2018 Faces of Sports with
Ryan O'Callaghan NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018 $3.95 â&#x20AC;¢ COMPETENETWORK.COM
16 For Ryan O’Callaghan Being a Change Agent Makes Him Happy
NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018 COMPETENETWORK.COM FACES OF SPORTS 14 Serena Williams is Championing Change 18 Collin Martin’s Coming Out’s a Wrap 19 Joanna Lohman: A One-of-a-Kind Athlete 20 Caitlyn Jenner is Taking Charge and Moving Forward 21 Tadd Fujikawa Addresses Depression & Anxiety in Coming Out 22 Paralympian Oz Sanchez Knows No Limits 28 Meet Sam Lehman: Compete’s 2018 Mark Bingham Athlete of the Year 30 Danielle Vincenti, SDLT: Helping Richmond Lead in Equality 32 Gay Softball World Series: The Team for 2019 34 Trans Woman Erin Parisi “TransSends” Kilimanjaro 36 R. Tony Smith: Planning & Celebrating Meaningful Causes 38 Bryan Lee, SDL: Transforming the Lives of the Bullied 40 Five Questions with Olympian Gale Fitzgerald, SDL GYM BAG 42 Hot Items You Shouldn't Do Without EVENTS 44
Calendar of Events
Compete Online Do you love to Compete? Get with the game and shop our online store, subscribe to Compete Magazine, read the hottest news blogs and check out the latest videos online at CompeteNetwork.com. COVER ATHLETE: RYAN O’CALLAGHAN
Annual Petey Award Winners
2018 Faces of Sports with
PHOTOGRAPHER: KATIE LUTHER PHOTOGRAPHY
NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018 $3.95 • COMPETENETWORK.COM
MILLENNIALS ON SPORTS
MY SPORTS HERO: GREG LOUGANIS
BY DIRK SMITH, SDL he Compete Faces of Sports issue is always one of my favorites because it’s inspiring to see such a diverse group of people who have made a positive impact on the world of sports. One the reasons I’m passionate about the Olympics is the athletes’ stories highlighting all their diversities. It’s those stories that have built the impressive history of the Olympic movement.
As an athlete, I’ve taken lots of inspiration from many athletes based on their stories and experiences. I wish I could share all those moments with you but alas, I can only tell you about one of my biggest inspirations, Greg Louganis. Considered the greatest diver of all time, Greg Louganis certainly has a lot to be proud of. Being the only diver in Olympic history to win two gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, he then followed that performance as the only diver to win another two gold medals at the following Seoul Games in 1988. But he is most often remembered as the diver who hit his head on the board during the Games in Seoul. During the preliminaries Louganis made a distance error as he was coming out of his dive and smashed his head on the board. Leaving the crowd stunned, he swam to the edge holding his head as he bled into the pool and kept a distance as people rushed to help. Nursing a minor concussion, Louganis was strong enough in his other dives that he squeaked (barely)into the finals. Several days later during same event final, Louganis, wearing a bandage on his head took the board and completed all of his dives, scoring very well throughout the competition. When it came time to do the dive that had injured him in the prelim, everybody held their breath as he began his approach. Giving himself a little more distance this time, he completed the dive with a high score to the roar of applause from the stands. Louganis went on to win the gold medal. What most people didn’t know at the time was that he was HIV-positive. During an era overwhelmed by fear and misinformation about HIV and AIDS, there was also a lack of treatment options that made it a death sentence for most. Louganis was one of the first patients to use the experimental drug ATZ. Additionally, he was struggling with an eating disorder and an abusive relationship with his manager who had secretly moonlighted as an escort. Taking part in unsafe sex and hiding his HIV status ultimately led to Louganis becoming infected. Learning about his condition only months before the 1988 Games, he had seriously considered dropping out. However, at the insistence of his coach and close associates, he chose to continue with his training, a decision he now credits helping him overcome the physical and emotional impact of the disease. There is obviously a lot to unpack here but you can get a glimpse as to why Greg Louganis is someone I look up to and for whom I have immense respect. His book, “Breaking the Surface” is what inspired me to take up reading. I’ve had the pleasure of corresponding with Greg on multiple occasions and even got to meet him at a screening of his documentary, “Back on Board: The Greg Louganis Story,” a follow up to his book. It’s all helped me gain new perspective, not on just his journey but on those of Olympic athletes overall. His story is one of courage and confidence – not just in the athletic sense but also in how someone facing so much uncertainty in his life could come back from hitting his head on the board and win an Olympic gold medal.
Dirk Smith, SDL Sports Editor email@example.com @competedirk
6 COMPETE NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018
THE CATBIRD SEAT: FROM THE EXECUTIVE EDITOR
TAKING POSITIVE ACTION RESULTS IN POSITIVE OUTCOMES
love our annual Faces of Sports issue because it shines light on a variety of individuals working, each in his, her or they own way to promote the inclusion, diversity, equality and acceptance that makes them leaders in the sports diversity movement. The common denominator linking the individuals you read about in this issue is that they’ve done something to make things better for themselves and for others – they’ve taken action!
We all know that sports can bring people together but some athletes face incredible challenges just to play the game they love. Those challenges can be physical but they can also be mental and emotional ones brought on by bullying for looking and sounding different – for their sexual orientation and gender identity, race, ethnicity, religious beliefs and sadly, the list goes on. These are all things that marginalizes and isolates them in some manner from their teammates or peers. You can believe in the concept of equality, acceptance and inclusion mentally but it’s that action step that either makes or breaks a belief’s ability to become a game changing idea turned into a movement. Individuals like the ones in these pages have to apply their belief in the elevated and expanded idea of good sportsmanship in their everyday lives. Positive results are achieved only when enough of us make conscious and courageous decisions to grow personally and to respect, support and mentor others around us in that same quest. But you don’t have to be a former professional athlete, a human rights advocate or someone else you think is important to stand up for your beliefs in equality and acceptance for all athletes. When you have a choice to make in your daily life, you only need the courage to do the right thing, especially in this current hyper-polarized climate. When you choose to include everyone and honor the differences they bring, you are ensuring that everyone who wants to play sports is able to participate and have a positive experience. So when you’re faced with a decision to make today, whether it’s on the field of sport, business or daily life, your personal, individual choice counts more than you realize. Your choice to be accepting and welcoming of others and playing by the rules of fair conduct means you are actively supporting the all-accepting idea of sports diversity – you are helping to strengthen a very important idea by putting it into action in your personal daily life.
Connie Wardman, M.A., SDLT Executive Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
8 COMPETE NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018
COMPETE EDITORS EXECUTIVE EDITOR Connie Wardman, M.A., SDLT A graduate of Chatham University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Connie is an adult educator by profession and has a Master's Degree in Adult and Community Education. She has been the editor of Compete Magazine since 2011. HEALTH EDITOR Dr. John Sutherland A graduate of Harvard and the University of Michigan Medical School, Dr. John Sutherland is a board certified internist and cardiologist and the founder of the North Mountain Cardio programs for health and wellbeing. COMMUNITY EDITOR AT LARGE Ty Nolan, SDL An experienced LGBTQ community counselor, Ty is also a Native American storyteller and a USA Today and New York Times Best Selling Author, winning the 2014 BP Readers Choice Award for "Coyote Still Going: Native American Legends and Contemporary Stories." GUEST WRITER Bryan Lee, SDL A National Exercise & Sports Association (NESTA) certified personal trainer, life coach and author who has lost over 100 pounds, Bryan Lee, SDL is committed to prevent bullying. He’s the founder, CEO and senior corporate trainer for 100% Bully-Proof.
