Celebrating LGBTQ sports activities historical past: The first Outsports conference
Daily this month, we’re trying again at our pioneers, the mark they left on our group and on the sports activities world, plus landmark occasions and tales that present Braveness Is Contagious. At present, our Cyd Zeigler’s account of the very first Outsports conference, revealed in 2003.
By Cyd Zeigler
As I used to be sitting in Trunks — a bar on Santa Monica Blvd. — Saturday night time, one in every of our conventioneers, Cowboyhuskerfan, in from the East Coast for the weekend, summed up for me your complete conference completely:
“I used to be leery of coming 3,000 miles for this conference, and I didn’t know what to anticipate, however I’m so glad I got here; I’m having a blast.”
That sentiment was resounded by all 18 of the individuals on the first annual (and sure, I can now say with certainty, this will probably be an annual occasion) Outsports Conference, held in Los Angeles this previous weekend, February 14-16. Not solely was it the primary conference for our Website online, nevertheless it was additionally the primary convention ever held particularly for homosexual sports activities followers and athletes.
The weekend began Friday night time with an off-the-cuff gathering in a collection on the Hyatt on Sundown Blvd., the place the conference was held. Whereas watching the 76ers eke out a win over the Magic, we shared tales about the whole lot from our first submit on the Dialogue Board to the function of Title IX in collegiate athletics. Provided that it was Valentine’s Day, our choices later that night time for dinner have been minimal; nonetheless, we discovered an incredible Thai restaurant which, regardless of having no alcohol, allowed us to herald a pair bottles of some purple wine and beer that Cowboyhuskerfan, Seph, and George_vikingfan drummed up.
Saturday morning began vivid and early with breakfast and a fascinating presentation by Helen Carroll, the Homophobia in Sport Coordinator for the Nationwide Middle for Lesbian Rights. She crammed us in on a number of the work she had finished previously in sports activities (specifically, teaching the UNC-Asheville girls’s basketball staff to the Nationwide Championship), and a number of the work she is concerned in now (specifically, serving to the case of Ashly Massey, an eighth grade lesbian who was not allowed into gymnasium class). We additionally spent a great deal of time dialogue Title IX, the varied interpretations of it a college might use to information themselves, and posing for photos for Brent.
Quickly after she spoke, she beat a number of Outsports members in a trivia contest testing the sports activities data of all of the individuals. Whereas Bridgeportjake might have gained the competition if he had recognized the mascot of the College of Montanta (the Grizzlies), George_vikingfan held on for the crown of “Outsports Trivia Champion,” due to his “educated” guess that Tiger Woods had shot 2-under within the first spherical of the Buick Invitational. Brent even managed to play the sport and take extra photos on the similar time.
A tasty lunch of sandwiches, salads and cheesecake was highlighted by a dialog with Patricia Nell Warren, creator of The Entrance Runner. Patricia advised a few of her previous conflict tales of breaking into the game of distance working within the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, and likewise shared some details about her efforts to mount The Entrance Runner film.
A day break was adopted up by taking within the Clippers-Celtics sport at Staples Middle. As “Outsports” appeared on the Jumbotron above the court docket, everybody within the group was speaking about Joe In Philly’s “skirmish” with a drunken Jeremy Roenick-basher he encountered in the course of the Los Angeles Kings sport a number of hours earlier than. Joe even had the scars to “show” his battle of defending his “boyfriend’s” honor. In fact, it solely took about an hour earlier than George_vikingfan lastly cracked below the strain and fessed up: there was no brawl; Joe had merely had a little bit of an “accident.” You’ll have to attend to see Joe’s damage as Brent took a number of photos.
Sunday morning began a bit later, on condition that Saturday night time featured a number of journeys to the bars in West Hollywood. We started with Eric Gumby Anderson, an brazenly homosexual former highschool observe coach now lecturing at UC-Irvine (the Anteaters, for all you trivia buffs like Seph), speaking about his experiences behind the “Orange Curtain,” breaking down the partitions of homophobia in highschool and faculty sports activities. Gumby then posed exterior the room for photos with Brent.
Within the present alternate that adopted, Seph’s Montreal Allouettes T-shirt and hat, and Joe In Philly’s Jim Thome t-shirt, have been the most popular objects. By some means, Jim Allen, who didn’t even make it to the alternate, ended up with the Jim “Anaconda” Thome shirt.
Outsports’ model of Pardon The Interruption ensued with the entire group weighing in on faculty soccer playoffs, skilled sports activities mascots and the validity of the MLB All-Star sport. And, simply as with Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, a lot was mentioned and nothing was resolved. Brent intermittently weighed in on minority hiring within the NFL and took images.
We then headed right down to West Hollywood Park to absorb the solar, have some lunch, and play some soccer. A few of the soccer highlights:
- Joe In Philly faking everybody out and “streaking” into the endzone for a landing;
- Seph catching nearly each ball that got here to him and scoring thrice himself;
- Redsoxbreath doing his greatest gymnastics imitation whereas blitzing the quarterback;
- RJ in Huntington making a spectacular reduce to the sideline that left him extensive open for a landing; solely to have his teammates cease play due to children downfield;
- Pat125 made a pleasant transfer from 20 yards out to get open for a rating;
- Canmark mastered the comeback reduce, making two large receptions in visitors;
- Chip impressed everybody (particularly Jim Allen) along with his athleticism in getting open nearly at will;
- George_vikingfan seemed like Randy Moss on a protracted move after complaining that quarterback Jim wasn’t holding to his “Randy Ratio”;
- Nosteroidz was a fierce tackler each time the opposition had the ball;
- Brent took a lot of photos.
Whereas 4 conventioneers went to the Lakers-Knicks video games (with VIP tickets we raffled off), the remainder of us ended the weekend with dinner at an Italian Restaurant the place everybody not on the Lakers sport shared tales from the weekend and mentioned plans for the Second Annual Outsports Conference in 2004.
What began out as informal dialog two years in the past all got here to fruition this weekend – and the outcomes couldn’t have been extra enjoyable. Critical points have been mentioned for certain — however the laughs and so many moments from the weekend will probably be remembered by these unique 18 individuals for a few years.
None of it might have been doable with out the extremely onerous work of Chip, who took the concept and ran with it. For all his onerous work, and for these recollections that can stick with us, Jim and I thank him.
You should definitely watch the Website online for details about the following conference and, till then, we’re locking Joe In Philly from the Dialogue Board till George_vikingfan catches him.
(See if Joe tells one other story about brawls at Kings video games once more. 😉 — Cyd Zeigler
We’ll have one other LGBTQ Sports activities historical past story tomorrow and on daily basis by means of Oct. 31.