done this summer as it is gearing up for the K-Town Softball Klassic this August! The tournament is featuring B, C and D division play this year after hosting 27 teams at last year’s Klassic. The opening party will feature the entertainment stylings of the vivacious and super sickening Alyssa Edwards from RuPaul’s Drag Race season 5, not to mention it is a perfect end of season tournament for teams that have a lag time between their season and the 2014 GSWS in Dallas.
It is easy to see that Knoxville has a lot to be proud of as the K-Town Softball League turns 10 this year. NAGAAA representative Tanya Vaughn understands that softball is fun, but it’s about more than competition. “I think what is important in our league is it allows LGBTQ and straight members to come together and have an outlet to do something that they enjoy athletically,” said Vaughn.
The competition is fierce in Knoxville, but it’s good to see that fun still plays a key part in the whole K-Town Softball League process. When asked if Knoxville desired to host a Gay Softball World Series in the near future, Vaughn stated, “not currently, if Dollywood builds a Wide World of Sports like Disney we might be good for a whirl at it.” That answer is exactly what makes Knoxville, well, Knoxville and the DD loves it.
K-TOWN SOFTBALL LEAGUE – BY THE NUMBERS:
League Founded: 2004
Joined NAGAAA: 2011
Membership: B Division (1), C Division (3), D Division (7), Women’s (5)
Regular Season: April 6 – June 1
Venue for League: Caswell Park (Knoxville) & Everett Fields (Maryville)
Best Team Finish @ GSWS: Knoxville Cyclones, 2nd Place B Division, 2011
Season Cost Per Team: $475 per team
League Sponsors: The Edge, Club XYZ, Cocoa Moon, Kristtophers
Host Tournament: K-Town Klassic – August 1-3
League Website: http://www.ktownsoftball.com
*The DD would like to thank Tonya Vaughn for her help with this league spotlight.*