The Chicago Freeze will make its flag-football debut at Gay Bowl 9, set for Oct. 8-11 in Washington, D.C. The bowl is a 20-team tournament featuring squads from across the United States, including the three-time defending champion New York Warriors.
Though the Freeze will be Chicago's lone participantas opposed to recent years when Chicago has sent two teams to the premiere annual LGBT flag football eventthe team has plenty of championship talent.
Take, for instance, receiver Shon Anderson, a recent transplant from Los Angeles, where he was a three-time Gay Bowl winner. Other experienced Gay Bowl players on the Freeze include receivers James Platt, Andrew Burke and Brian Wilburn, also a recent transplant from Los Angeles.
Dan Shaver and Alvin Ty Law are the Freeze co-captains, and this will be Law's sixth Gay Bowl.
"We held tryouts, and then picked the best players from all of the Chicago teams; we tried to be a little more inclusive in that regard. We wanted good people, not just good players," said Law, 28, a defensive specialist who plays linebacker and receiver. "Though we don't play on the same team [ in the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association league ] , I don't think it's that big of a detriment. We've been practicing since July to build team chemistry.
"I think we have a good shot at winning; I think we're among the top four or five teams out there, along with Los Angeles, Phoenix and others."Read more story below....
The Freezea nickname picked through Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association votingopen play in Gay Bowl 9 against the Silicon Valley Crash, and then face the Salt Lake City Avalanche, which finished second in 2008. Chicago's final game in the seeding round is against South Florida Cat 5.
Teams are then split into a Competitive and Recreational Division for single-elimination play at that point.
"You have to give respect to New York, the team has won the [ Gay Bowl ] the last three years, but we're definitely gunning after them," said Law, who lives in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. "I think we have good depth; our backups are just as good as our starters. That will really help us. Plus, we have big, strong, athletic players.
We'll be disappointed if we don't do really, really well. We want to win it all, and I think we have a good shot at it."
This seems especially true with defensive stars Winston Howard ( middle linebacker ) and Derek Smith ( rusher ) . The team also features quarterback Jim Goodrum and Gil Minor.
Minor, Law and Platt are the only Freeze players who previously played for the Chicago Flames, the Gay Bowl champion in 2005.
The Flames' quarterback and the 2005 Gay Bowl MVP, Will Ward of Chicago, will be playing for the Michigan Panthers.
See www.gaybowl9.net .