Jon Hoppel gets a kick in during regulation play with the Charlotte Royals rugby team. Photo Credit: Alex Aguilar

This being our LGBT Sports in the South issue, we thought we would check in with someone who should be familiar to many of you from stories he has written for us in the past on the topic. Look for him at local sporting events and perhaps on a big screen someday, if they ever get around to finishing a certain would-be horror trilogy. We can always hope!

Are you from Charlotte? If not, where are you from and what brought you here?
I was born in Missouri, but grew up in Florence, S.C. I started dating my boyfriend while I was in college, and he lived in Charlotte. We moved to North Carolina after graduating.

What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I once won a walk-on role for “Blair Witch 3.” Sadly, they never made the movie.

What’s your favorite food?
Bread. All types of bread. And the steamed pork dumplings from Wan Fu.

What’s your favorite time of day?
Early evening, just before sunset.

What’s your favorite sport to play?
Basketball

What’s your favorite sport to watch?
Basketball

Jon Hoppel is the last remaining original Charlotte Royals player and continues to enjoy the sport. Photo Credit: Zechariah Sanders
Jon Hoppel is the last remaining original Charlotte Royals player and continues to enjoy the sport.
Photo Credit: Zechariah Sanders

What’s your favorite sports memory from when you played?
Winning the Under 19 State Championship in soccer in South Carolina.

What’s your favorite sports memory as a fan/viewer?
Going to old Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh and watching a double header against the Mets for my first Major League Baseball game.

I understand you play for the Charlotte Royals Rugby team. How did you join the team?
I joined the team in 2004, the year the team was founded. I did not play rugby until moving to Charlotte. I’m the last original player from that first year.

What do you get out of being on the team?
There’s a great camaraderie that comes with a rugby team. It’s a very physical game, so you have to have a lot of trust in your teammates. We will be going to Nashville [during] Memorial Day weekend to play in the Bingham Cup, the biggest international rugby tournament in the world.

Do you play on any other teams?
I also play softball with a team out of Knoxville, Tenn. We came in fifth out of 65 teams in the Gay Softball World Series last year in Columbus, Ohio.

Jeff Taylor / Social Media Editor

Jeff Taylor is a journalist and artist. In addition to QNotes, his work has appeared in publications such The Charlotte Observer, Creative Loafing Charlotte, Inside Lacrosse, and McSweeney’s Internet...