Looking for something fun and new to do? To make the most of Summer in the City? Why not think about joining one of the largest LGBT sports clubs in the UK?
When I first moved back to London to experience life in the Big City as an adult for the first time (frighteningly some 9 years ago...) I realised very quickly that I would need to put myself out there to create a new LGBT social circle.
I only had straight friends, and family, and was coming out of a long term relationship.
At the same time, I was keen to kick start my love of team sports and researched LGBT sports teams such as basketball, netball and football. I sent off a bunch of emails to various LGBT clubs. Raiders was the only club that responded to me - and a lovely welcoming friendly response it was!
I had never played softball before, but I loved all things American and A League of Their Own. What more did I need to know?
So I rocked up one Sunday to a training session and was met by a grop of people who were expecting me and welcomed new members - even beginners. I was handed a glove and joined straight in. That was 9 years ago...
Since then, I've played regularly on a league team for a number of season, captained teams over several seasons, travelled all over the world to play softball with other LGBT teams, including in Canada, Cologne, Barcelona... won medals, laughed, cried, marched at Pride, drunk too much - and on that very first day I met the woman who would 6 years later become my wife!
As well as the chance to play softball with some amazing players & talent, or at the beginner level, the social side is also a big draw and there are plenty of opportunities to dress up, make some life long friends and expand your social circle.
There's a range of ways to get involved, from Saturday training, to joining one of the 6 weekly playing league teams, to weekend tournament teams that play all over the country (re-defining the meaning of "what happens on tour stays on tour").
So anyway, if you've played before (in particular experienced female players are welcome), or even if you haven't, get yourself to the Meet the Raiders social on 5th March, and then to the first training of the season on Saturday 7th March at Wandsworth Common, if you want a summer filled with fun, friends, drinks and balls...