They saying "Everything is bigger in Texas" rang true in the enthusiasm and good times demonstrated by the participants of the Texas Capitol Classic held in Austin July 7-8, 2012.
The Texas Capitol Classic was the beginning of National Gay Basketball Association’s plan to promote and host micro 12-team tournaments in order to give more cities the opportunity to host and more regional players to play in tournaments. The evening events in Austin provided the players with opportunities to spend time building friendships and rekindling old ones.
Austin played host to 12 teams from around the country, including the first-time appearance of teams representing the Dallas Gay Basketball Association -- the Dallas Hotshotz and the Dallas Ballers. The tournament also hosted the first predominately female, co-ed team, the OC Lady Huskies from Orange County.
Seth Labay shoots in the Austin Venom vs. LA Dream game | photo credit: Chase Martin/therepubliq
The games began at 9 AM Saturday, with 6 of the 12 teams hitting the court at the Austin Sports Center. The round-robin format saw teams in different registered divisions play against one another, leading to some blowouts and an upset. The high level of play by the SF Rockdogs and the LA Dream in the first round set the standard for the level of play it would take to reach the upper division finals. In the competitive division the Dallas teams arrived with great energy and support for one another; their cheers rang out through the complex fostering a feeling of camaraderie throughout the gym and giving credence to the NGBA motto of "More Than Basketball". It was a reminder to all how basketball is just an excuse for us to get together.
The tournament elimination rounds began at 9 AM on Sunday, with teams being placed in the upper, middle and lower divisions based on Saturday’s round-robin standings. The top seed in the upper division was earned by the LA Dream, followed by the SF Rockdogs, New York and the Austin Venom. The middle division was lead by the Dallas Hotshotz, followed by the Dallas Ballers, the LA Metrostars, and Spin-Showtime. In the recreation division, Austin AGBL was the top seed, followed by the OC Lady Huskies, the Austin Flames and the Sacramento 916ers.
In the championship game in the recreation division the OC Lady Huskies avenged their overtime defeat by the Austin AGBL in their round-robin game to win the championship. The LA Metrostars rebounded from a tough 0-3 round-robin start to win the middle division championship by beating Spin-Showtime. The SF Rockdogs fought off a furious comeback by the LA Dream to win the upper division championship.
The weekend's events began on Thursday night with an early registration party held at Muscle Maker Grill, owned by tournament co-sponsor Matt DeLeon. Muscle Maker Grill provided registrants with tasty and healthy pasta and rice chicken dishes, along with an open bar with a variety of beverages. Following the early registration party the crowned migrated over to The Iron Bear, where participants received discounted drinks, danced to hip-hop music and played pool before heading down to Austin's Warehouse District.
The Friday night registration at Rain on 4th hosted by the Austin Gay Basketball League quickly filled up with over 80 tournament players and their friends, congregating and enjoying VIP service from the staff. On Saturday afternoon, following the basketball games, players were shuttled on a party bus to a house pool party hosted by original SF Rockdogs co-founder Alex Herrera and his partner, Jeff. Alex and Jeff welcomed players with a catered Mexican food buffet and margarita machine, which was just the right touch for players to relax and mingle with one another. Before the event ended players gave a moment of silence in remembrance of Stephen Chambers, who passed away in May of this year. He was a player and captain of the All City Ballers.
A memorable moment occurred when the party bus sat for 5 minutes blocking the entrance to the hotel driveway, with speakers blasting "Who Rules the World" by Beyoncé and players singing, dancing and cat-walking in the aisle.
The closing party took place at Oilcan Harry's, where players were again given VIP status. NGBA thanks Brent Garza and Matt DeLeon, who put together an enjoyable and memorable weekend for all those who participated. NGBA will host the next tournament in Ft Lauderdale, Florida, on October 12-13, 2012. Register early, as space is limited.