Meet Gay Games organizers Monday at Woody's

Team Dallas organizer Jere Becker
Team Dallas organizer Jere Becker

In Friday’s paper, we ran a news brief about two Gay Games representatives from Cologne, Germany, site of the 2010 event, coming to Dallas to talk about the games and make a presentation.

CEO Annette Watcher and Stephen Collette will be at Woody’s Sports and Video Bar on Cedar Springs on Monday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

On Nov. 10, they will be at Buli on Cedar Springs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. to talk to anyone not able to attend on Monday evening.

Here’s more information about the games:

Team Dallas organizer Jere Becker said the games are “open to anyone. You just need to register.” Becker has been involved with Team Dallas since 1990 and has participated in a variety of sports including flag football, swimming, bodybuilding and softball.

He said, “Age doesn’t matter. Phil Johnson has won a ton of medals in swimming.” Johnson began competing in Gay Games when he was in his 70s.

Competition in some sports, such as tennis and swimming, are grouped by age. Others, such as volleyball, have classes of ability, similar to the way DIVA, the local league, arranges players.

Swimming, softball, soccer, bowling and ice hockey are other sports that have sent teams or players in the past. Running, cycling, physique, track and field, billiards, sailing, golf and chess are other areas open for competitors.

In addition to competitors, Team Dallas would like to bring a contingent of spectators to cheer the athletes. Gay Games is also looking for dancers, cheerleaders, bands and singers to perform during the week.

Becker said he expects about 100 athletes from Dallas to attend the Gay Games in Cologne. The last games, held in Chicago, attracted about 150 people from this area. Distance and cost of travel are expected to lower attendance from Dallas.

Anyone who has participated in past Gay Games is encouraged to wear team shirts and any medals won to the Woody’s presentation. Becker said the evening would be a reunion for past attendees.

This will be the eighth time the games will be held and take place every four years. The first, in 1982, was in San Francisco.

In 1997 Dallas bid to host the 2002 Gay Games but lost to Sydney. The 2014 games move back to North America and will be in Cleveland.

Becker said that holding the competitions in August presents a problem for Dallas because of the heat. The 1997 bid proposed Memorial Day weekend in May, but organizers felt that would be a problem for Europeans to attend. Although August is winter in Sydney, that city’s climate is temperate year round.

More than 1,700 people from 32 countries have already registered to participate in the Cologne games. Two sports, golf and sailing, will close registration soon because they are nearing capacity.

— David Taffet

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