Bentstix moves into Melbourne
It was 11 years ago that the hockey team Bentstix was created. At the time, it became the first gay and lesbian field hockey team in the world.
While Bentstix remains proud of its world-first status, it has also been the source of one of their biggest problems – finding other queer teams to play with.
With Melbourne’s Asia Pacific Outgames only six months away, Bentstix team president Danny Caretti decided to take matters into his own hands to ensure the Sydney team would have competitors at next year’s sporting tournament.
Caretti flew south three weeks ago to head up a recruitment campaign for new hockey players. In the space of one weekend, Bentstix Melbourne was created, and now boasts a membership of 20 players.
“We had a meeting at the Exchange Hotel in South Yarra and we expected about eight people to turn up,” Caretti said. “When 20 people came in and signed up, we thought that was great.”
There are now plans to create a Bentstix team in Auckland, as well as in other Australian capital cities.
“We had such a good response in Melbourne, I think it will now build very quickly,” he said. “The push for everyone is the Outgames. If you have something definite to aim for, there is much more chance of people joining.
“After Outgames, we then hope we can have regular tournaments between Sydney and Melbourne.
“And we have some Kiwis who come over to play with us during the Pink Hockey Championships during Mardi Gras, so we want to move Bentstix into Auckland as well.”
Bentstix Sydney currently boasts a membership of 70 who play in the winter and summer seasons.
It is currently ranked the world’s number one gay and lesbian hockey team, having won the Gold Medal at the 2005 Eurogames.
Caretti said while Bentstix does play in the Sydney suburban competition, he wants to see the creation of a regional queer network of teams.
“Playing each other and the straight teams is fine, but it is not the same as having a regular gay competition in other states,” he said.
“We have an obligation to build it nationally. Hockey is such a great sport and you can play it into your old age.
“The thing about playing other gay teams is it is like you are in a society of people who take care of each other. These Asia Pacific Outgames have really given us the push to build on this.”
For information on how to join Bentstix, go to www.bentstix.com.