This is a guest blog post from Marc D. a competitor in the Gay Games IX hosted in Cleveland, Ohio earlier this summer.
Gay Games IX was held in Cleveland and Akron, OH August 9-16. The city was selected in 2009 by the Federation of Gay Games (FGG), winning out over Boston and Washington, DC. I was part of the group from Boston that worked to create our bid and when Cleveland was selected many of us were extremely disappointed, since there were numerous examples of their bid process not following the established guidelines. However, I don’t want to go into that – it’s water under the bridge at this point – but I did want to share my experiences as a competitor at Gay Games IX.
I was fortunate to be part of the gold-medal winning flag football team – the MassMutual Blue – but that competition was an example of why I would believe Cleveland was a poor choice as a host city. The term ‘destination city’ was heard a lot but the problem is Cleveland is not a destination city. As a result, fewer people attended these games; flag football and softball only had 3 teams each in the A/B division; 4 in C; 10 in D; and 2 in the women’s division, etc. By contrast, Boston hosted a softball tournament over the 4th of July weekend that included nearly 40 teams in 2 divisions – twice as many as participated in Cleveland.
I don’t have official numbers but heard that approximately 6,000 participants were on hand; compared to approximately 10,000 from the two prior Gay Games I attended (2002 in Sydney and 2006 in Chicago). Regardless of the actual number, I had expected to see people everywhere we went – this is supposed to be the largest LGBT sporting event in the world – yet downtown Cleveland, where I stayed, was very quiet. So while winning a gold medal was very rewarding, especially since the team we beat hadn’t lost any of its 4 prior games, the fact remains that it was a very small flag football tournament. The same can be said for many of the other sports; it was a poorly attended Games and that’s disappointing. I wanted to feel that we were making an impact and that just did not happen.
Fortunately it looks like the Federation of Gay Games has learned their lesson and have picked Paris has the host city for Gay Games 10 in 2018. I’m already making my plans already and hope to see you there.
About the author: Marc D. is a non-profit development professional who lives in Boston and has a passion for sports.
I’m not much of a football fan so I’m a few days behind on the ESPN Michael Sam controversy. If you are wondering what I’m talking about, I’m referring to ESPN journalist, Josina Anderson, who reported responses on Sports Center, after she inquired how Michael Sam’s teammates are reacting to having a gay player in their locker room and even more disconcerting – the shower!
This so called ‘controversy’ is reminiscent the dumb comments made by those who were opposed to letting female journalists in team locker rooms after games. Everyone quickly figured out this wasn’t a big deal, and I’m hopeful we’ve now come to the same conclusion about gay athletes in the locker room.
Having athletes like Michael Sam come out at the start of their career rather than after they’ve retired is a significant milestone for the LGBT community. Without a doubt there will be future controversies regarding gay athletes but one expects inane comments from athletes, coaches, owners, etc… who may be uncomfortable with the idea of having a gay teammate – not ESPN or the media.
Blogger, Viv Bernstein, writes a bit more about this controversy and the recent history of the media’s obsession with gay men showering in locker rooms in her post, Michael Sam, The Media and That Shower Question.
Normally when I write about baseball it is about my Boston Red Sox. However, I read a story in Huffington Post about Equality Illinois hosting what I believe to be the first LGBT “Night Out” to see the Chicago White Sox.
The evening has apparently drawn some mean spirited comments from some White Sox fans so I wanted to voice my support for the LGBT Pride Night and encourage anyone who might read my blog and live in Chicago to enjoy the evening. For more information about the evening and to purchase tickets link here.
If you happen to be watching this season of SYTYCD you are already familiar with the beautiful (but very tough judge) Misty Copeland. Misty is best known as a soloist ballerina for the American Ballet Theatre, but this new commercial from Under Armor is sure to increase her fame and change people’s perception of ballet. More than an art form, Under Armour’s commercial showcases the beautiful athleticism of ballet in their new I Will I Want ad campaign.
In addition to the inspirational message of never giving up, perhaps it will inspire you to check out Boston Ballet’s 2014-2015 season. Information about performance dates and tickets can be found online here.
I’m sure nearly every gay man who reads this blog is familiar with the Warwick Rowers in the UK who for the past few years have been posing naked and selling calendars in an attempt to draw attention to homophobia in sport. Proceeds they raise go to sportallies.org; a group dedicated to promoting inclusion and challenging homophobia through sport.
While the video and calendar these guys produce is NSFW – their cause is most worthwhile so I wanted to let you know that they have kicked off their crowdfunder campaign for their 2015 calendar.
If inclined, I’d direct you to warwickrowers.org/crowdfunder.
If you liked the video you may want to do some shopping on their website. Remember that the proceeds go to fight homophobia in sport, warwickrowers.org/shop.
Thanks to Lambert Rahming for bringing this to my attention.
Australian swimmer, Ian Thorpe, recently admitted he is gay in an interview in his home, Australia. In addition to being gay he also happened to break 22 world records, win 5 gold – 3 silver – 1 bronze medal at the Olympic Games. Welcome to the family Ian. I’m proud to have you on our team.
Last week the website, Jezebel, had an article that was brought to my attention called Men’s sports uniforms ranked.
Perhaps the author wrote it best, “The World Cup has presented us with lots of excuses to gaze upon Thighlights, but are soccer uniforms really the most awesome uniforms in the sporting world?”
Check out Dodai’s compilation of the best men’s sports uniforms here.