Advisory Board DJ Doran, SDLT, Diversitas Media Dr. William Kapfer, JP Morgan Chase Angela Smith, SDL, ASANA Jake Mason, SDL, USA Dodgeball
SDLC Executive Advisory Committee Eric Carlyle, SDLT Patrick Higgins, SDLT, Connect Sports Catherine Kelly, SDLT, NAGAAA MISSION STATEMENT Compete unites the world through sports. COMPETENETWORK.COM FACEBOOK.COM/COMPETEMAG @COMPETESPORTS COMPETE MAGAZINE INSTAGRAM.COM/COMPETEMAGAZINE
10 COMPETE NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018
PUBLISHER/CEO Eric Carlyle • email@example.com COMPETE MAGAZINE Executive Editor Connie Wardman • firstname.lastname@example.org Sports Editor Dirk Smith • email@example.com Health Editor Dr. John Sutherland • firstname.lastname@example.org Fitness Editor Jake Tommerup • email@example.com Art Director Heather Brown • firstname.lastname@example.org Graphic Designer Kristi Wayland • email@example.com Contributors Ryan Adams, Harry Andrew, Ian Colgate, Ryan Evans, Jared Garduno, Aurelio Giordano, Catherine (CJ) Kelly, Miriam Latto, Kevin Majoros, Clay Partain, Brian Patrick, Elaine Wessel Staff Photographer Ariel Stevens • firstname.lastname@example.org COO/Consultant Barbara Harwell • email@example.com Sales & Operations Vice President Jared Garduno • firstname.lastname@example.org Administration Bethany Harvat • email@example.com SDLC Program Coordinator Raleigh Dombek • firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright © 2018 MEDIA OUT LOUD, LLC All Rights Reserved. All Mail PO Box 2756 Scottsdale, AZ 85252
Corporate Office 6991 East Camelback Road, Suite D-300 Scottsdale, AZ 85251 West Coast Office 3415 South Sepulveda Blvd, Suite 1100 Los Angeles, CA 90034 East Coast Office 100 Church Street, 8th Floor New York City, NY 10007 Compete is a trademark of Media Out Loud, LLC
Sports Diversity Leadership Council, Sports Diversity Leader and SDL are trademarks of Media Out Loud, LLC. Subscribe to Compete Magazine online at CompeteNetwork.com
WITH YOU: FROM THE PUBLISHER
EVERYDAY FACES OF SPORTS
his is our fifth “Faces of Sports” issue and it’s a tradition we hope continues for a long time to come. Thanks to the difficult, even dangerous work of past sports pioneers, today there is a growing group of “faces” to select.
This year we started with about 50 possible candidates that were eventually narrowed to the individuals in this issue. Something new this year is including our Petey Award information in this issue. After all, our winners most certainly are true “Faces of Sports.” Three faces that I want to feature in my letter this month are very important and very deserving faces. CONNIE WARDMAN Connie’s real strength is that of a teacher and mentor, something she demonstrates regularly in her role as our executive editor. Her features and stories educate, inspire and inform. Almost daily I get an email or phone call from someone who has been touched by Connie’s writing gift. Our writers and freelancers turn to her both for advice and for help with conducting interviews or writing stories to share with our readers. JARED GARDUNO Jared is a coach and mentor, a person always wanting to provide value to our customers and clients as well as support to our team. As a vice president, Jared takes his leadership role at Compete seriously. When I need help I immediately reach out to Jared—as do our clients and customers. That makes Jared a strong part of the Compete team. HEATHER BROWN Heather is the art director for Compete Magazine and also does design work for a number of its clients through her outstanding graphic design firm, Cultural Sponge. With over 10 years as lead designer working on marketing campaigns, logo design, radio and TV campaigns, she’s an important part of our team that helps us design Compete. While this letter features three very important people and this issue features many more, there are a number of other “Compete faces” on the team that help us fulfill our motto of “Uniting the World Through Sports.” They also deserve recognition and I will be calling them out in my letters throughout the year. In the meantime, enjoy this very special annual issue.
Eric Carlyle, SDLT Publisher/CEO email@example.com @CompeteEric
As an early leader in the sports diversity movement, Compete Magazine gives out High Fives each issue to deserving athletes, teams, leagues, organizations and corporations as well as high profile celebrities for their contributions to promote diversity, inclusion, equality and acceptance for all. Here are five who get a High Five for a job well done!
FLAG FOOTBALL: A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT GAY BOWL X, AND THE COURAGE TO COMPETE … and its award-winning director/producer Seth Greenleaf and executive producer, Emmy Award winner and Academy Award nominee Sam Pollard for the film now becoming available for digital download through iTunes and Amazon. A timeless feature-length documentary, it has won the hearts of minds of countless viewers. It follows 26 teams of the National Gay Flag Football League’s (NGFFL) 400 openly gay athletes for five days as they give it all they’ve got to win the Gay Bowl. Garnering rave reviews on the festival circuit, it won Audience Choice Awards from Phoenix to Philadelphia and kicked off its theatrical release last year during Gay Pride in New York City. To continue the progress for gay rights in America, it's crucial to break down those final strongholds of prejudice and inequality. … We must unlink the association between 'gay' and 'weak' and allow the next generation of young gay men and women to be accepted as the athletes they are, without prejudice or negative consequence. As an athlete my entire life and having learned so much about myself through sports, I feel it is vital to make these opportunities available and welcoming to all." - Seth Greenleaf
LOS ANGELES LAKERS … for holding its first Pride Night October 4 and inviting the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles to sing the National Anthem. Retired NBA player Jason Collins, the first openly gay professional male athlete in the U.S. to come out while still playing, was honored with the Lace of Unity Award. Collins now serves as an NBA Cares ambassador. MIKE PARROW, OPENLY GAY PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER … for wearing an LGBTQ rainbow pride flag as he entered the ring for his championship match at the NWA’s 70th Anniversary’s pay-for-view telecast and the commentators actually made mentioned it. BOSTON RED SOCKS … for making a $200,000 pledge in partnership with Fenway Sports Group President Mike Gordon’s Gordon Family Foundation to support its neighborhood LGBTQ health center, Fenway Health. This was part of Spirit Day, the global LGBTQ anti-bullying campaign held during National Bullying Month. NEW YORK ISLANDERS … for announcing on National Coming Out Day a new partnership with the LGBT Network to expand its anti-bullying initiative. The hockey team was the first professional sport franchise in any league to participate in the LGBT Network’s National Coming Out Day campaign, now in its 17th year.
12 COMPETE NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018
COMPETE READER SURVEY & GRANDSTANDING FAVORITE FOTBALL JERSEY
LETTERS to COMPETE GRANDSTANDING
Diversity Done Right (July-Aug ‘18) I just read your article about Capital Rugby Union in the July-August issue. I find it refreshing to see more mainstream organizations taking an interest in diversity. The more accepting all sports organizations can be, the more welcome all athletes will feel. I certainly hope this is a trend that will catch on past this one stand-out organization. Casey Lewis Phoenix, Arizona ASANA, NGFFL, IGRA and IWAMIYA (Sept-Oct ‘18) It is great to see so much diversity inside and outside Compete. The story featuring ASANA, NGFFL and IGRA was my favorite but the article (and cover) featuring Shigeo Iwamiya was a close second. I love it when your stories “Compete” to be my favorite. Michael Day Reno, Nevada Please submit all Letters to Compete via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2018 FACES OF SPORTS
A CHAMPION FOR CHANGE BY BRYAN LEE From the moment Serena Williams burst onto the professional tennis scene in 1995 it was clear that the face of women’s professional tennis was about to change forever. You can count on one hand the number of AfricanAmerican Grand Slam tennis champions that took home the top prize prior to Serena Williams – Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe and Yannick Noah. She has 23 Grand Slam title wins and is planning to beat Margaret Court’s record of 24. In a career spanning two decades and counting, her grit, fire and tenacity on the tennis court have also brought changes beyond her sport. Serena, along with her older sister Venus have never been too rich or too famous NOT to give back to those who may be struggling or disadvantaged. In 2004 the Williams sisters partnered with Ronald McDonald House Charities to hold an exhibition fund-raising tennis tour to create, fund and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. Growing up in Compton, California was a grim, frightening experience. “I come from Compton. I come from a family that had to work for everything it got, and took nothing for granted. I had to worry about all kinds of things growing up,” she said. “But ultimately, that fear, it drove us forward,” she explained in the HBO documentary series, “Being Serena.” Compton became the catalyst for her to give back, to make things better for others. Following the senseless 2003 gang-related murder of their sister Yetunde Price in Compton, Serena and Venus opened a community center there to support residents affected by gun violence. The Yetunde Price Resource Center serves as a support system, a place where people can get the help they need after the death of a loved one. And after opening a secondary school in Kenya called The Serena Williams Secondary School in 2008, Serena called it a landmark event in her life. The school’s mission is to help individuals or communities effected by senseless violence, ensuring them equal access to education. Most of the students enrolled in this school are from poor families. But Serena’s latest impact on the women’s tennis world may be her most lasting. Following a Sepember 2017 emergency cesarean section to deliver daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., she nearly died due to complications from blood clots that required additional surgeries and kept her in bed for six weeks. While many expected that to be the end of her tennis career, just 14 months later, at age 37 Serena made her official comeback and won her match.
