C. Rodrigo Carrillo played in the annual Gay Softball World Series during 2006-2009, but had to skip the 2010 editionbecause he was getting married during it.
Carrillo and Michael McBride had a wedding ceremony and celebration last Aug. 14 in Chicago, while the gay softball community was tearing it up in Columbus, Ohio.
"My first World Series was in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., in 2006. I was asked to join a [new] team and they played in the C-Division, which was two divisions higher than my [normal division]," Carrillo said. "I was both nervous and excited. I was going as a player and had to leave my manager hat behind. [But] I had such a memorable experience with the team; it was one of my favorite times in softball.
"I also played in the Phoenix Series in 2007 and that was the first time my team played in a Series. We then played in the Seattle Series in 2008, and in Milwaukee in 2009.
"The Series highlights and memories are so many. When I first went to the Series, I went as a player on another team. I was a guest. When I went with my team it was more like a family trip. I always say this, we were a group of people that were made of broken hearts, lonely hearts, and curious hearts. Most of us did not play sports as kids and some of us never played softball. A group of guys and a gal who didn't know each other came together as a team and, in the first year, we won the division [locally] and the championship. Since then, we have become such close great friends that the Series actually helped us get to know each other on different level. There was always one team member hungry, always one who was late, one always sleeping in the car while driving, one chatterbox, but all in all, the Series helped us grow as team members and as a friends."
Carrillo, 35, lives in West Lake View and is a housing counselor for the Spanish Coalition for Housing, a Housing and Urban Development-certified counseling agency. He teaches financial literacy and homebuyer education to the Humboldt Park community.
Carrillo plays left field for Mi Tierra Crush in the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association D-Division. Carrillo's brothers, Sergio and Beto, also play on his softball teamand both are straight.
"I have mixed emotions about the 2011 Gay Softball World Series," Carrillo said. "I am very excited that the World Series is here in Chicago, but I am not looking forward to the fact that the fields are so far away."
The Series will be held Aug. 29-Sept. 3, with games played in suburban Schaumburg, St. Charles and Elmhurst.
"The Series is so much fun and a chance to get to know people from other cities," Carrillo said. "Unfortunately, some World Series were not a great experience due to the fact that most of the time is spent driving to the fields instead of enjoying your time on the field. I am afraid that the Chicago Series may turn into that. I am keeping a positive outlook, though. I am very excited to have the chance to play in the Series here in my hometown. There are those team members who did not, or have not, had the opportunity to go in past years. We're hoping that this year may be the year for them.
"I predict that the Chicago Series 2011 is going to be a great time. There will be winners, losers, and people bitching about our traffic and that long drive. In the end, everyone will be drunk!"