Serving for a Cause

Madison Gay Volleyball’s Rob Littell credits the league with helping him come into his own.

Who are you and where are you from?

I grew up in a conservative small town in Ohio. After high school, I went to Bowling Green State University for my bachelor’s degree in interpersonal communications with a dual focus in marketing and minority groups. During college, I was very involved with my social fraternity, intramural sports, men’s chorus, marching band, and other student organizations. I moved to Madison eight years ago and currently work in the Life Company for the American Family corporate office. I’m still heavily involved in my fraternity, sing in the Isthmus Vocal Ensemble, and play in the Badgerland Softball League here in Madison.

Growing up, I didn’t know I was gay or even attracted to guys until my sophomore year in college—and even then, I didn’t feel comfortable with who I was. I really feel that I truly came out when I moved to Madison and joined Madison Gay Volleyball (MGV).

How long have you played volleyball?

I started playing in college my freshman year with my fraternity’s intramural teams.

How did you come to be a part of MGV?

I was actually at my gym playing pickup volleyball with some of the players in the league in 2008. They asked me to come check them out, and that was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have met some of my best friends in the league and feel that this helped me find my place in our community.

What roles and/or positions do you play?

My original position when I joined was the director of recruitment/public relations. This year I am currently the season and tournament director.

How does your involvement with the league make a difference in your life?

The league has introduced me to some of my best friends. It has really helped me find my place not only the Madison community, but in the Milwaukee community, as well, where our sister league is located. Being involved in the league gave me the direction I needed to simply be myself and live my life to the fullest.

How does MGV make a difference in the community?

In general, Madison Gay Volleyball gives the LGBTQ community a safe place to go and meet new people with a common interest. Next year, we are planning the return of our Red Day Tournament to raise money for AIDS Network’s ACT Ride. Our previous Red Days have had DJs, live singers, drag shows, raffles, silent auctions, food, and lots of volleyball. We were very successful in our efforts previously and would like to make it bigger to raise even more money for such a good cause. The league is also taking an interest in helping with the fourth annual Madison Gay Pride Tournament that is currently being organized by co-directors Kurtis Hopp, Bill Unrue, and me. Last year, we had around 90 players sign up to play in the tournament, and we would like to make it even bigger this coming year. The tournament takes place on Pride Weekend, with events running from Friday to Sunday for our players. Keep an eye out for more details and sponsorship opportunities.

Does MGV help you/others be your authentic self?

I think being involved in MGV has let me play a sport I love and be myself without judgment. I believe our players can be who they want to be, and if they haven’t found their place in the community, MGV is a perfect way to do so.

What else would you like to share about MGV?

As a league, we want to provide a place of community, where everyone is welcome to come and play regardless of skill level. We really want to provide another option for those people who do or do not frequent the bar scene, but want to do something fun in the LGBTQ community.

Where does the league play?

Our indoor season is being played at Pooley’s on the east side near East Towne Mall on Friday nights starting at 6:30. Our winter season starts January 18 and ends April 5. If you are interested in playing with us, please sign up as an individual or bring a team. 

How can readers learn more?

You can find us on Facebook under Madison Gay Volleyball, check out our website at madisongayvolleyball.com, or e-mail director@madisongayvolleyball.com.

Tim Lom is a member of the Madison Minotaurs rugby club, Wisconsin’s only International Gay Rugby Association and Board team. He’s excited to be contributing to Our Lives and help various members of the sports community have their
voices heard and their stories told.