When most players her age have already retired, she’s challenging the status quo once again. In addition to bringing attention to an age bias, she's also calling attention to sexist and racial bias in sports. When Williams wore a black Nike catsuit at the French Open in August, the controversy surrounding it being banned as disrespectful to tennis and the French Open actually brought world-wide attention to issues of sexism and racism; of controlling women athletes, especially powerful Black women athletes. And when people learned that Serena’s catsuit was intended to help with her long-standing problem with blood clots, it also brought attention to the fact that AfricanAmericans have double the risk for blood clots. So whether she is on or off the court, there can be little doubt that Serena Williams will be remembered not only as the greatest female tennis player of all time but also as a powerful champion for positive change in the world.
Photo By Roberto Faccenda from Canale CN, Italy - Serena's racquet goes too fast for 1/640, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49176141
14 COMPETE NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018
2018 PETEY AWARDS WEEKEND SCHEDUILE 2018 PETEY AWARDS WEEKEND SCHEDULE FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9 5:00 P.M. TO 6:30 P.M. Cocktails and Light Starters Hosted by Tempe Tourism and Visit Mesa Welcome Reception at DoubleTree Tempe/Phoenix Attire: Business Casual SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10 8:15 A.M. TO 1:30 P.M. Continental Breakfast and Box Lunch Provided by Experience Scottsdale Meet at DoubleTree Tempe/Phoenix for bus ride through downtown Scottsdale to Embassy Suites Chaparral for Sports Diversity Leadership Conference. Bus will return to DoubleTree Tempe/Phoenix by 1:30 p.m. Attire: Business Casual/Sports
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10 6:00 P.M. TO 10:00 P.M. Petey Reception at DoubleTree Tempe/Phoenix from 6:00 p.m. to 6:45 followed by 9th Annual Petey Awards from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Cocktail Attire to Tuxedos: Jacket Recommended. SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 10 10:00 A.M. TO 11:30 A.M. Casual Cash Brunch Location TBD Attire: Casual Find this Schedule Online at CompeteNetwork.com/Schedule Schedule Subject to Change Event Contact Barbara Harwell 480.258.8888
FOR RYAN O’CALLAGHAN BEING A CHANGE AGENT MAKES HIM BY CONNIE WARDMAN
Ryan O'Callaghan played football before the NFL began making major strides toward equality and inclusion. Look at his picture. He looks great, doesn’t he? He’s 6-foot-7 and down a bit from his 330-pound weight when he played as an NFL offensive lineman for the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs (and not quite as menacing). Playing in the NFL is the dream of many young athletes, the very pinnacle of life as they can imagine it. And it’s considered by many as the most masculine of all the team sports – the most macho thing a guy can do. On the contrary, calling his relationship with football a “deadly serious” one, O’Callaghan said, “Playing for six years in the NFL with everything else I had going on in my own mind and my physical injuries was a huge achievement. Just making it six years with everything going well is nearly impossible.”
16 COMPETE NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018
Photos by Katie Luther Photography
Hiding who you are is absolutely exhausting mentally. My plan all along was to use football as a cover until I no longer had it, and then I was going to end my life. It was hard enough staying hidden while having football as a giant cover. I couldn’t imagine having to do it without football.
O’Callaghan actually considers his greatest personal achievement getting out of the NFL alive. That’s because when he left the NFL in 2011 he planned on killing himself. He’d already distanced himself from family and friends, amassed a number of guns and written his suicide letter. The reason? The same as for many LGBTQ individuals – he never believed anyone would accept him for being gay. For those of you who don’t understand what it’s like feeling forever trapped in the closet because of your sexuality, here’s how O’Callaghan describes it: My relationship with football is much different than most. I only continued playing football because I found it to be a good cover for my sexuality. Football is what kept me in the closet, purposefully; it was all my injuries that ended my career. Hiding who you are is absolutely exhausting mentally. My plan all along was to use football as a cover until I no longer had it, and then I was going to end my life. It was hard enough staying hidden while having football as a giant cover. I couldn’t imagine having to do it without football. As O’Callaghan’s abuse of pain killers increased to a point of concern, Dave Price, then-head athletic trainer for the Kansas City Chiefs, recommended O’Callaghan see clinical psychologist Dr. Susan Wilson who had been treating members of the Chiefs for substance abuse and related issues. Knowing that the drugs were covering up more than the pain just from his injuries, she guided him through the coming out process that he says saved his life. Since his NFL retirement in 2011 O’Callaghan’s efforts, first and foremost have been to take great care of himself as well as learning to love himself. His devastating injuries while playing have resulted in a permanent disability award from the NFL so he’s working on getting and staying as healthy as possibly.
O’Callaghan, along with other professional athletes Jason Collins, Gus Kenworthy, Megan Rapinoe and Robbie Rogers appeared in the 2018 award-winning “Alone In The Game” documentary that provides an in-depth look at the “culture of exclusion, bigotry and discrimination” faced by LGBTQ athletes. Near and dear to O’Callaghan’s heart, however, is The Ryan O’Callaghan Foundation (ROFDN) he’s started as part of his wanting to give back to the LGBTQ community. He says he was presented with several opportunities after he come out publicly but “profiting off being gay did not sit well with me, so my foundation was born.” The ROFDN’s vision is to “begin to redraw our definitions of what defines a person,” raising awareness enough to appreciate and respect the contributions of others. And based on that vision, the foundation’s mission is to support talented LGBTQ youth through scholarships. O’Callaghan also has a book coming out next summer about his story with details he’s never told before. Not only does he think LGBTQ and ally individuals will be interested in reading it, he also thinks there’s quite a bit in the book that diehard football fans will be interested in reading about. And he says that every cent of profit from his book will go directly into his foundation. If he could go back and talk to that tightly closeted teenage Ryan, O’Callaghan would like him to unapologetically "be you and have faith the world will accept you. And if that doesn’t happen right away, just know that one day they’ll catch up." He says to not let your sexuality or anything else define who you are or what you can do. Ignore all the labels people stick on you and do what makes you happy, because being happy is what’s most important. The website for The Ryan O’Callaghan Foundation is www.ROFDN.org.
COLLIN MARTIN Collin Martin has definitely made his mark on the 2018 year, particularly in major league sports. A Major League Soccer (MLS) player for the Minnesota United FC, Martin posted his coming out announcement on Twitter just before the team’s June 29 Pride Night game. His post included a picture of him wrapped in a Pride flag and a message of thanks for support as well as encouragement for other gay athletes to come out.
BY DIRK SMITH
After Robbie Rogers retired from MLS in November 2017, there had been no other gay male athletes in any of the five U.S. major professional team sports. Martin has now filled Rogers’ unenviable position as the only gay male athlete in this important group willing to be open about his sexual orientation.
Photo courtesy of Collin Martin
COMING OUT A “WRAP”
2018 FACES OF SPORTS
18 COMPETE NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018
While Martin’s announcement was timed based on his team’s Pride Night celebration, it’s worth noting that it was one day following the 49th anniversary of the start of the Stonewall Riots. Despite all the progress (and some regress) made on LGBTQ+ rights since then, even in the last decade, there is still a lot of covert homophobia within sports that has made gay athletes less active and visible within professional sports. This makes Martin’s coming out announcement remarkable, even in 2018. Granted, Martin’s coming out wasn’t exactly a big shock to his friends and teammates. In an interview with Outsports he talked about his time living in Washington D.C. when he played for D.C. United and started his coming out process by frequenting gay bars in D.C. He also started making gay friends and even found a boyfriend who helped him learn to accept and embrace himself. Coming out to some of his teammates on D.C. United, Martin received a lot of positive responses that helped give him the confidence and support he needed to play his best and be himself. When he was traded to Minnesota he didn’t make a public announcement that he was gay. Instead he let it happen naturally – mentioning his boyfriend in casual conversation, bringing his boyfriend to team events, and just being generally visible and part of the team. This way his teammates could take the time to learn about him and understand that Martin is gay without making a big deal about it, allowing him to become part of the team. Initially he didn’t think a big public announcement was as relevant as his teammates and close friends knew it was. But then Martin realized that coming out publicly could have a positive impact on the community and decided to make it happen. He decided Minnesota United FC’s “Pride Night” was the perfect opportunity to do it. When the club gave out rainbow flags to its athletes to promote Pride Night, Martin decided to take his announcement a step further by having some professional photos done of him wearing the flag. He also took time to work with friends, Minnesota United and MLS to put a plan in place for his coming out, including several drafts and revisions to his tweet, making sure he had everything in place. When his news aired it took off and was shared all around the world. In response to the news, Martin shared with Outsports, “I’m so grateful I’ve gotten to this point; I think I would have been very sad if I didn’t come out during my career.”
