We love our DC Fray sports leagues, so we’re highlighting players in a new series: Players’ Club. This week, we’re featuring DC Fray superstar Donta Gonzalez. Click here to learn more about our leagues.
The sweet taste of victory, the sharp sting of defeat, the camaraderie of friends — Donta Gonzalez has seen it all while playing kickball for DC Fray, the social sport league in D.C. on a mission to make fun possible. He’s got many Fray t-shirts to prove it.
Now, the affable, upbeat 34-year-old native Marylander, who works in pharmaceutical regulation when not on the field, is trying his hand (and feet) in a new role for Fray: refereeing. Read on to learn more about Donta’s experiences with DC Fray.
District Fray: When and why did you start kickball with DC Fray?
Donta Gonzalez: I started in 2015 as a player. I was coming back to D.C. from New York after college and working. Coming back to this area, I didn’t know anyone. I was super nervous but I just went for it. I started playing on Fray’s Sunday League and then joined the Thursday one. I’ve been playing in both ever since, year round. It’s been a great way to meet people. I’ve met some really good friends, some of my closest, that I still play with. I also play with Stonewall Kickball.
It started as kind of a joke. I literally was doing it just to get out of the house. The rest just happened from there.
After seven years, you must be pretty good?
Fray is an opportunity for players of all levels to get involved. It’s an entryway to either being a great social player, or a good actual player of any sport. I consider myself an intermediate player.
What’s your biggest Fray memory so far?
Our first Thursday League championship game in 2018. My team was super excited to finally make it to a championship game, and we were doing great. We thought we were going to win. The last inning, the last out, we lost. 1-0. We were upset, but at the end of the day, we all knew that we could come back next season and do it all over again. My team is great. We always keep an upbeat attitude. We always enjoy being around each other and competing with other teams.
What’s a typical post-game like?
A lot of friends are in Fray leagues, so my team will watch other people’s games. We just love to cheer each other on, get tips and advice. Then we’ll head over to the host bar (Fray leagues have food and drink specials at bars close to playing fields). Grand Central and Dupont Italian Kitchen are two good places. After a loss, we usually get food because we want to eat our feelings (laughs). We hang, debrief, talk crap with everyone. It’s good to be around everyone because these are relationships you’re growing into. You’re getting to know people, congratulating them on new jobs or opportunities, saying goodbye to people moving away. It’s a great opportunity to be more involved with people.
When did you start refereeing, and what’s that been like?
Earlier this summer. It’s been great. As a ref, you kind of control the league. You can make sure people keep a positive attitude, give them tips and tricks on how to be a better player and boost their confidence if they make mistakes.
Kicking Foot: Right Fielding Position: Third base or left field Neighborhood: Congress Heights Favorite Professional Sports Team: Kansas City Chiefs Favorite Mode of DC Transportation: Scooters! Favorite DC Activity (Besides Kickball): Nothing is better than a D.C. brunch. Favorite spot: Medium Rare. You get everything for one price and it’s bottomless. It’s great. DC Org People Should Know: SYMAL, a really good organization helping area LGBTQ homeless youth.