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SDAFFL's Rick Cervantes: Why I play

Last year, I joined the San Diego American Flag Football League (SDAFFL).

I wanted to meet new people. I wanted to be a part of a team. I wanted to expand my athleticism.

Being a part of this league has been one of the best experiences of my life and has been so much fun. What I did not realize when I joined the league was that I would be able to participate in activities that give back to the community.

At our games last Saturday, members of the 12 teams that make up the league really did an amazing thing.

Team member after team member showed up with Easter Baskets that were to be donated to the LGBT Community Easter Egg Hunt the following day. Many teams spent countless hours (and money) buying and creating baskets -- some even canceled their weekly practices to have "basket making parties."

It was a true testament to the fact that our league can really come together to make a difference and be more than just a group of guys (and some ladies) who play the sport and celebrate afterwards.

Last year, my team, The Stonewall Sirens, decided to do a "good deed" as a team by gathering some Easter baskets to donate. We thought it was the right thing to do, and knew that collectively, we could make an impact on the success of the Trolley Park Community Easter Egg Hunt. As a team, we collected and made over 25 baskets.

Thanks to our new league commissioner Mike Paganelli, our team activity was expanded league-wide this year. I really appreciate Mike's commitment to taking the league to the next level and ensuring that we give back to the community that has given so much to us.

We are all a group of people who have the resources to be able to give back, but so many of my fellow leaguemates don't know where to go to find such an outlet.

Since we are all so engaged in the league, it is a pleasure that we can use this energy to do good.

This year, the SDAFFL donated over 300 Easter Baskets to the Community Easter Egg Hunt which made a huge impact on that program, and most importantly, the kids in the community. I look forward to the league continuing to participate in community activities as time goes on.

Many of us, including me, signed up to play for so many different reasons ... but we have come out of it with so much more!

I am proud to be a part of the SDAFFL!

Ricky Cervantes is an LGBT and Chicano community activist who dabbles in flag football, music, and writing - especially through his Tumblr blog, "Pura Vida." Originally from Lodi, Ca, Ricky moved to San Diego in 2006 to attend San Diego State University. He is now working on a masters degree from National University in Social Transformation & Community Development. He hopes to use his education and experiences to empower the next generation of LGBT activists to take leadership roles in the community.