2018 FACES OF SPORTS
Photo courtesy of Joanna Lohman
A ONE-OF-A-KIND ATHLETE BY BRIAN PATRICK
here are many professional athletes who use their platform to advocate for equality in sports but perhaps none quite so intensely or whole-heartedly as Joanna Lohman. At 36, the midfielder/ defender for the Washington Spirit is one of the oldest players in the National Women’s Soccer
League (NWSL) but she continues to play the game she loves with as much enthusiasm and passion as when she first began to play professionally 14 years ago. When I interviewed her for Compete two years ago she called soccer her vocation. But it’s clearly more than just a career for Lohman; it’s her calling, her raison d'etre – it’s what she’s meant to do with her life. It would be hard to find many other athletes so giving of their time, knowledge of the game and their caring emotional support to the many kids wanting to be just like her – a pro soccer player. Saying that she’s known for being “unabashedly herself,” she also said that
“I use my incredible platform to encourage others to love their authentic selves. I realize that we all struggle to find acceptance and belonging. But together we can create a beautiful community filled with unconditional love.” She sees “… the way it [sport] breaks down barriers and I want to use sport as a vehicle to make a positive difference in this world." Lohman is also unabashedly gay. She didn’t really pay much attention to her sexuality until about age 20 and was already engaged to a man. She began to explore her feelings and once she discovered her authentic self, she was completely open about who she was. “Like I do most things in life, I do it 100-percent. So I came flying out of that closet. I didn’t give people a chance to second guess me,” she said. “I was like take me or leave me.” In addition to her all-consuming interest in soccer, Lohman is also interested in global exploration, life-long
learning, human connection and the pursuit of mastery. By adding her “100-percent” approach to everything, she’s combined it all into a life filled with meaningful and inspirational activity. An active and vocal advocate for equality in sport, she helped launch GO! Athletes to create safe spaces for LGBTQ student-athletes and she actively supports of a number of organizations like the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Athlete Ally where she shows up on the front line as a rainbow warrior, easy to spot with her famous hairdo, the JoHawk. Considered an LGBTQ trailblazer, Lohman’s a frequent panelist for programs ranging from “Wrestle Like a Girl” to the inaugural LGBTQ Summit held by the NFL Minnesota Vikings. She’s a speaker for organizations like Proctor and Gamble, TEDx and the Department of State. But her work empowering women and girls through soccer has a global reach thanks to a number of agencies within the U.S. government. For example, she went to Botswana to run a program called Girl Power for the Department of State, the first female sports envoy to do so. She was deeply touched by the enthusiastic response of the girls who were training barefoot for hours in 100+ degree heat. When the U.S. Ambassador made and kept his promise to provide the players with brand new soccer shoes, her response was classic Joanna Lohman: “I am so proud that we made an impact using the power of sport. This is truly the meaning of life.”
2018 FACES OF SPORTS
CAITLYN JENNER IS TAKING CONTROL AND MOVING FORWARD
Courtesy of E! Entertainment Television
BY ERIC CARLYLE
I was excited to receive a luncheon invitation from Caitlyn Jenner as part of her recently-formed Foundation’s grants to support transgender individuals. Jared Garduno and I met with her just before this issue went to print. Although she’s still unpopular among some in the LGBTQ community for her early support for President Trump, Jenner has definitely changed her opinion of Trump’s campaign promise of support for LGBTQ individuals and organizations. She is now taking control of her own efforts to make things better through her foundation. In an October 25 op-ed for the Washington Post Jenner wrote that “… my outlook has changed significantly from what it was during my highly publicized and glamorized early Caitlyn days, when my life as an out trans woman was just beginning.” “Since then,” she continued, “I have learned and continue to learn about the obstacles our community faces, the politics that surround us and the places my voice can help. I have reflected on what my unique position of privilege means and how I can best use it to make a positive difference.” With a two-year growth curve as a trans woman forged by a “trial by fire” under her belt, Jenner’s foundation’s mission reflects her personal growth – the realization that if you want to accomplish something specific, you take charge of the change you wish to see. The foundation’s mission is to promote equality and combat discrimination by providing grants to organizations that empower and improve the lives of transgender people, including youth, anti-bullying, suicide prevention, healthcare, housing, employment, and related programs.” Since starting her foundation a little over a year ago Jenner is directing its financial support for organizations that are in the trenches addressing the urgent issues of suicide, violence and poverty currently affecting the transgender and gender non-conforming community. At the top of the list, according to Sophia Hutchins, executive director of the foundations is to establish new programs that target critically under-addressed issues. The goal is to provide programs that lead to self-empowerment in the workplace and financial independence. It’s a two-prong educational approach. The first is a higher education scholarship fund to “break the wealth gap that currently exists between the trans community and non-trans community,” said Hutchins. The second is another education program to provide financial literacy and wealth management. This is intended to end cycles of unstable housing and employment.
When asked about her willingness to continue working on a political front, Jenner recently replied that "We're going to work with anyone who is in Washington, and on a state level, on equality issues — Democrats, if they're in power, or Republicans.” She is hoping that the trans community will take a lesson from the gay community’s perseverance and political success in achieving same-sex marriage. Like many of you, all of us at Compete fully supported Jenner in her coming out process and were quick to expect her to step into the role we envisioned. And some of us were very unhappy when she didn’t immediately fulfill our vision of how she should act and what she should do as a celebrity trans woman. We have had some spirited discussions about her past actions. However we all believe in the principle of learning from your mistakes and moving forward to make things better. We believe in supporting individuals who are working to end transphobia as well as homophobia, biphobia, racism and sexism.
20 COMPETE NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018
2018 FACES OF SPORTS
ADDRESSES DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY IN PUBLIC COMING OUT
BY DIRK SMITH
ntil now, U.S. professional golfer Tadd Fujikawa has been known as the youngest golfer to compete in the US Open on the PGA Tour in 2006 at the tender age of 15. But now he has another first – he’s the first
professional golfer to come out as an openly gay male. Hailing from Honolulu, Hawaii, on September 12 he chose to make his announcement on World Suicide Prevention Day. In his powerful and lengthy Instagram post he said that
Photo courtesy of Tadd Fujikawa
"I don't expect everyone to understand or accept me, but please be gracious enough to not push your beliefs on me or anyone in the LGBTQ community. My hope is this post will inspire each and every one of you to be more empathetic and loving towards one another.” The 27-year old shared with his 4,600 followers his personal experiences and struggles with mental health, including dealing with depression and anxiety. He debated whether or not he should publicly come out. However, looking back on the positive impact the stories of others had on his life, Fujikawa chose to make his coming out public to inspire and encourage others facing similar struggles. He said, “I thought that I didn’t need to come out because it doesn’t matter if anyone knows. But I remember how much other’s stories have helped me in my darkest times to have hope.” Sharing the pernicious fear that comes from hiding in the closet he said, “I spent way too long pretending, hiding, and hating who I was. I was always afraid of what others would think/ say. I’ve struggled with my mental health for many years because of that and it put me in a really bad place,” he continued. “Now I’m standing up for myself and the rest of the LGBTQ community in hopes of being an inspiration and making a difference in someone’s life.” This is the second time Fujikawa has used social media to talk about his struggle with depression and anxiety. Last year he wrote about the importance of getting help, finding a good support system and releasing the quest for perfection. “We all have our issues and problems, just in different ways,” he wrote. “It’s how we deal with those issues and learn how to overcome them that makes us stronger and beautiful in the end. But it all starts with getting help.” In his current post, however, he stresses the pain members of the LGBTQ community experience as a result of continuing discrimination, pain that still results in suicide for many. “As long as those things are still happening, I will continue to do my best to bring more awareness to this issue and to fight for equality,” wrote Fujikawa. “Whether the LGBTQ is what you support or not,” he continued, “we must liberate and encourage each other to be our best selves, whatever that may be. It’s the only way we can make this world a better place for future generations. I can’t wait for the day we all can live without feeling like we’re different and excluded. A time where we don’t have to come out, we can love the way we want to love and not be ashamed,” Fujikawa wrote. He then issued a challenge to his followers. Declaring that we’re all human and equal just as we are, he dared them to change the world for the better by spreading their love. It's a worthy challenge to accept.
