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Notes: Soccer, women, track, straights

About 700 people showed up to watch the men’s A-division soccer finals, which saw Stonewall FC beat United FC, 2-1. Stonewall scored the go-ahead goal in the 81st minute. Team Cologne beat Team Italia, 5-0, for the bronze. And team Argentina beat Jet City in the finals of the B division, 3-0.

I was surprised by the lack of American women at the event. Only about a third of all the competitors were female; And only a small percentage of those were from the U.S.

The North Americans completely dominated a couple sports in Cologne. All four of the beach volleyball men’s divisions were won by North American teams (three U.S., one Canada). All three medals in the men’s A-division basketball went to American teams (San Francisco, Long Beach, Washington DC).

It wasn’t until day 5 that the crowd at track & field saw a false start. That’s an incredible run. Heck, I used to false start intentionally in high school. You either get away with it, or the other runners are taken off guard. I guess it was quite the genteel competition.

It was pretty clear whom the crowd favorites were at water polo. The Australian and European fans showed up in droves to cheer for their teams; It seemed virtually no one wanted the Americans to win. But in both the bronze- and gold-medal matches, it was the Americans who prevailed. West Hollywood beat Amsterdam for the bronze, and Utah (QUAC) beat Melbourne for the gold, 11-5.

It was interesting to hear the scuttlebutt at water polo about straight players. Many teams accused other teams of recruiting too many straight players. As the National Center for Lesbian Rights sues gay softball for trying to limit the number of straight players at their tournaments, it’s clear many gay water polo players don’t want their events overrun by straights.

The road races were huge, with many locals joining the event. There was also a great festive atmosphere with a local yoga instructor leading hundreds of runners in a pre-race warm-up and stretch. Not to mention the “ladies” with balloon-sized busts in tight pink shirts. Oh my.

It was cool to see two American dignitaries handing out the silver and gold medals for the men’s A-division basketball. Vice-Consul Matthew Paschke (Frankfurt) and Consul Chris Grossman (Dusseldorf) both made appearances.