Grizzlies prepare to defend title, raise funds for other community groups

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The Nashville Grizzlies started their season this year with one goal in mind: defend their 2008 Bingham Cup win.

The Bingham Cup is a biannual international, non-professional, gay rugby union tournament, first held in 2002. The tournament was named after Mark Bingham, a gay man and former University of California – Berkeley rugby star who died in the Sept.11  attacks on board United Airlines Flight 93.

In 2008, the Grizzlies traveled to Dublin, Ireland, and competed against gay rugby teams from across the United States and Europe — and came home division winners. Now, with the 2010 Bingham Cup slated for June 17-20 in Minneapolis, the Grizzlies want to be in top form. And in order to get there, Grizzlies President Jon Glassmeyer decided it was time to up the ante.

“The Grizzlies voted to play in the Mid-South divisional matrix this spring," Glassmeyer said. "This puts the team up against teams we would normally not play (i.e. straight teams).  We did this to show our commitment to rugby in the Mid-South area and to move ourselves to a higher level of play in preparation for the Bingham Cup in June.  So far our record is 1-3, but each time we play everyone watching — coaches, referees, and fans — have seen our abilities increase.” 

Over the next couple of months, the Grizzlies also have a busy fundraising schedule in addition to practices and games. Those efforts began March 26 at Tribe, and will include a yard sale on Saturday, April 10, at 1414 Eastland Avenue; Grizzlies Night at Play on Friday, April 23; and a car wash at the Lipstick Lounge sometime in May.

In addition, Glassmeyer said, the Grizzlies will continue their goals of helping other groups in Nashville.

The group will have a booth at the Metro Nashville Softball Association’s spring opener on Sunday April 11, will be host the Gerst Haus restaurant on Tuesday, April 27, as part of Nashville CARES’ Dining Out for Life benefit, will usher for Nashville in Harmony at their spring concert on Saturday, May 22 and will host a roller skating event in June to support Nashville Pride.

For more information, visit grizzliesrugby.org.