Montrose Softball League (1992-1993)
The Monstrose Softball League began playing in 1980. There were six teams at the time, and the league champion went on to represent Houston in the Gay Softball World Series -- that year, they were up against the champion from Minneapolis/Saint Paul.
The softball league also participated in Pride Week festivities. In 1980 there was a double header between the Montrose League champions and the police and firefighters.
The score sheet also sold advertisements which showcased GLBT-related businesses in the area, including bars, restaurants, fitness clubs, and other GLBT-friendly locations. Some of these businesses are still around; in fact, House of Pies had advertisements in the Montrose Softball League score sheet!
The Montrose Softball League is about more than just softball: "It's about making relationships and friendships that last a lifetime," says Montrose Softball League publicity chair Anthony Frye. In addition to building these relationships, the Montrose Softball League has served the Houston GLBT community by contributing to local charities.
“The teams were sponsored by the bars. And the bars bought the uniforms, they had their logo on the back or somewhere [...] They did seasons, they had tournaments. They had the whole nine yards. And they had pretty good attendance. But again [...] when AIDS hit, you lost a lot of your younger players, and they were replaced, but it's just not the same as it was.” --Judy Reeves
“Rainbo made an EJ's green and yellow and white, cheerleader outfit, and he went to all the games. So a lot of it's just fun, and...it's a way to blow off steam. The softball league takes their sport very seriously. Very seriously.”
“They were around quite a while. In fact, they're still around. [...] They're just not as big. I know Tony's Corner Pocket, and this is one of the reasons I know they're still around. I don't think the teams play the same way, but Tony's...frequently we can't get into Tony's on a Sunday afternoon because Tony's throwing a big party for his team. And they will show up in droves. You can't get a parking spot. So it does still exist.”
“The leather guys are out there in the sun, and on their motorcycles, you know, and they like to be "sleek," so to speak, and so yeah, they were fit, and they made good players. But you could put on a baseball uniform and a jersey, and you could go play baseball, and you could sluff it off and go put on your leather that night and go to the Ripcord or wherever you're going. And they don't equate you with softball. You know? It wasn't a big secret, it was just... I'm a leather guy. And leather is a whole different ball game.”
“I wish more people could adopt [...]the leather creed, for lack of a better word [...] First, do no harm. Leather is all about respect and love and helping each other. And, I mean... you look at all these big brawny guys in these leather outfits, or these chaps and you think "Urrrr, I don't wanna be around them," you know, "they're dangerous," but...My god, I'd get killed if anybody heard me say this. They're like... the puppy dogs of the community. Because they will extend a hand out to anybody and everybody no matter what, if someone has a need. And it's all about respect for mankind [...] and helping each other out. And the leather community comes together every year, and they're the ones who do all the toy drives. The leather community keeps these pantries going, keeps the clothes pantries going for homeless people. They start... or are very involved in the homeless youth [...] We have a lot of homeless youths on the streets. And those are the ones that the leather guys take care of.”
The Montrose Softball League mission statement: "The Montrose Softball League Association (MSLA) is dedicated to the promotion of amateur softball for all persons regardless of age, race, creed, religion, sex, or national origin, with special emphasis placed on the participation of members of the gay community of Greater Houston.
The goal of the league is to provide a sports outlet for individuals as a way to meet and interact with like-minded people in the spirit of friendly competition in an environment that promotes good health and fitness.
The MSLA is divided into various divisions relative to a player's skill level. The league also encourages the involvement of non-playing members who are considered members in good standing and accrue all the benefits thereof.
During the course of the season the league holds various fundraisers and at the end of the season an awards banquet is held where we honor individual and team achievement, thank our sponsors, and donate monies to our league charities. We are proud of our league's continued growth and accomplishments over the years and we look forward to serving the gay sports community of Greater Houston for years to come." (From the Montrose Softball League website, paragraph breaks added for clarity.)
The Softball League and Building Community:
"The goals of the league are to promote new friendships through competition in the league and to provide a better understanding of the gay community with those outside the community by promoting membership in the league and competition with those outside the gay community."
--From the Montrose Voice, June 25, 1982.