Gay Softball Tourney Benefits HIV/AIDS Patients

Palm Springs Winter Classic features 80 teams

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Since its founding in 1991, AIDS Assistance Program (AAP) has watched its client roster grow from 20 to more than 500 patients.

AAP provides meals to low-income people who suffer from HIV or AIDS. Their cause gains a notable shot in the arm from the proceeds raised at the Palm Springs Winter Classic Softball Tournament.

The 22nd edition is set for Feb. 8-10 featuring 80 teams in various divisions of play and hundreds of players from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Local host hotels also will donate 10 percent of that weekend’s proceeds to AAP.

Participating teams are members of the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting LGBT amateur athletics.

Registration and an opening reception will be held from 7-10 p.m. Feb. 8 at Hunter’s Video Bar, 302 E. Arenas Road, in Palm Springs. Players will greet each other and receive their game schedules.

Throughout the weekend, teams will compete on several fields, including Demuth Park in Palm Springs and the Big League Dreams Sports Field in Cathedral City.

“The Winter Classic is always a special event, because many of these players come year after year, so it is really like a reunion for them,” said Vicki Oltean, tournament director. “The players love the terrific desert weather, and we get the chance to help AAP, so it is truly a winning combination.

The Palm Springs Winter Classic Softball Tournament was established in 1991 as a fund-raising event to help offset out-of-town tournament travel expenses for the Desert Heat Softball team members.

For more information, call (760) 323-8277.

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