By Ross Forman

More than 1,100 LGBT volleyball players from around the world, including some former Division I college players, will be in Chicago May 22-24 for the 27th annual North American Gay Volleyball Association Championships.

About 135 teams are expected, with about eight players per team, for play in four divisions.

“The tournament is a lot of fun, a pure social event with competitiveness mixed in. It’s kind of like a circuit party, just without the club and music, and volleyballs galore instead,” said Chad Carroll, of Chicago, who serves as the event’s co-chairman.
Players will range in age from 18 to 60, and about 10 teams are expected at the top division (AA). The Hermosa (Calif.) Beaches are the pre-tourney favorite to win the elite league.
“The NAGVA Championship is a wrap up to the 27th season ala the annual Gay Softball World Series,” Carroll said. “The level of play at the top division is very, very good.”
Participants will be coming from across the U.S., as well as Vancouver, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
About 95% of the participants are male, Carroll said, and he said that at least 95 percent of the participants are gay.
NAGVA is one of the nation’s largest LGBT sports organizations with more than 5,000 members. A group of eight cities, Chicago being one of those eight, helped form NAGVA in 1980 and NAGVA hosted its first Championship tournament in 1982.
This year’s event is hosted by the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association (CMSA), the largest non-profit LGBT sports organization in the Midwest, boasting over 2,600 members.