Bragging rights are on the line at this event that brings the Divine Nine together.
Divine Nine fraternities competing at Darby Park. Photos by Jason Lewis
By Blake Carter
The Divine Nine organizations, which are a group of historically African-American fraternities and sororities, have been competing in just about everything for over 100 years now. At Darby Park in Inglewood, members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. will be going at it on the softball field.
“Black Greek letter organizations were formed to be support networks for black college students more than 100 years ago,” said Daniel Tabor, former mayor of Inglewood and player/coach for Kappa Alpha Psi’s team. Almost immediately friendly competition between these fraternities and sororities took root. The 2017 Frat Softball League continues the tradition of athletic competition for bragging rights in Los Angeles.”
The season has just begun, and there will be games at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. every Sunday through the end of August.
The Kappas are returning to defend their title from last year, but the Alphas, Omegas, and Sigmas will be looking to knock them off and go home with bragging rights.
"It's good to beat your rivals,” said Eric Johnson of Alpha Phi Alpha. “It's like Lakers vs. Celtics. It's a rewarding feeling to see them walk off with their heads down."
As much as it is about bragging rights, these games are bigger than that, as it provides a family environment for the black Greek community.
"It's always good to come together as black men, doing something positive, and everybody having a good time," Johnson said. “It’s a good, fun-filled Sunday. It’s good entertainment through games; both the good parts and the bad parts of the game. The blunders, the trips and falls; some guys in their prime, some past their prime, as they try to win for their organization.”
“I’m looking forward to competing and bringing positive attention to the NPHC (National Pan-Hellenic Council) frats playing together,” said Sidney Jackson, of Phi Beta Sigma.
Like any Divine Nine event, the fraternities and sororities turn this into a party, with a DJ playing music in-between innings or anytime a big play happens on the field, which gives the spectators a reason to stroll. Everybody wears their letters and it is a great opportunity to see old faces from college days. Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc., will also be on hand to enjoy in the festivities. This is a family event, with kids running around as they are in the presence of hundreds of college educated black people.
“You have people that haven’t seen each other in several months, or sometimes years,” Johnson said. “You’ll get line brothers and sisters who are reunited, and different people from different eras of different chapters, who might be 20 or 30 years apart, that can all hang out at the park.”
This event supports the Sportsman Little League Baseball program, which is based at Darby Park. The proceeds from the food sales goes to the program.
“Each year the Frat Games make a material or financial contribution to Sportsman Little League which for the past 11 years has called Darby Park home,” Tabor said. “The league serves 300 plus children ages five to 15 each year with baseball and softball play and instruction. The all volunteer organization has in the past hosted the snack bar during the Frat Games.”
People are also welcome to bring their own food.
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