Play ball with AFL stars this Midsumma
Midsumma’s new festival champion Jason Ball is leading the charge to create a gay and inclusive AFL team.
Ball joins MP Louise Wall who led New Zealand’s recent move to marriage equality as the annual LGBTI festival's new champions.
Midsumma recently introduced the honorary role of Festival Champion partly to recognise people who have made a significant contribution to the GLBTI communities.
Chair of Midsumma Aaron Hockly told MCV they were very proud to have such prominent supporters of the GLBTI communities as the face of Midsumma in 2014.
“Louisa Wall is a community leader, a former international sportsperson, a champion for women and the GLBTI communities and was the driving force behind New Zealand’s recent move to marriage equality. Jason is well known in Australia primarily for his successful change.org petition to have the AFL screen anti-homophobia ads during the 2012 finals round,” Hockly said.
“Both Jason and Louisa have shown tenacity in their challenge to 'clubs”'shutting GLBTI people out and both were ultimately successful not as outsiders but as insiders who were able to build strong support for their respective causes from their teammates, colleagues and the wider community.”
Making an appearance today to promote the Midsumma ‘Immerse Yourself' logo appearing on trams around the city, Ball told MCV that next year’s festival will also see the beginnings of a gay and inclusive AFL team at Midsumma’s annual sports day.
Team Melbourne are working towards establishing an AFL team with a longer-term view of holding a Rainbow Cup and starting the ball rolling at Midsumma.
Jason Ball said that Team Melbourne’s Midsumma 2014 sports day will feature a demonstration event as part of the sports choices offered where people will be able to come and try AFL.
Ball said they are partnering with AFL 9s, a new AFL styled game where teams of nine players allow for people of all ages and ability levels to participate.
“It’s a type of touch football and is really good for beginners to get involved in AFL,” Ball said.
“And we will be getting some AFL players there. Brock McLean has already said he is keen to be involved.
“The Team Melbourne Midsumma sports day represents all of the sports like rugby, soccer, rowing, running so its’ an opportunity for anyone to come and try any sport in a gay friendly environment.
“And now we can AFL to that list which is awesome.”
Team Melbourne’s third annual ‘come and try’ sports day will be on Saturday February 1 at Footscray Park. Information: teammelbourne.org.au