Photo By Clarke Henry - https://www.flickr.com/photos/upstandingshitizen/434497073/in/set-72157600027464407/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24492464
2018 FACES OF SPORTS
A TRUE CHAMPION WHO KNOWS NO LIMITS BY IAN COLGATE
Sometimes life can change in a matter of seconds. Paralympian Oscar “Oz” Sanchez can certainly attest to that. Born and raised in Los Angeles in 1975 with an alcoholic father and an abusive mother, he was already a street kid involved in drugs and the gang life by the time he graduated from high school. But he turned his life around in 1996 and entered the Marine Corps. It was the perfect environment for Sanchez. He eventually joined the Marine Corps Special Operations forces as a Reconnaissance or Recon Marine and deployed twice to the Middle East. After six years with the Marines operating in hostile regions, Sanchez decided to transfer to the Navy to operate as a Navy Seal. It was July 2001 while his transfer paperwork was underway when it happened – he was involved in a hit-and-run motorcycle accident that changed his life forever. The accident left him with a spinal cord injury (SCI) resulting in paralysis from the thighs down and neurological complications. Sanchez had turned his life around in the Marines but the accident left him with post-injury depression. And that depression led to a drinking problem that wound up costing him his marriage. To his credit he turned his life around again. He pulled out of the depression by proactively challenging his condition by obtaining a business degree in 2006 from San Diego State University with a minor in public communications and plans to return to school for a master’s degree in exercise science. His biggest fear was being defined by his injury so he also decided to devote himself to sports. Now a competitive adaptive athlete, he is both an elite hand cycle racer and a triathlete. Since his accident Sanchez has won a number of medals and awards. At his first Paralympic Games held in Beijing in 2008, Sanchez won two medals, gold and silver.
22 COMPETE NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018
Adding two medals to the count for the U.S. team, Sanchez has gone on to win a number of medals. He’s also a fivetime World Hand Cycling Champion, earning him the title of the “world’s fastest hand cyclist.” In 2009 the San Diego Hall of Champions honored Sanchez as the “Challenged Athlete of the Year.” He also appeared in the film, “Unbeaten” that same year. “Unbeaten” is an award-winning documentary that followed 31 adaptive athletes as they travel 267 miles through Denali National Park. The participants traveled 55 miles a day over the course of six days. Sanchez was one of two featured adaptive athletes featured in the documentary. Just last August Sanchez won two medals at the 2018 UCI Paracycling Road World Championships. The Championships were held in Maniago, Italy and he won a gold medal as part of the hand cycle relay. His teammates included Americans Will Grouix and David Randall. Sanchez crossed the finish line ahead of Italy’s team to help Team USA take the gold. In addition to training and participating in adaptive sports, Sanchez has built a career sharing his story and motivating others. He travels extensively throughout the U.S. and internationally as a speaker and has served as an official spokesperson for the Challenged Athlete’s Foundation (CAF): Operation Rebound program and for organizations such as the U.S. Paralympics Committee.
In a split-second Sanchez’s life changed after his motorcycle accident. Now, as an elite athlete and speaker Sanchez changes others lives in that same split-second with his message: “There is nothing you can’t accomplish when you Know No Limits.”
THE 2018 PETEY AWARDS Community Sports Organizations • Arizona Gay Volleyball • Phoenix Gay Flag Football League Community Sports Tournament • The Saguaro Cup Community Sports Hero • Daniel Koenig, Power 10 Films, “This is How We Roll”
Emerging Sports Destination • Richmond Region Tourism Corporate Diversity Partner • Bud Light National Sports Tournament • Gay Bowl XVIII International Sports Organization • Federation of Gay Games
Community Non-Profit Organizations • Mulligans Manor • Lost Our Home Pet Foundation
SDLC Organization of the Year • North America Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA)
Community Diversity Partner • Phoenix Pride
Professional Sports Trailblazer • Arizona Coyotes
Catherine Kelly Award • Noel Guevara, Special Events & Community Outreach , Arizona Diamondbacks
Outstanding Professional Sports Organization • Arizona Diamondbacks • National Football League (NFL)
Molly Lenore Inspiring Athlete • Conard Franz Beacon Award • Patrick Gamble
Professional Sports Pioneer • Arizona Cardinals
Legacy Award • Ryan O’Callaghan, Out Retired NFL Player Mark Bingham Athlete of the Year • Sam Lehman International Athlete of the Year • Gus Larossa • To Be Presented at the 10th Anniversary Land Rover Palm Beach International Gay Polo Tournament Outstanding Host City • Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority • To Be Presented at the Sports Diversity Leadership Conference at Sin City Classic IGRA Award • Mipsy Mikels • To Be Presented at the International Gay Rodeo Association Convention in Salt Lake City
SPECIAL THANKS TO THE FOLLOWING PARTNERS (In Alphabetical Order) Absolute Alfonzo Chavez Allison Jones Angela Smith, SDL Arizona Cardinals Arizona Coyotes Arizona Diamondbacks ASANA Softball Barry Patterson Bud Light Caitlyn Jenner Catherine "CJ" Kelly, SDL Chris Balton, SDL Cloud Sports Network Connect Sports Cultural Sponge Damien Faughnan Danielle Vincenti, SDLT Diversitas Media DJ Doran, SDLT Experience Scottsdale
Erika Pumphrey Echo Magazine Embassy Suites Scottsdale Hensley HJ Trophies International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA) James Tevault Jake Mason, SDL Janelle Naderer JP Morgan Chase Ken Scearce, SDL Ketel One Vodka King's Inn San Diego Larry Ruiz, SDL Layshia Clarendon Molly Lenore, SDL NFL North American Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA) Orbitz
Patrick Higgins, SDL Petey Pride Card Services Pride Guides Richmond Region Tourism Shigeo Iwamiya, SDL Sin City Classic Snell & Wilmer SDLC Stephen Alexander Suzanne Keller Tempe Tourism Thurman Williams, SDL Visit Mesa Visit Ogden Visit Salt Lake Dr. William Kapfer and All of Our Friends, Partners & Honorees
HISTORY of the PETEY AWARDS™ A NOTE FROM PETEY
ust in case you are wondering, yeah, I’m the guy Compete modeled its award on. Compete Magazine was started by two rugby players participating in the Bingham Cup, a global rugby tournament named after rugby player and 9/11 hero, Mark Bingham.
There wasn’t much coverage of LGBTQ+ sports back in 2006 and Compete was started to address that gap. In fact, Compete is the first and only LGBTQ+ sports diversity magazine in the world, an honor that makes the entire Compete team feel very proud. The picture of me they use for the Petey Awards shows me in my rugby referee uniform. I have my hand raised representing a “try” or score in rugby. Enough about me, though. Let me tell you about the Petey Awards. In 2008, Compete Magazine started a tradition of honoring an amateur LGBTQ+ athlete each year as our Athlete of the Year. The support of the community was so overwhelming that in 2010 we presented the award to that year’s winner at a special event in West Hollywood. In 2011 we named the event the Compete Sports Diversity Awards. That event was hosted by World Rugby Champion, Ben Cohen, MBE. Atlanta played host to the Awards in 2012 and we returned to California in 2013 when I came on the scene. Compete began a new tradition of calling the event The Petey Awards, after me, Petey. We also changed the name of our Athlete of Year Award to the Mark Bingham Athlete of the Year Award to honor his commitment to gay sports and his courage under ultimate fire. In 2014 we hosted the Petey Awards in Phoenix and then returned to Los Angeles in 2015. Then in 2016 the event was hosted in Denver, Colorado and last year we staked our claim in Kansas City, Missouri for the 8th Annual Petey Awards. And this year we're in the Scottsdale, Tempe and Mesa areas of Arizona. We all sincerely hope you enjoy your evening with us.
