The game of softball got a bit more challenging — yet entertaining — on Saturday at the Glendale Sports Complex as men dressed like nuns zipped across bases in dresses and over-exaggerated eyelashes, all while trying to keep their mock religious headwear from falling off.
Those players made up the L.A. Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence team, which for the second year in a row defeated the West Hollywood Cheerleaders 9-8 in the third annual Drag Queen Softball benefiting Life Group L.A., a local nonprofit dedicated to HIV/AIDS education and emotional support.
“It’s a serious game with a super-light humorous twist,” said Sunnie Rose, executive director of the organization founded in 2005.
This year’s match drew in more than 200 people and raised about $3,500, adding to $15,000 garnered, so far.
Some of the attendees were those who’ve relied on Life Group L.A.’s medical forums and support groups.
Music and colorful commentary blaring through the speakers, raffles and lots of laughs ate up as much of the afternoon as the actual game did.
There was even a break between innings where Nicki Grifka, a West Los Angeles resident, celebrated her bachelorette party by posing for pictures with some of the bat boys who, unlike their counterparts in the majors, spent most of the day shirtless.
But players, who went by drag nickname personas like Mad Madame Adam and Patty Cakes, said they always kept in mind the real goal of the annual event.
“This all comes out of our pockets and our own hearts,” said Sissy Pants, who was playing for the West Hollywood Cheerleaders.
The Cheerleaders donned traditional baseball uniforms, albeit with some additional padding and wigs, and their players claim they had a rougher time getting around the field than the opposing team.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence has been playing softball since the late 1970s, as has Sister Buffy, who is a school teacher by day. They’re known for their colorful dresses, outlandish face-painting designs and their large nun headwear known as cornettes.
“The dresses are great for running because you’re free and easy, but the cornettes can be problematic and at some point, you will see them flying across the field,” Sister Buffy said. “Especially some of our new girls who don’t know how to run with their hand on their head, it’s kind of like the flying nun.”
The Glendale Sports Complex has hosted the softball match the past two years and will likely continue to do so, Rose said.
William Chadwick, a volunteer manning one of the raffle booths, said he’s glad the event has secured a venue outside of West Hollywood, which is home to one of the Southland’s largest LGBT communities.
“This location is bigger … you can bring more people out here,” he said. “People feel like if you just keep it in West Hollywood, it’s just for the gay community, but we want to make it open to everyone, so Glendale is a great spot.”
Follow Arin Mikailian on Twitter: @ArinMikailian.