Barrett A. Solorio has been playing gay sports for almost five years, first starting in the Stonewall Kickball League, and has since also competed in dodgeball, flag football, soccer, volleyball and bowling.
"At first, I was scared on a team [because I] didn't know anyone. I was a little afraid that I might mess up, affecting the team. Luckily I had a great team that was understanding; I played well and flourished," said Solorio, who was born and raised in Southern California and has called Chicago home for about the past six years.
"In the beginning, [gay sports] were just a good way to meet new people and a great way to stay active. Now this is my sport family."
Solorio, 35, who lives in Chicago's Lake View neighborhood, is a patient access specialist at Northwestern Medical.
Sports isn't just about winning and losing to Solorio. Rather, "knowing that the team had a good time is my highlight," he said. "Gay sports have become more diverse within our community and other surrounding communities."
Solorio once dressed in drag for a football team charity event, his first time performing in drag. "I had blast putting on a show and raising money," he said.
"What a lot of people don't know about me is, I used to be very shy. [Participating in] gay sports have helped me break out of my shell."
Solorio's sporting bucket list includes archery and water polo, he said.
Extra Innings with … Barrett A. Solorio
Favorite pro sports team: Green Bay Packers
Favorite pro athlete: Dominik Koll
Favorite pro sports stadium: Lake Elsinore Storm Stadium in California
Athlete Barrett would like to meet: Dominik Koll
Who is Dominik Koll?: Koll is an Austrian former swimmer, now 34, who is a two-time Olympian, a 41-time national titleholder and is openly gay. Koll made his Olympic debut at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, and then participated at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
One sporting event/game Barrett would like to attend: The Winter and Summer Olympics."
Regarding the LGBT community...: "I try to volunteer as much as I can."