The Awards Boss
26 COMPETE NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018
2018 FACES OF SPORTS
Photo courtesy of Sam Lehman
A POWERFUL LGBTQ CHAMPION AND COMPETE’S MARK BINGHAM 2018 ATHLETE OF THE YEAR BY CONNIE WARDMAN
28 COMPETE NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018
SAM LEHMAN Some people born with a special gift seem to intuitively follow that gift’s path without realizing it. Sam Lehman is one of those people. While he’s always been a great competitive athlete, his true gift is as a coach and mentor – he loves helping people. Whether it’s helping one of the LGBTQ sports leagues, his own team or an athlete, helping fellow LGBTQ business owners or keeping a game moving forward in his official capacity as a referee, Lehman is always there to support, motivate, empower and elevate others. He’s a powerful champion for the LGBTQ community. Saying that life has given him many gifts, he believes that “it would be selfish of me to take these gifts and go home; it's important to share and give back as much as possible.” After college graduation Lehman moved to New York City for work and came out to his family with loving results. Not long after that he met Rob Tanis-Evon, the absolute love of his life – a feeling Rob shared for Sam in equal measure. A fairytale glance across a crowded dance floor has led to their 28-year life together, including marriage in 1990. In 1997 Lehman and his friend Doug Finlay co-founded Columbia Consulting Group to provide information technology staffing and solutions. However Lehman says it was after they joined the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce or the NGLCC that the group “revolutionized my company and the way we do business “ As part of his mission to give back, Lehman is a vocal advocate for LGBTQ businesses who currently aren’t part of the chamber. “I work monthly in Washington, D.C. on a certification committee,” said Lehman, “and speak to as many new members as possible, helping them to develop success steps after certification.” In 1994 Lehman discovered LGBTQ softball and fell in love with gay sports. He has this to say about it:
“I cannot minimize the impact gay sports have had on my life. Everyone likes to feel like they belong to a community; that aspect of my life was missing before gay sports. I loved the league and all the new friends I was making. As an adult I have had three life-changing events; meeting Robbie, joining the NGLCC and finding gay sports. Each event has had a positive impact on my life.” Since then he’s played softball with the National Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA), most lately for the NY Cranky Yankees team in their Masters division. And this year he was inducted into their Hall of Fame. He’s also been actively involved in the National Gay Flag Football League (NGFFL), first as a player and later on as a referee. And Lehman’s referee work with LGBTQ leagues has broken barriers. It’s led to his working with the NFL in various roles, he’s on the referee team for USA Flag Football and he’s one of two U.S. referees working the World Flag Football Championships. All this, he says “became possible the moment I noticed a simple flyer on a coffee shop wall in New Haven, Connecticut.” Thanks to people like Sam Lehman, an openly gay man, athlete, coach, referee, businessman, advocate, mentor, friend and husband, and now Compete’s 2018 Mark Bingham Athlete of the Year, the LGBTQ community has a powerful champion.
WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU.
GAY BOWL XIX OCTOBER 10-13, 2019 HOSTED BY THE NEW YORK GAY FOOTBALL LEAGUE
GAYBOWL.ORG @NGFFLGAYBOWL ON FACEBOOK
@NYGFL ON FACEBOOK @NYGAYFOOTBALL ON INSTAGRAM
DANIELLE VINCENTI, SDLT
2018 FACES OF SPORTS
Danielle Vincenti, SDLT: HELPING RICHMOND LEAD THE WAY TO EQUALITY BY CONNIE WARDMAN As the sports diversity movement continues to grow across the U.S., if you’re a Southern city that once served as the capital of the Confederacy, a city longing to finally shed its old image and show its embrace of diversity, inclusion and equality, what do you wish for? The answer is someone just like Danielle Vincenti, CSEE, SDLT. At the tender age of 31, this Richmond, Virginia transplant from Pennsylvania is the senior sports development manager at Richmond Region Tourism. There she drives economic impact to facilities, hotels, restaurants and attractions by positioning the Richmond region as an inclusive, welcoming and premiere sports destination. She also serves as the direct link between sports event organizers and the Richmond community. Although Vincenti is a distance runner, when asked how she got involved in sports, she said that “Over six years ago I discovered the positive impact sports tourism has on Richmond and I have been hooked ever since.” She takes no credit for her beloved city’s initial desire to be more open and accepting of the LGBTQ community, however. Richmond’s history of rolling out the rainbow carpet for visitors and residents alike, she says goes back nearly 25 years. The city has been home to queer youth organizations, a nationally recognized LGBTQ community center and the only LGBTQ-focused theater company in the mid-Atlantic. In 2014 Richmond was the first city to officially come out of the closet. According to Vincenti, “We sent letters featured in LGBTQ publications in D.C., Boston and Chicago, coming out to our big city friends and inviting them to visit. At home, we welcomed the rest of the city to join us with ‘Out’ stickers proudly displayed on cars, bikes and storefronts across Richmond.” The groundbreaking OutRVA tourism campaign has made headlines in the New York Times. Using OutRVA as a model, the state tourism office, Virginia Tourism Corporation, launched a state-wide LGBTQ campaign and outreach. “We are,” said Vincenti, “a destination that is dedicated to ‘being ourselves,’ offering authentic, vibrant and welcoming experiences to all.” Trivago called Richmond the “Gay Capital of the South” and the city was internationally recognized and selected as a “Top Ten LGBTQ Destination in the World” at the British LGBTQ Awards. But the City of Richmond’s latest and most important win is receiving the highest Municipal Equality Index scorecard in the Commonwealth of Virginia. With a score of 94, it experienced the most significant score increase nationwide out of 506 municipalities scored in 2018. Richmond has been named a “MEI All-Star” and spotlighted as a “city boldly leading the way to equality.”
Vincenti is just one of many passionate allies devoted to the cause of inclusion, diversity, equality and acceptance in sports because to her, “Sports brings people together; it breaks barriers, inspires action and has the power to move the world forward.” She’s happily married and counts as her greatest personal achievement the fact that she and her husband are raising their children “to be accepting of everyone, no matter their race, gender, place of origin or who they love.” Personally, I think Richmond is pretty lucky to have Danielle Vincenti as one of its welcoming “faces!” Photo courtesy of Danielle Vincenti, SDLT
30 COMPETE NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018
Photo courtesy of Scott Switzer
2018 FACES OF SPORTS
GAY SOFTBALL WORLD SERIES
THE TEAM FOR 2019 BY HARRY ANDREW
Compete is proud to partner with the North American Gay Amatuer Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA) and its annual signature event, the Gay Softball World Series (GSWS). We know that it takes a “village” to hold a successful tournament of this scope. We’re “Goin’ to Kansas City” to play some softball next year so we caught up with executive director Scott Switzer, SDL, after this year’s GSWS in Tampa so we can feature
the faces of the 2019 Gay Softball World Series Kansas City (KC) team.
TERRI GODDARD, SDL– FUNDRAISING/SPONSORSHIP
DOUG REYNOLDS – AT LARGE
This is her 37th year involved in gay softball. She is in the NAGAAA Hall of Fame (HOF) and the local Heart of America Softball League’s (HASL) HOF. After I took this on she was the first person I called. She ran the series in Kansas City in 1999, the last time it was here.
He was also involved in the 1999 planning. This is his 30th year in softball and he is in the local HASL HOF. He has been to several of the GSWS and is really helping us nail down the player experience.
MICHAEL BREEDING – FINANCE
Caine has been involved for 15 years in KC and Tampa softball. He knows the fields like the back of his hand and has a great grasp on what players want to see. He and his partner Anthony are getting married in November.
He has been in softball for 13 years and I have played with him for about six. He is brilliant when it comes to money and has a passion to make sure we take this opportunity to educate more on HIV/AIDS which I truly appreciate.
