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Football was the last nail in the co n of my last
relationship -- apparently staying out to watch the
World Cup during our last-ditch, quality-time week-
end was really taking the piss. Consequently if I was
to get out of my anti-social rut it was time to get out
of the house and nd some people with similar inter-
ests... cue e Flying Bats football club in Sydney.
Celebrating their 25th anniversary and with more
than 90 registered players, the Flying Bats is the world's
largest lesbian soccer club, with ve competing teams.
It's not bad going in a country where league and AFL
dominate the spectator sports markets.
President Dan Warby attributes the club's success
to a combination of factors -- the popularity of wom-
en's soccer, the social aspect and the inclusive nature
of the Bats. "I joined to make friends outside the pubs
and clubs," she says, adding "I'm pretty rubbish at
motivating myself to exercise so being a part of a team
sport keeps me in line."
And she's not the only one, many of the players say
they joined for the social nature of the group as well
as the football. "We organise all sorts of events and
nights out, everything from trivia to weekends away,"
says Warby. "A lot of our members are into all sorts of
other activities, so there's always something on."
Oddly the idea for the Sydney club originated in
Adelaide, before some of the founding members
moved to the New South Wales capital. Warby is
quick to pay tribute to the women who pioneered the
association. " e idea was to give lesbians a safe place
to play soccer. Homophobia was more of a problem
then and the rst Bats fought hard to get the club to
where it is today."
A quarter of a century later, the club continues to
expand. It's entirely run by volunteers and supported
by gay and lesbian businesses. Warby is hoping to
form a youth team this year and for the rst time the
Bats are heading overseas to participate in the tenth
gay games in Cologne. "It's about spreading Batties
love, all those women in Germany need to know
about us," she jokes. e Bats are also supporting
other teams trying to make the trip to Europe. ey
donated uniforms to e Chosen Few, South Africa's
lesbian football club, in the hopes of facing o against
the girls from Johannesburg on the pitch in Cologne.
" ere aren't actually that many lesbian soccer teams
around, and they don't seem to stick around for very
long," she says. "Hopefully we can build up a network
where the girls from di erent teams can stay in touch
and share experiences..."
Nicky Breen goes soccer mad.
The Gay Games take place in Cologne from
July 31 - August 6. For more info visit games-
cologne.de. For more information on the Bats go
to the yingbats.com.
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