2016 FACES OF SPORTS
GREG LOUGANIS - MOLLY LENORE - ANDREW CHRISTIAN MISSY PARKIN - CHRISTOPHER VOTH - TRACEY REAVIS ALEX MINSKY - MARTHA EHRENFELD - PAT SUMMITT CATHERINE "CJ" KELLY - MARK CUBAN - ERIC CERRE ESERA TUAOLO - MUHAMMAD ALI - CONNIE WARDMAN
NOVEMBER 2016 • VOL. 10 NO. 11 $3.95 • COMPETENETWORK.COM
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NOVEMBER 2016 Volume 10, Issue 11
PUBLISHERS Eric Carlyle • firstname.lastname@example.org Patrick Gamble • email@example.com COMPETE MAGAZINE Editor-in-Chief Connie Wardman • firstname.lastname@example.org Style Editor Bobby Ciletti • email@example.com Graphic Design Assistant Matt Boyd • firstname.lastname@example.org Field Ambassador Alfonzo Chavez • email@example.com Contributors Harry Andrew, Ian Colgate, Jared Garduno, Jeff Kagan, Ali Kay, Miriam Latto, Bryan Lee, Michael Losier, Kevin Majoros, Dr. Rob Elliott Owens, Brian Patrick and Sarah Woodward Photographers Thomas Fleisher, Leland Gebhardt and Robert Mercer Sales & Partnerships firstname.lastname@example.org Administration Camille Powell • email@example.com Copyright © 2016 MEDIA OUT LOUD, LLC All Rights Reserved. Corporate Office 4703 South Lakeshore Drive, Suite 3 Tempe, Arizona 85282 • 480-222-4223 Compete is a trademark of Media Out Loud, LLC MISSION STATEMENT Compete unites the world through sports.
PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRISTOPHER VOTH
7 LEFT FIELD
Grandstanding, Speed Read,Thumbs UP/DOWN
FACES OF SPORTS
9 Faces of Sports Cover Model Alex Minsky 16 Greg Louganis Diving Into the Activewear Market 18 Molly Lenore: Compete’s Original Inspiring Athlete 20 Andrew Christian Talks Design and Sports 22 Tracey Reavis: Sports Writer and Enthusiast 24 MVP Christopher Voth 26 Commitment Equals Success for Catherine “CJ” Kelly 30 Esera Tuaolo Continues to Give Back 32 Dr. Eric Cerre, NMD: Providing Extraordinary Pain Relief 34 Catching Up with PWBA Champion & Ally Missy Bellinder-Parkin 36 Martha Ehrenfeld: A Gay Games Love Affair 38 Mark Cuban: A Lifelong Maverick 40 Connie Wardman: Changing the World One
Article at a Time
Muhammad Ali and Pat Summitt
42 GYM BAG 44 EVENTS
Check out Compete stories, videos and more online at: competenetwork.com
COVER ATHLETE Alex Minsky SPORT Fitness PHOTOGRAPHER Eric Schwabel
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FROM THE SKYBOX BY ERIC CARLYLE, PUBLISHER/CEO
COMPETE – HONORING THE BEST IN SPORTS DIVERSITY @CompeteEric
hen we started the Compete Sports Diversity Awards back in 2010 who could have known how fast this event would grow? In the past six years we’ve honored a large number of truly great and worthy individuals and organizations for their important and varied contributions to the sports diversity movement over the years. Compete has honored professional athletes, such as NBA players and twins Jason and Jarron Collins; MLS player Robbie Rogers; former NFL players David Kopay, Wade Davis and Esera Tuaolo; former MLB player, now MLB vice president of social responsibility and inclusion, Billy Bean; World Rugby champion Ben Cohen, MBE; PBA bowler Scott Norton and others. We’ve honored amazing non-professional athletes, like softball/flag footballer Molly Lenore; WeHo Dodgeball’s Jake Mason; blind bowler K Marie, volleyballer R. Tony Smith and so many more. We’ve also included some wonderful LGBT athletes and advocates, like multi-sport athlete Cyd Zeigler of Outsports; HIV/AIDS advocates like swimmer Jack Mackenroth and AIDS/LifeCycle’s Kristin Flickinger as well as former basketball player, coach and now director for The National Center for Lesbian Right’s Sports Project, Helen Carroll, to name just a few. Some of the prestigious organizations we’ve honored have included Nike, MillerCoors, WaltonIsaacson, Wells Fargo, Desert AIDS Project, Team DC, the National Gay Flag Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Retired Players Association, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Mercury/Suns, among many others. This year we will be adding new honorees to Compete’s distinguished list. This year’s winners include former MLB out umpire Dave Pallone, the PGA of America and Team Colorado of the Rockies, plus a number of other award recipients (we don’t want to spoil all the surprises so check out next’s month issue for a complete list of honorees). We’ve also renamed our Inspirational Athlete Award to the Molly Lenore Inspirational Athlete Award to honor Molly, the award’s first recipient back in 2012. She is a trailblazer, someone who was then and continues to be an inspiration to all who know and work with her in sports as well as in the business world. We want future honorees for this award to recognize the legacy she has created. They’ll have big shoes to fill! The 2016 Compete Sports Diversity Awards presented by Orbitz are being held in Denver on November 10, 2016. To join us, please visit www.sportsdiversityawards.com. Sport On,
Eric Carlyle Publisher/CEO firstname.lastname@example.org
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GRANDSTANDING LETTERS TO COMPETE MAGAZINE
THANK YOU MA’AM (October 2016) I've seen the October World Gay Rodeo Finals issue – it's amazing. Thank you to you and your group.
