Field of Dreamers: Recreational Sports Outside the Gender Binary
May 18, 2021
How do we imagine recreational sports outside of the gender binary and the forms of toxic masculinity that often permeate these spaces? The Field of Dreamers Cooperative Softball Association and Sqwish recreational basketball drop in have been asking these questions for the last 5 years in Toronto. This panel will discuss the basics of creating queer and non-binary sports leagues, the political work of recreational sports, and the need for municipalities to re-imagine adult recreation post-pandemic.
Sam Toman is a local writer and founder of the design collaboration TryCities. He’s written for the Globe and Mail, Macleans, The Star, The Economist and several less-flashy but more-fun publications. Working as Communications Officer in the Faculty of Environment he promotes equity and sustainability work by some of the sharpest minds anywhere. To be honest, he’s not super happy with the Region these days. Follow him @MidtownKW where he punches up.
Craig Fortier is an Assistant Professor in Social Development Studies at Renison University College. Craig is a Co-Commissioner with the Field of Dreamers Cooperative Softball Association and has played short-stop and centre field for the Humber River Hustle, Rouge River Blush, and Credit River Care Bears. They are the author of Unsettling the Commons: Social Movements Within, Against, and Beyond Settler Colonialism as well as several articles on baseball history.
LJ Robinson is a designer and illustrator who has been creating communications for resistance in Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto for the past 12 years. They never found a place in team sports as a kid but are now a founding member and Co-Commissioner of the Field of Dreamers Cooperative Softball Association.
Amina Mohamed is the Women’s Community Program Coordinator at PASAN. She provides education, advocacy, programming and case management to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women living with HIV. In addition she is a lead artist-facilitator with Confluence Arts Collective. With Confluence, Amina facilitates artistic creation programs in prisons and transitional residences. Amina is the co-founder of Sqwish, a weekly queer drop-in basketball night.
Mingus is a queer artist who spends his time between digital creation and community organization. In the recent past, Mingus has co-organized Sqwish, a weekly drop-in basketball night centred around queer people; cofounded Club Quarantine, a virtual community space created to foster queer community during the pandemic; co-organized community-funded cottage retreats for Black queer folks throughout last summer; and co-facilitated a Halloween candy drive in partnership with Mutual Aid Parkdale to safely deliver candy to kids in response to COVID-19. Mingus is an advocate for marginalized people in STEM, most recently collaborating on an Input article about racism within the Instagram filter community.
A Field of Dreamers on Stolen Land – Practices of Unsettling on the Recreational Softball Diamonds of Tkaronto
Journal of Sport History, Volume 46, Number 2, Summer 2019, pp. 302-317
The game of baseball and the diamond upon which it is played function within North American society to stabilize settler colonial identities and processes. This paper draws on ethnographic research of the Field of Dreamers Cooperative Softball Association in Toronto, Ontario, to explore how this recreational softball league attempts to create radical spaces of play within, against, and beyond the dominant power structures that govern social relations in a settler colonial context. This study describes the practices and processes by which the league works to unsettle their spaces of play from the national myths of baseball history and settler futurity. It also reflects on the Field of Dreamers’ endeavors to create relationships
and practices that acknowledge the territories on which they play while disrupting social relations that often exclude people from organized sports and public space.
Exploring the Radical Possibilities of Recreational Sports
September 4, 2018 – Talking Radical Radio by Scott Neigh
Beyond creating a great space to enjoy softball, Field of Dreamers is also, integrally, a radical political project. It is a way for people who are otherwise occupied by the stresses of activism, organizing, and just surviving in an expensive city like Toronto to find nourishment, relaxation, and fun. It is a space for those who participate to experiment outside of the intensity of activism and organizing with ways of working together that reflect values of justice and liberation, and with creating cultures of care that our movements so desperately need but so often lack. And its a way to intervene politically in the realm of sport, which is so often just abandoned by radicals today.
Check out this issue of Shameless Magazine for an interview that talks about the origins of our league!