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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 15, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 37
Dug Sharpe's remarks on being inducted into the NAGAAA Hall of Fame
Section One
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Dug Sharpe's remarks on being inducted into the NAGAAA Hall of Fame

Last week when Emerald City Softball Association's Dug Sharpe was inducted into the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association's Hall of Fame at the start of the 2017 NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series held in Portland, Oregon, he shared the following remarks:

Thank you, Frank. Thank you to the members of the Hall of Fame. Thank you to Rick and Steve, the owners of R place in Seattle, who have been longtime supporters of the Emerald City Softball Association. Thank you to my husband, Conner Sharpe. Thanks to my mother, Catherine Sharpe, who are here with me tonight.

In 1995 my best friend Mike Farris, a 320-pound man with no actual softball experience, and I decided to try out for a softball team in Seattle. We went to the tryout, and afterwards we got the phone call. They said, 'Dug, we'd like you to play on our team, but we don't have a place for that fat guy. There's no room in our league for him.'

Well, we weren't buying it. So Mike and I created our own team, and we went 0 and 27 that year. Twenty-seven games and we got 10, 20 and 50 run-ruled. (Yes, we actually once lost to the best team 52-4.) But we kept going. Mike found his confidence. Mike found spirit, and Mike found his voice. He walked around Seattle and told people, 'If I can do this, you can do this.' He eventually went on to become the commissioner of our league, and not only did he find places for everyone to play, he went on to be a creator and founder of the Quake rugby team in our city as well. He's a Hall of Fame member, and he's found homes and places for people to play organized gay, lesbian, transgender sports in Seattle for hundreds of people.

In 2001, I got an email from a woman from the University of Washington. She emailed and told me that she was on the verge of suicide and she needed a friend, she needed a family, she needed a place to play. We told her that we would find her a place, and we did. Sara Michelle Fetters was that person. And she's amazing. That year, she was the MVP of our C Division. She took a team to the World Series. The next year she was the Rookie of the Year of our B Division. She has coached tons of teams in our league. She has been a pioneer, she has been an inspiration and she's in our Hall of Fame - and she's currently still playing 16 years later in the B Division here at this World Series. [applause]

In 2006 Frank Pichinini called me and asked if I'd be part of the board to help bring the gay softball World Series to Seattle. Now Frank and I had always been adversaries before this. We came at things from very different sides of what softball was. I came from 'everyone should have a place to play. There should be a place for everyone.' Frank came from more of a strategic place, a more competitive place than I ever was. And during the two years where we built the World Series to come to Seattle, he taught me how to get along with people who don't share my vision. He taught me how to be better person, as an individual; he taught me to be a better professional at my job.

So tonight, it is an honor to be inducted into this Hall of Fame. However, I will tell you that the true honor is to be part of an organization, an international community, an international family, where I can be friends, colleagues, and part of a family with people like Mike Farris and Sara Fetters and Frank Pichinini and know that every single one of our cities and local organizations has a Mike and a Sara and a Frank [applause] and we know that THEY are the real reason for our greatness.

So I thank you for this honor, and I'm honored and privileged to be part of this excellent community, sportsmanship, and acceptance. Thank you very much.

Congratulations, Dug, on being recognized for your leadership, sportsmanship and team spirit!

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