A sporting history
Surprisingly, the Sydney Outfielders were started by a group of footballers known as the "Proud Open and Out Footballers Touch Association," or POOFTAs.
In 1998, the Gay Games were held in Europe for the first time. With an estimated quarter of a million people from all over the world in attendance, our footballers didn't want to miss the opportunity to be a part of the celebration and excitement. Touch football was not part of the Amsterdam Gay Games V competition calendar, so the POOFTAs decided to enter as a softball team.
With hardly any experience, the team rallied together with an enthusiastic spirit and carried their wooden bats into the diamond to the momentous roar of the watching crowds. And although they didn't win a medal, they did end up establishing Sydney's first gay and lesbian softball team.
On their return, the now named Sydney Outfielders entered into the Sydney Eastern Suburbs Slow-pitch competition. Again their enthusiasm and competitive nature shone through, and in only two seasons they placed first and third in the competition.
Spirit of the Outfielders
The Libby Stowe Perpetual Trophy
In the 2007/08 season, the Sydney Outfielders introduced the Libby Stowe Perpetual Trophy in honour and memory of Libby Stowe, who founded the Pink Mitts softball team. The trophy is awarded each year to the winner of the competition and a plaque with the team's name is added to the trophy.
Libby played with sportsmanship and truly embodied the spirit of the game. This award reminds teams to keep those values in mind when they play each season.
A few words from a former captain of the Pink Mitts
"For those who never had the pleasure of meeting Libby, you truly missed out on meeting someone very special. Before Outfielders, Libby put a team together for the 2002 Sydney Gay Games, attracting players from Australia, USA, Switzerland and UK. During the week of the games, Libby was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her determination, fighting spirit, wonderful sense of humour and gentle sportsmanship inspired her team to a bronze medal for the competition.
Pink Mitts was created just after the Gay Games as the girls were desperately wanting to play more softball and for the spirit of the team to continue.
Libby’s involvement in the first year was interrupted only intermittently by her chemotherapy (she did play when she felt up to it) and suffering from the effects of chemo - Incredibly courageous for someone who was recovering from having one whole breast removed considering the amount of batting/throwing involved in the game.
Libby passed away in January, 2006, and I feel it would be appropriate to name a Trophy in her honour for the spirit of how she was in the world, embodies the type of competition we as a sporting group (Outfielders) are trying to create in competition – that being inclusiveness, togetherness, support, fun, enabling and constructive.
Libby’s warmth, openness and friendliness created a sense of inclusiveness in the team. She had a gift in making people feel comfortable in being themselves which invited people’s active involvement and engagement with playing and having fun, and as a result, improving their game. I guess her main goal though was to encourage people and make them feel comfortable. She did all this with a generosity of spirit and wonderful sense of humour."
“Libby had an open heart and was incredibly warm, generous, intuitive, insightful and supportive – and very funny – she would crack me up with her insights and humour. She has this funny knack of ‘mis-hearing’ what people said – one classic was in the Sydney games, someone commented that in running to first base they had ‘corked their thighs’. Libby misheard this as ‘porked their thighs’ which then led her onto how we might need to marinate them to make them better, or that we better put some sunscreen on them, otherwise they would end up as crackling, etc. - funny segues that I loved which then became a part of the team dialect.”