COMPETE READER SURVEY Favorite USA Ski Destination?
Laura Scott, World Gay Rodeo Finals Director Las Vegas, Nevada RODEO DRIVE (October 2016) I really enjoyed reading the latest issue of Compete Magazine. I never thought of myself as a big rodeo fan but after reading about the World Gay Rodeo Finals, I think I am ready to jump on the horse!
David Van Eck
Other 20% Lake Tahoe 35% Park City 22%
JAKE NODAR … O’REILLY? (October 2016) Jake Nodar seems to have it all—except me!
Jason O’Reilly Phoenix, Arizona TALK TO US! Submissions to Compete should include the writer’s name, address and contact phone number and should be sent by email to email@example.com. Letters may be edited by Compete and become the property of Media Out Loud, LLC.
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FROM THE CATBIRD SEAT BY CONNIE WARDMAN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
GET INVOLVED! @CompeteConnie
s an early leader in the sports diversity movement, Compete has always had a special place in its heart for the weekend warriors – recreational athletes who love sports and freely give their time and talents to make sure that LGBT sports continue to grow, continue to provide a place of welcome and acceptance for gay and ally athletes alike. For ten years we’ve been telling their stories. We love the idea of this special “Faces of Sports” issue that, since its debut at our 2015 Compete Sports Diversity Awards, is now an annual issue. It enables us to introduce you to people you might otherwise never meet or learn about their important contributions to gay sports. These people are all involved in the sports diversity movement in one capacity or another and deserve to have their stories told. We all have a part to play in moving our society into a more inclusive and welcoming one. The people in the following pages are people just like you and me; they love sports and are actively involved in making sports available to anyone who wants to play. I hope you find their stories both enjoyable and inspirational. I hope they inspire you to become more connected to the gay sports in your community. Get involved in making some positive changes right in your own back yard. Who knows? You might wind up in Compete as a Face of Sports and we’d love that!
Connie Wardman, Editor-in-Chief firstname.lastname@example.org P.S. I had such a good time working with Laura Scott on last month's rodeo issue that I accidentally "promoted" her to director of the World Gay Rodeo Finals for three years when she was actually the assistant director for those years. She's the director for this year. My apologies to all involved!
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FACES OF SPORTS COVER MODEL
By Ian Colgate Photo by Eric Schwabel
Alex Minsky: Super Role Model HOW MANY FORMER MARINE CORPORALS HAVE 346,643 likes on their Facebook fan page and 193,000 Instagram followers? The only one I can think of is Alex Minsky, retired Marine corporeal-turned-model. While deployed in Afghanistan in 2009 Minsky’s Humvee struck a roadside bomb and he was seriously injured, losing his right leg to amputation and gaining a prosthesis he named Clark. The accident also caused a traumatic brain injury and Minsky lay in a coma, up to 58 days according to some reports. All told, his injuries kept him in the hospital for 17 months. Minsky received a Purple Heart for his injuries but it couldn’t relieve his suffering from extreme post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). His answer to the problem? Binge drinking. And when his brother died of a heroin overdose, the situation escalated, pushing Minsky into a binge that lasted 23-months. Eventually, Minsky decided to give up drinking and escape PTSD by working out. He had enjoyed the discipline of the Marines so he quickly adapted to his new fitness regime and began working out twice a day at a Los Angeles gym—fitness had become Minsky’s sport. It was then he was discovered by famed fashion photographer Tom Cullis. The photographer was intrigued by the recovering alcoholic’s dedication to fitness, especially considering his physical disability. Cullis photographed the veteran and the pictures went viral – others were equally fascinated by Minsky. As his visibility grew, Minsky was later photographed by Michael Stokes and a number of other prominent photographers; he began to be regarded as a gay icon. While Minsky may be one of Stokes’ most famous veteran models, Stokes has photographed a number of wounded combat veterans for his projects, both male
and female. This photographer looks at his models more deeply than most, beyond their physical injuries. In fact, he chooses to shoot his military subjects just as he would shoot any other model—without playing up their injuries. As an ally of the LGBT community, Minsky gained popularity across print and online media and began making a name for himself in the gay community – his revealing photos developed a cult following. But when some nude photos of Minsky leaked online, the model was admittedly shaken. However, he moved on from the incident and continued to model. In 2015 photographer Eric Schwabel produced a 2016 photoshoot and calendar with Minsky. The shoot produced an art exhibit at the Ted Casablanca Art Gallery in Palm Springs as well as the cover of Compete Magazine. Some of Schwabel’s colorful work is still available online at tedcasablanca.com. When we caught up with Minsky last month he was eager to talk to Compete but was physically and emotionally drained from a long trip to Europe. Recent Facebook posts appear to showcase a stockier, less well-kempt version of Minsky. He even admitted he’s gained some weight and has not been modeling. He recently posted a short online video titled, “When You Gained a Few Pounds But Don’t Care” that has garnered 1,600 likes and 92 comments. In an unexpected twist, instead of featuring Minsky, it features two dogs. Whether or not Minsky decides to take some time off from his modeling career to enjoy life is really up to him. The only thing I know for sure is that Minsky is definitely a supermodel, or even better, a super role model, especially for others in a similar situation. Ian Colgate has been a Compete Magazine contributing writer since 2012.
