Although professonal sports (and the amateur athletes at this year's Olympics) typically get all the attention, more and more gay men and women are finding friendship, camaraderie, and companionship through local LGBT sporting leagues. We caught up with one couple, Danny Lynch (pictured at top) and Scott Williams to find out about how they met through their love of athletics.
Danny Lynch: I first saw Scott at a fundraiser...He overheard me saying, "Oh, he's kinda cute." At the next party I actually got the courage to go up to him.
Scott Williams: At the time, Danny was not involved with the Boston Gay Flag Football League: He played softball and basketball only. I advised him that he would really have fun, that it is a great league with great people. After my cajoling, he said he was going to register for the fall.
Danny: Once I joined, my team won first place at the Super Fabulous Bowl [the gay version of the Super Bowl], and I won Coach's Award.
Scott: There were some really uncanny parallels as to how it all happened. Danny was a former athlete in high school; I was a former athlete in high school. Neither one of us had ever played football on a real team. Also, in 2009 [the year before Danny won Coach's Award], I played flag football for the first time, and my team also won the Super Fabulous Bowl. And I won Coach's Award.
Danny: It was kind of ironic.
Scott: Later, I sent him a Facebook message congratulating him on a great season and saying how I was him the prior year. I found it so odd that I was the person who got him involved in the league, and then he became "me." I took this as a sign that I had to pursue this further.
Danny: So we went out for martinis...
Scott: It happened very fast...
Danny: I knew [we had something real] a couple days afterwards. It was like lightning hitting me.
Scott: It was that electric. It really was like a silver-screen Hollywood movie. There was no doubt in my mind that I was meant to meet him and I was meant to be with him. I really honored my instinct. I listened to my heart. I didn't overanalyze it.
Danny: I was always looking for that special someone, always dating. But then, out of nowhere, Scott came along and I just went with it. It's true love. I met him and my whole world changed.
Scott: There was some judgment from people at first. There's a 12-year age difference between us, and that's been difficult for some people to accept.
Danny: You have to do what you think is right. We don't judge them, so if they judge us then there's nothing we can do about it. We just live our own lives.
Scott: And most people have been very supportive, and celebrate us. I think all couples go through judgment, and deal with a little bit of jealousy. There's always drama.
Danny: Now my dad talks to Scott more than he talks to me sometimes. He accepts us, and loves us, and I think he just wants me to be happy.
Scott: Our [sports] teams have become like families too.
Danny: I've been playing with the same [softball] team for four or five years...I look forward to seeing those guys. They're like the brothers I never had. They teach me things about life...
Scott: There is an acceptance [in gay sports], regardless of religion, skill, ability, gender, orientation, socioeconomic [status]...Everyone is welcome. And if you flub a play or drop the ball or do something wrong, then that's OK, too.
Danny: No one judges. Everyone is just another person that you meet. There's no black, white, gay, straight...We just come, we play, we get introduced to new people, and we don't question.
Scott: What I find interesting is that a lot of straight people come to play in our leagues...the Boston Gay Basketball League...the Boston Gay Flag Football League...the [Provincetown] Softball League. It really debunks some of those stereotypical myths [for them]...You know, you can be gay and be masculine, and perform on the field and the court...and I think it helps bridge that gap to the "straight world."
Danny: But of course, [a lot of people] join for the social aspect behind the sport, [so that] they can meet someone and date.
Scott: The only potential downside [of being in sports together] is that we're both competitive, and alpha males. But we don't play the same division in softball or in basketball, which is a good thing for us. We love each other, but we're also competitive, and don't want that to spill over into our home life.
Danny: We're going to get a dog...a black lab I think. His name is going to be Champ.
Scott: But we have to get a house first...We're in an apartment right now. It's cute, but it's too small. I have a property in Provincetown that I'm trying to sell, and I hope that it sells soon so that we can live in the Boston area. Also, I'm pretty sure that we'll get married.
Danny: I've always wanted to get married. But he wants me to propose to him and I want him to propose to me.
Scott: I said, "I'll get the house and you get the ring." I'm totally ready for marriage. I figure if I'm not married by now, then I never will get married. I'm old. And I've had the opportunity to get married to other people, but it never quite felt right. Until now.
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