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2006 Notebook - July 21

News, Notes and Photos from Chicago

(This story was published in 2006).

Wrestling. For complete Gay Games wrestling results, click here.

Waddell Cup winners. For those of you who haven't yet heard, the Waddell Cup winners areRivière-Zijdel of Amsterdam and Derek Liecty of Oakland, Calif. Congratulations to them!

WeHo takes water polo gold, Utah silver, SF bronze. In the latest addition to one of the most dominant dynasties in gay-sports history, the West Hollywood men's water polo team won the competititve gold medal on Thursday, beating Utah, 11-9.

It looked like it was going to be a blow-out at halftime, with the defending Gay Games champs up, 8-3. WH2O used set plays and crisp passing in the first half while Utah seemed stuck taking head-on shots and sometimes simply tossing the ball to the WeHo goalie. But Queer Utah Aquatics Club came roaring back in the second half, setting up plays and playing much smarter to cut the lead to two.

They were also helped by an incredible shot by their goalie, Jason Olafson. As time expired in the third quarter, his looping shot on goal soared over WeHo's goalie and into the net to cut the lead to three.

West Hollywood has been a dominant force in gay men's water polo since its inception. The club has won 11 of the 14 IGLA water polo championships. They have never lost since former Harvard water polo player Mike Crosby joined the team six years ago. In those six years, WH2O hasn't lost a single water polo match. Crosby always has a warm handshake and a nice smile – a very friendly guy.

In the bronze-medal game, the San Francisco Tsunami came from behind to beat Team New York.– Cyd Zeigler jr.

Duck hunting: The Queer Utah Aquatics Club is better known as QUAC, and their cheering section would break into a chorus of "quacks!" to spur their team on. They also had a cute ditty for their goalie, serenading him with, "We love you Jason!"

To counter the QUACs, the WeHo supporters wore camouflage duck hunting caps, and when WeHo scored a goal, they would rise en masse and mimic shooting a hunting rifle. -Jim Buzinski

Outsports party at Crew. Our party at Crew Bar + Grill Wednesday night seems to have been a big success. It was very well-attended by lots of athletes, particularly flag football. Even Esera Tuaolo came with a Gay Games gold medal around his neck and his NFC Championship ring on his finger – a pair of awards that no other man in the world has.

Oddly, I had heard "through the grapevine" that Crew wasn't much of a sports bar. I heard wrong. With tons of sports paraphernalia, sports on about a dozen gorgeous TVs, and great sports-bar food like chicken wings (I ate eight of the honey-glazed with blue cheese – delicious!), it's as much of a sports bar as anywhere I've been. OK, they showed Project Runway, too. But that just makes it a gay sports bar.

A bunch of Outsporters were there, including PhillyRunner, BridgeportJake, Bujeff23, ChiAthlete, Stinger, and Mike Horton. We also got to meet Ray Bordeaux, a photographer whose gorgeous Gay Games photos will be appearing on Outsports in the coming weeks.

All-in-all, we stayed an hour longer than we had anticipated, we got to see a lot of old friends (including my first bf-ish, PJ), and meet some new friends, including Courtney, who runsTalldates.com. - CZ

Basketball finals set. The New York Warriors will play the San Francisco Rock Dogs in the men's competitive basketball finals on Friday. Either way, the game will mark the first time a player has won a gold medal in the top division of both football and basketball in the same Gay Games, as New York's Paul Sokolson and San Francisco's Rory Ray each won gold in football with Team Outsports on Wednesday. - CZ

Disorganization at the track. I medalled on Wednesday in track & field, but I don't have hardware to show for it. I was part of the second San Francisco 4 x 100 relay team, and it was decided that I'd run the anchor leg. When the race went off, our second leg runner made up some great ground, and when the third-leg runners came around the turn, the potential second and third place teams were neck-and-neck. We had a good exchange, and I'm told I bolted out ahead of the other anchor leg runner. But 50 meters down the straightaway I pulled a hamstring in my right thigh. Despite the pain, my only though was to keep going and finish strong for the team. I had no idea where the runner was next to me--he wasn't in my peripheral vision--but I didn't want him passing me in the last few meters. I made it across in second place and limped directly over to the massage/medical table for massage and ice.