SHEILA SHERIDAN – VOLUNTEERS
Scott Switzer, SDL, heads the the 2019 GSWS Kansas City and created this list to introduce Compete to the team putting together this monumental event. He shares a bit of background on each of his team members.
CAINE KREMENDAHL – OPERATIONS
CHAD SLATER – SOCIAL MEDIA
I have known Sheila for 10 years; she’s very organized and well respected in the league. She recently was inducted into the HASL HOF. She is a true ally of the LGBTQ community.
Chad is in his 12th year of softball. He was also inducted into the HASL HOF this year. Chad is the main LGBTQ karaoke and DJ guy in KC and has worked in all the bars. He helped me start our current softball team four years ago and helped start the local Pride night at the Royals.
TOM SIMONE – HOSPITALITY
STEFAN WHITE – MARKETING
Tom was also on the 1999 committee. He has an extensive background in hospitality. I have played/coached with Tom for the past eight years.
Stefan has been a great ally to us. He is on several boards in Kansas City. He sings in the Gay Men’s Chorus and always has fresh ideas for our website.
CAMERON WILLCOTT – COMPLIANCE He is in his fourth year of softball but also grew up around other sports. He is brilliant when it comes to contracts and makes sure we get all our ducks in a row.
DOUG WRIGHT – ADMINISTRATION I think the rest of the committee would agree that he is our glue. He has organized us and can build a template or Google form for anything. He is our main tech guy which we all knew we needed.
32 COMPETE NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018
2018 FACES OF SPORTS
ERIN PARISI “TRANSSENDS” KILIMANJARO
Photo courtesy of Erin Parisi
BY MIRIAM LATTO
The Seven Summits Challenge, climbing and summiting the seven highest peaks on each continent is a bucket list must for many avid mountaineers. And that’s true for trans woman Erin Parisi. In 2018 she’s already summited three of the seven in her quest to become the first openly transgender individual to complete this arduous challenge – somehow not surprising coming from a woman whose favorite athlete is Amelia Earhart, the pioneer for women in adventure sports.
On March 8, 2018, International Women’s Day, Parisi summited Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak at 19,341 feet. This was particularly satisfying since Parisi summited it before in 2015 when she was known as Aron (now her dead name); this year it was Erin who made it to the top. Parisi founded the nonprofit, TranSending 7 in March 2018 to advance transgender rights and encourage transgender people to get involved in sports. “It’s important for us to show that we have the same goals and aspirations that we had before,” said attorney Emma Shinn, board chair of TranSending. Also a trans woman, Shinn is a former infantry leader and judge advocate in the Marine Corps. “We may look different, we may sound different, but we’re still the same people underneath,” she said. Parisi has always been an athlete and enjoys mountain biking, backcountry skiing, international travel, geography and yoga as well as mountaineering. But going for the Seven Summits challenge is intensely personal for her. Her goal is to provide visibility for the marginalized
34 COMPETE NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018
transgender community. Stating that “discrimination, under-employment, violence, addiction, suicide and poverty are all endemic in many trans lives,” Parisi wants “to overcome the logistic, economic and social barriers” that trans persons must face. In her work to change the narrative for the trans community she’s using the International Olympic Committee (IOC) guidelines for trans athletes competing in the female category. “This means I’ve suppressed testosterone and documented those levels for a year,” Parisi says. “At these levels, the IOC has determined I have no athletic advantage for being pronounced male at birth. Completing the Seven Summits isn’t cheap and it also requires a lot of time away from your day job. Up to now Parisi has self-funded her trips but TranSending will help fund her future climbs. And she’s been with CenturyLink for 16 years, currently as a real estate manager and the company is very supportive about giving her time off and now providing funding to help her reach her goal. Her coming out journey as transgender has been a long and painful one. She came out in 2017 at age 40 but Parisi says she knew from the age of six or seven that she wasn’t like other boys and spent most of her life denying her birth gender. She called getting married “a final effort to be ‘conventional’ but it ended in divorce. Coming out as trans was the most difficult part of my life and I lost friends and my wife because of that. Despite what I lost, I gained so much more.” “In most ways I’d prefer a life without the rigors of being a trans athlete,” said Parisi. “I’m willing to put myself out in front of the world and attempt this goal because I see this moment as a watershed when we can choose a better and healthier life for generations of trans kids or continue down a path of stigma and detrimental outcomes.”
2018 FACES OF SPORTS
R. TONY SMITH
R. TONY SMITH
PLANNING & CELEBRATING MEANINGFUL CAUSES BY DIRK SMITH
If you know R. Tony Smith, then you know he refers to his career and life’s purpose as the “art and business of building and celebrating community.” Whether he’s involved in some sort of community development locally as part of his day job or involved in local or international LGBTQ+ sports, there will always be a well planned and executed celebration that gets people involved.
Thanks to the combined influence of his parents, Smith really knows how to rally people for a meaningful cause while making sure they have a good time doing it. Using his dad’s logistics expertise as a civil engineer for the Air Force and his Filipino mom’s “throwing fabulous Filipino disco and dinner parties my whole life,” he says “I engineer bringing people together based on seeing the joy of people coming together eating and dancing at my mother’s events.” Smith has been one of the most proactive people within the LGBTQ+ sports community for many years now. Hailing from Denver, Colorado, he and his husband Jim play for the Colorado Gay Volleyball Association and regularly take part in national and international events, including the Sin City Classic and the North American Gay Volleyball (NAGVA) championships. The 2019 NAGVA Championships are being held in Denver thanks in part to Smith’s active role helping his hometown secure the bid His active involvement in both the 2014 Gay Games Cleveland host committee as well as the Federation of the Gay Games itself as their chief marketing officer led to his being chosen as Compete’s 2014 Mark Bingham Athlete of the Year. Smith successfully took the lead for the Gay Games’ promotion and community involvement campaign, their “Champions” ambassador program. At the conclusion of the 2014 Gay Games Smith was elected to the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) board as their communications officer. Responsible for all publicity, communications and organization between the FGG and the Paris 2018 host committee, he also helped organize the bid process for the 2022 Gay Games that were ultimately awarded to Hong Kong. Career wise, after 18 years as the director of marketing and operations for the Cherry Creek Arts Festival (one of Colorado’s largest art festivals), Smith will be serving
Denver in a different way. His last day is November 30 and beginning in December he’ll be running for Denver City Council District 10 in the 2019 May election. Smith says he’ll be acting as the “spark plug” to reconnect all of Denver’s diverse neighbors and businesses to the city. He emphasizes that today more than ever the city’s residents need to know each other, to elevate their voices and work together to proactively support Denver’s growth in the following areas: • Innovating affordable housing •P rioritizing neighborhood preservation and safety •E levating connection to residents and businesses • Highlighting health and wellness Smith says all electronic media will be launching in early November following the elections at TonyforDenver.com as well as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @tonyfordenver. So stay tuned for the journey; Smith has a meaningful cause and you know there will be a celebration involved.
Photo courtesy of R. Tony Smith
36 COMPETE NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018
BY IAN COLGATE
TRANSF ORM ING THE LIVES OF THE BULLIED
BRYAN LEE, SDL
Photo courtesy of Bryan Lee, SDL
2018 FACES OF SPORTS
38 COMPETE NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018
Bryan Lee, SDL is the CEO and senior corporate trainer at 100% Bully-Proof. Passionate about his cause, Lee works constantly to help bullied athletes and coaches transform their lives by training them how to stand up, speak out and reclaim personal authority over bullies. By hosting Bully-Proof Bootcamps worldwide, the company is showing the power individuals carry within to change their personal dynamic; it shows participants how one person’s decision to stand up and speak out can also impact the world. Lee’s background may sound familiar to many. Growing up in a small Ohio town, sports was never on his radar. He was constantly picked on, bullied and called names for his lack of athletic ability. Always picked last for any team in gym class and placed as far out in left field as possible, physical fitness was always a nightmare. Worse yet, no one ever came to his defense or coached him to perform better. This haunted him for years. Although he’s always had a passion for tennis, Lee’s deep rooted phobia of playing sports caused him to abandon it completely for a career in entertainment. After graduating from Ashland University in 1993 he built a career on the stage instead of the court; he performed in over 20 stage productions, toured for 10 years as a stand-up comedian and acted in two motion pictures. Then it all came crashing down when his eight-year relationship ended. Not only did it leave Lee with mountains of debt but also with hundreds of extra pounds. Now feeling weak and defeated, he soon remembered his love for tennis and vowed to make a change, saying “I had this epiphany that in order to be strong, I needed to feel strong.” Beginning by working out daily, Lee shed over 100 pounds and became a Certified Personal Trainer. It was around the same time he discovered the Gay and Lesbian Tennis Alliance (GLTA) and revived his tennis passion. Entering his first tournament in 2008, he was defeated early but rebounded by winning the doubles title that same year at the United States Gay Open. Leading into the 2014 Gay Games he had amassed 34 wins and believed he’d left all those negative feelings in the past. Taking the court in his first singles match those unpleasant memories immediately flooded back as a spectator began yelling and name calling. Vowing not to let that moment define his future enjoyment of life, Lee took action and had the person removed.
