For three days every year, the popular Hurricane Showdown has blown into town on Thanksgiving weekend in South Florida. It is the perfect time for locals to hunker down to watch some of the best LGBT softball players in the world compete.
Now in its 29th year, the event draws LGBT teams from all over the country to participate in this epic softball tournament. This year’s games will happen on Friday, Nov. 24; Saturday, Nov. 25 and Sunday, Nov. 26.
The event is hosted by the South Florida Amateur Athletic Association (SFAAA), which was founded in 1994, for LGBT athletes. SFAAA is associated with the North America Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA) and follows the rules of the United States of America Softball (USA).
This is Josh Yeager’s first year as co-director of the SFAAA/Hurricane Showdown and his 8th year playing and/or volunteering. He said that there are 70 teams participating in this year’s tournament.
“They are coming in from all over the country – and even Canada,” he said. “There are 5 divisions/levels of play, which include Upper, C, D, E, and Legends D.”
Yeager said that the tournament has grown to be one of the largest of its kind in the country.
“We have grown to play at four different softball complexes,” he said. “There are 1,100 players and probably another 250 spouses, friends, and family members.
The four complexes include Mills Pond Park in Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach 4 Fields Park, Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek, and South County Park in Boca Raton.
The teams are composed of players of all ages — 18 is the minimum age but there are players in their 60s and 70s.
Yeager said that this year will have the addition of the Legends Division – for players age 50+ only. It was formerly known as the Master’s Division.
The Hurricane Showdown is always an exciting event in South Florida. The host hotel for the players is Courtyard by Marriott on Fort Lauderdale Beach and several parties will be held to celebrate the players.
On Wednesday, there will be a party at Lit Bar from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday is the annual Thanksgiving Day registration afterparty at Alibi. Alibi will also host a party on Friday as well as the SFAAA’s ever Glow Party on Saturday. On Sunday, Hamburger Mary’s will host the closing/awards ceremony. There will also be a Long Ball Derby for the players.
“It’s a safe place for the LGBT players to come over a Holiday Weekend,” Yeager said of the annual event. “Many players’ families don’t support them and the camaraderie of a team event and all the social events we have makes for a great weekend.”
So, if you were bummed out about not having any family plans over the holiday these festivities may be the perfect solution for you to have a joyful Thanksgiving weekend.