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Missouri Valley / St. Louis

Team Saint Louis Takes on Love Wins Tournament

Josh Sellmeyer | May 28, 2021

 

Scott Stringer was introduced to Team Saint Louis (TSL) in 2007 when a friend invited him to a pickup kickball game. Stringer proceeded to join a kickball league, which kickstarted a 15-year journey of involvement that led Stringer to become president of TSL in November 2020.

 

 

 

Alongside kickball, Team Saint Louis’s other primary sports are cycling and volleyball, the latter of which Stringer participates in and helps run. But Stringer and Team Saint Louis — an all-inclusive sports and social activities organization with a focus on the LGBTQ community — have their sights set on repositioning the group, with an expansion into tennis. 

 

 

 

“Team Saint Louis is about bringing people together and being able to provide sports and activities everyone could participate in, regardless of sexual orientation or their capabilities even,” Stringer said. “It’s just to bring inclusiveness and togetherness regardless of who you love or what your beliefs are. It’s that common denominator of playing a sport or going to an activity, which brings everybody together.”

 

 

 

 

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Stringer said historically Team Saint Louis hasn’t had a significant tennis presence, but that is set to change this year. The organization is taking over coordination of the Love Wins tennis and pickleball tournament, a fun event that doubles as a fundraiser with proceeds going to local LGBTQ organizations.

 

 

 

 

“We like giving back, which is an important part of our culture,” Stringer said. “It’s not just that we want to offer sports and social activities for our community. We also feel it’s important to give back  — whether it be monetary donations or through volunteerism.”

 

Photos courtesy of Love Wins Tournament - Dave Tedoni

 

 

While Team Saint Louis initially hoped to run the Love Wins event in conjunction with Pride Month — which takes place annually in June — the tournament is now tentatively slated to occur  September 18 at Tower Grove Park in conjunction with the Tower Grove Pride festival, which is scheduled a week after that on September 25. The Tower Grove Pride festival was rescheduled from its original date in June due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. 

 

 

 

Stringer and Team Saint Louis recognize the popularity of tennis, as well as pickleball in the St. Louis metro area and are looking forward to the prospects of bringing those sports under the umbrella of their offerings. While TSL hosts a popular LGBTQ volleyball tournament each year, the Love Wins event will be the first-ever tennis tournament the organization has directed.

 

 

“We see this as an opportunity to expand upon our sports offerings as well as continuing on a tradition that does something really good for the LGBTQ community,” Stringer said. “We’re hoping to use this as kind of a transition period and have the former [Love Wins tournament] organizers assist us with this tournament in the hopes of carrying it on ourselves.”

 

 

 

While details pertaining to the Love Wins tournament are still being ironed out, individuals interested in getting involved can email info@teamsaintlouis.org with questions or for additional information. You can find more information about the organization by visiting https://www.teamsaintlouis.org/

 

 

 

Stringer said Team Saint Louis additionally hopes to hold introductory tennis and pickleball classes for beginning adult players. Details on those programs should come in late June, early July. 

 

 

 

In addition to sports, Team Saint Louis is expanding into social activities — Stringer used examples like camping or attending an opera performance — for individuals who may not be sports-inclined.

 

 

 

 

Team Saint Louis also partners with local organizations to get members involved in sports and activities TSL may not operate itself. Stringer said that’s the case with sports and activities such as softball, rugby, bowling or darts. Stringer found his niche when he started involvement with Team Saint Louis a decade and a half ago, and he’s hoping to assist others in doing the same.

 

 

 

 

“It’s working for an organization I believe in and supporting the LGBTQ community,” Stringer said. “It’s just my way of being able to give back. That’s mainly the reason why I do it. It’s to be able to help others and support an organization that allows me to have fun and become part of the community.”

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