But why no medal? Well, the skies were clouding over as the day wore on and there were rumors of rain and thundershowers on the way. I talked to the woman apparently in charge of the stadium crew who said the rain was on the way and that she didn't want to get wet.

That was but one incident of apparently many that have disillusioned many athletes so far this week. I'm hearing story after story about how the Games' events are being mismanaged.

Out at the track venue, the ring for the hammer throw still did not have the proper netting erected in time for the event. I was told that participants in the event eventually agreed on a time and place to hold the event elsewhere, apparently at the original UIC track venue.

Participants running in track have no numbers and wait interminably with little to no information about their events. No wind gauges are in evidence to show if a run was wind-aided or not. I found heat results just taped to a bench and listing everyone as "unattached," as opposed to what city they represent. No results have been posted to the Gay Games Chicago site, and almost no one is paying the $15 tickets (or $5 day tickets) to watch - the stands are nearly empty.

Actually, there can't be more than about 200 or so track & field participants. So few people signed up, and so many fewer people sign in to actually compete, that many of the races in most age groups are going directly to finals. Track & field is big in Europe, and most of the Europeans seem to be staying away from the Games, choosing instead go to Montreal.

Which goes to show that, despite the best efforts of some, you cannot separate sports from politics. – Chuck Martin

More on Opening Ceremonies' politicking. Then again, Games organizers infused Opening Ceremonies with politics. Lots of them. Four hours worth, in fact. nearly everyone I talk to say they left early. Memo to speakers: Make your point, then finish.

If I had to guess, Games organizers hired the Academy Awards director to run Opening Ceremonies and found some of Bill Clinton's old speechwriters to pen some of the speakers' stem-winders. Four hours is way, way too long. – Chuck Martin

Time misprint. When I was up in the North sports village Monday, I ran into someone at the Purple line station who had gone out for the diving competition. But the time printed on his ticket was a daytime time, and that day's competition began at 7 p.m. – Chuck Martin

Wrestling in a sauna. There was no air conditioning at the wrestling competition, which apparently was the same for other indoor venues, like basketball, as well. While there was plenty of water and Gatorade, the conditions certainly were not optimal for peak performances. It was like wrestling in a sauna.

To be fair, no one could have planned for this unusual heat. Interestingly, heat is not unusual for the Games. In New York City in 1994, it was 100 degrees and 100 percent humidity for much of the week. In Sydney in 2002, it was close to this hot and Western Australia was in the midst of a 2-year-long drought. – Chuck Martin

Signage needed. When I returned from swimming on Saturday and mentioned that I go a bit lost finding the venue, I was told that there would be signs up starting Monday at train stations directing people to venues and volunteers there directing people as well. So far, I've seen none of that.

I went out to volleyball on Tuesday at Navy Pier. I saw no signage at the end of the bus line. I asked directions of a traffic control officer, who directed me down the long pier building. The volleyball turned out to be at the far end. I saw no signs along the long walk until I was about two-thirds of the way there. And that sign was rather unobtrusive, with more ad logos that directions.

When I got into the building, I was still lost. I asked directions and was pointed up an escalator. As I approached the escalator, I saw a sign pointed to the competition. The sign was mounted on a building column on the side facing away from the door! Nearly impossible to find unless you get lucky. Simply bad planning. – Chuck Martin

Where's Ozzie Guillen? I got email the other day from the Games, and one event being promoted was Gay Games night at the White Sox game on Friday night. Now, I've not heard word yet of White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen attending any Games events as he said he would, but I think it could be an interesting reaction from any group that goes when Guillen walks out on the field before the game to deliver the lineup card. Or during the game to change a pitcher. - Chuck Martin

Beam me around the track, Mr. Sulu. Turns out George Takei is a track & field athlete. The Hollywood star who became famous for helming the U.S.S. Enterprise on the old Star Trek TV series and in several Star Trek movies (until he became captain of his own starship) and who recently came out and who spoke at opening ceremonies, was up on the medal stand on Wednesday as part of a medal-winning relay team from Team Los Angeles.

Of course, we knew Takei was no slouch. Who could ever forget the episode where he fenced, shirtless, through the corridors of the Enterprise? Great job George! - Chuck Martin