In that moment, an idea was born. What if there was a company that could make events bully-proof? What if there was a training program that could empower the bullied to reclaim their personal authority? It would start with just one person – Bryan Lee. He says that “We all have the right to work and play without being threatened or verbally assaulted. We also have the right to live our lives free of fear and physical abuse.” In today’s political climate, Lee says “We cannot expect that others will stand up and fight for us; we have to do this ourselves and demand our own change. There is no stronger community than the LGBTQ+ community, and we need to lead the charge!”
2018 FACES OF SPORTS
5 Questions with
Photo courtesy of Compete Magazine
OLYMPIAN GALE FITZGERALD, SDL BY ERIC CARLYLE When I first talked to Gail Fitzgerald last year I was immediately impressed. The two-time Olympian and Pan American Games silver medalist’s personality is about as big as her 6’3” frame. Since then, Gale has served as an ambassador for Compete and the Sports Diversity Leadership Council. This year she will be hosting a panel at the Sports Diversity Leadership Fall Conference. Entitled "Gear Up Ladies!," it will serve as a developmental pilot for a talk show that is in the works – possibly with ESPN. As of this writing the panel is in the early stages of planning, but Fitzgerald has already confirmed Arizona Coyotes’ director of community relations will sit on her panel. As she prepares for the debut of "Gear Up Ladies!," I had some questions for Gale.
EC: Why do you love sports?
GF: For many reasons -- to stay in shape and live a healthier, longer life; the sheer joy of watching skillful athleticism; my competitive nature as well as the art of the game. It also builds great discipline and structure in one’s life.
EC: As an LGBTQ+ athlete, what are your thoughts about the LGBTQ+ community’s inclusion in sports diversity?
GF: Athletes are great because they have the
Eric Carlyle: What’s your personal story, Gale? Tell us something about you and what interactions you have had with the sports community? Gale Fitzgerald: As an international athlete and as a coach for basketball and track and field at NYC Community College, Cerritos College, Mt. San Antonio College and Cal State Dominquez Hills University, I've been involved and around the LGBTQ community for over 50 years. I never really “came out” in the official sense but just lived my life as Gale. Because I respected myself as a person and demanded respect from all, respect was given. My tall stature (6’3”), my short hair, my androgynous look attracted both men and women to my life. I've been a freebeing in spirit and mind with the confidence and courage to win in everything I do. I continue to win and assure everyone in my life wins also.
EC: How did you first get involved in sports?
GF: I walked across the street to a park and a coach there asked if I wanted to run track and I said yes. As a result of that choice, I was eventually able to run in the 1972 and 1976 U.S. Olympic Games and also won a silver medal in the 1975 Pan American Games in the Pentathlon.
40 COMPETE NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018
discipline, courage and drive to compete and win. LGBTQ+ athletes have even a special role in the world of sports – having the courage to be themselves no matter who they are in the sports world.
EC: Besides your "Gear Up Ladies!" talk show, what does the future hold for Gale Fitzgerald? GF: My future goals are through my non-profit organization, “Higher Power Youth Academy” that empowers youth to become capable citizens through sports, education and culture. I want to build sports centers to train youth to become Olympic and professional athletes and I also want to build a film and movie distribution studio in the Coachella Valley that rivals Hollywood. EC: Thanks for hosting our panel, Gale. And for our readers, be sure to catch the developmental pilot for "Gear Up Ladies!" on the Cloud Sports Network starting November 10.
HOLIDAY GYM BAG SELECTIONS FROM 2018 It doesn't matter if you are celebrating Hanukkah, the Winter Solstic, Christmas, Kwanzaa or simply the more friendly atmosphere of the holiday season. It’s not too early to think about what your special someone would love to see gift wrapped with their name on it this year. It could also be a fab gift for you. We’ve selected three of our great 2018 Gym Bag picks – all you need to do is grab the wrapping paper … and maybe the mistletoe. FITBIT VERSA Live your best life with Fitbit Versa—a health & fitness smartwatch with a 4+-day battery life that includes all important Fitbit features, including compatibility with iPhone, Android & Windows phones. Features include on-screen workouts, connected GPS, smartphone notifications, 24/7 heart rate tracking, phone-free music, apps, coaching and more. Available in black with a black aluminum case, gray with a silver aluminum case or peach with a rose gold aluminum case for $199.95 while the Fitbit Versa Special Edition includes Fitbit Pay. This special feature is available for $229.95 in a lavender woven band with rose gold aluminum case or charcoal woven band with graphite aluminum case, each including an extra black classic band. Customize your Versa by choosing from a range of accessories like Horween leather, stainless steel links and metal mesh bands that range from $29.95-$99.95. www.fitbit.com SPIDER INTERACTIVE PUTTER POWERED BY BLAST BY TAYORMADE® The Spider Interactive powered by BLAST is a new putting experience that combines the performance of TaylorMade’s Spider Tour putter with real-time stroke analytics powered by a Blast Motion Sensor housed in the grip. Automatically captures valuable stroke data and syncs it directly to a mobile app so you can analyze, refine and master your putting performance. Includes guided step-by-step drills to improve your putting plus app tutorial and putting tips from “Me and My Golf.” $399.99 www.taylormadegolf.com
42 COMPETE NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018
WUNDER360 C1 360-DEGREE CAMERA This 360-degree, click-to-play action video camera by Evomotion is now available at the market’s lowest price point yet it incorporates high end professional-grade image technology into an affordable, easy-to-use compact camera for the entry-level user. Essential features and specs include: 4K still picture; 3K 30fps video in-camera stitching; 1080p 60fps in-camera stitching and manually or automatically generated highlight focused flat videos. With smart EIS and time lapse/fast shooting/timer, it also includes in-app editing, social sharing and live streaming; in-app filters; beauty cam; in-app background music mixer; compatible mounting accessories including gimbals, selfie sticks and tripods, and a microSD slot. $159. shopus.wunder360.com
EVENTS: FOR A COMPLETE CALENDAR OF EVENTS PLEASE VISIT WWW.COMPETENETWORK.COM/EVENTS AQUATICS
SPMS SCM Championships 2018
Golden Apple XII
Commerce, Calif., Nov. 30-Dec. 2
Palm Springs, Nov. 10-11
New York, Nov. 10
Capital City Classic
Ft. Lauderdale, Nov. 23-25
Sacramento, Nov. 10
Milwaukee, Nov. 23
Bourbon Street Classic
Strong Beach Open
New Orleans, Dec. 7-9
Long Beach, Nov. 24
Holiday Invitational Tournament
Duel in the Desert Palm Springs, Nov. 2-3
NASCAR NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Longhorn 350
#TWINN2018 Burbank, Nov. 3-4
HOUTEX38 Houston, Nov. 9-11
Citrus Classic 2018
Fort Worth, Nov. 2
Tampa Bay, Nov. 23-25
NASCAR Cup Series: Can-Am 500
Palm Springs Open 25
Avondale, Ariz., Nov. 11
NASCAR XFinity Series: Ford Ecoboost 300 Homestead, Fla., Nov. 11
RUNNING Palm Springs Pride Run & Walk 5K Palm Springs, Nov. 3
44 COMPETE NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018
Palm Springs, Nov. 23-25
Presidents Pride Cup Washington, D.C., Nov. 24
LAVA Classic X Louisville, Dec. 8
2018 Na Hoa Aloha Invitational Honolulu, Dec. 8