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SPEED READ BILLY BEAN ATTENDS VATICAN CONFERENCE ON FAITH AND SPORT
Billy Bean, Major League Baseball’s (MLB) vice president for social responsibility and inclusion, attended the inaugural invitation-only “Sport at the Service of Humanity” global conference on October 5-7. Launched by and held at the Vatican, Pope Francis greeted participants, telling them that “sport has the power to celebrate our community humanity, regardless of faith, race, culture, belief, gender or identity.” Calling his experience in Rome “unforgettable,” Bean shared on Facebook that “This conversation is new, but everything great has a beginning. Sports have the power to make the world a better, more accepting and inclusive place for all people regardless of our differences. The Pope's influence and words of encouragement are humbling to witness.” He continued to say that “The power and potential of sport to lift the human spirit, bring people together regardless of our cultural or economic differences, break down old barriers and instill hope is inspiring.” Bean also listed the names of other U.S. participants that included: Nick Keller of Beyond Sport United; Joanne Pasternack, executive director of the NFL 49ers Foundation; Donna De Varona, Olympic gold medalist and global ambassador for Special Olympics and her husband John Pinto; Renata Simril, LA84 Foundation CEO and Bean’s MLB collegue, Melanie LeGrande. Approximately 150 of the world’s top figures in sports, government and religion were in attendance, and the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee were honored for their special role in supporting and promoting the event. The conference is expected, according to Monsignor Melchor Sánchez de Toca Alameda, Vatican secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, “to create a movement that brings in all religions and countries,” adding that “We believe sports can be a powerful tool to make people grow.” Of all the U.S. professional team sports organizations, MLB has been arguably the most open and supportive toward the LGBT community by bringing back former player Bean, who came out of the closet after retiring from the game. The organization created two new high level positions for him, first as its new ambassador for inclusion and then promoting him to his current position. For actively changing the MLB culture from within to one of inclusion and acceptance, and for Bean’s positive, low key efforts to work with players, coaches, management and owners, Compete Magazine honored MLB and Billy Bean with a dual Pioneer Award at last year’s Compete Sports Diversity Awards held in Los Angeles.
U.S. PARALYMPIAN ALLISON JONES ENGINEERED EQUIPMENT FOR OTHER PARALYMPIAN Many know that gold-medal-winning U.S. Paralympic cyclist and skier Allison Jones is a top parathlete. They also
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may know that the out lesbian, who’s been married to her wife Sara Jarrell since 2014, also served as the flag bearer for Team USA at the Paralympic Games in Rio this summer. What many don’t know, however, is that she is also a mechanical engineer who works for Titan Robotics in Colorado Springs that offers 3D printing technology. She decided to honor her late father’s creative legacy by designing new cycling parts for athletes needing adaptive equipment. The two-time gold medalist was born without a femur in her right leg and underwent an above-knee amputation as a baby so she could more easily wear a prosthetic leg. She and her dad, who died in a July plane crash, often collaborated on new mechanical parts to improve her cycling gear. To honor her dad and to pay it forward, she wanted to help her 34-year-old teammate Billy Lister make it to the Rio Paralympics by helping to upgrade his equipment. Lister had a stroke at 17 that left him partially paralyzed, gradually losing most of his left arm function. Competing in adaptive sports brought him out of his depression but he still had trouble with his left arm. It would tighten and cause the arm to move involuntarily, ultimately producing resistance and breaking his concentration. Jones helped design and print an aerodynamic tray for Lister that not only holds his arm in place but also has extra padding on the end that hits a pressure point that relaxes his left hand and arm. In an interview with Colorado Springs station KRDO, Lister credited the 3D print technology for helping him make the U.S. team. Calling it a “game-changer,” Lister, who was able to participate in four Paralympic events as a result of the new tray, went on to say that “With this arm perch, it puts my arm in a secure position and doesn’t allow it to move around. It takes the uncontrollable nature of my arm out of the equation and allows me to ride more comfortably and a lot faster.”
CONGRATULATIONS TO KICKER KELLY MACNAMARA Kelly Macnamara, who became the first female football player in her school’s history last year, just showed her true competitive abilities by leveling a returner in a recent game. She is the kicker for the North Penn High School’s Knights football team in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, located just northwest of Philadelphia. She gets no special treatment nor has she ever played football. But when the previous kicker graduated, she tried out for the position, counting on her leg strength developed by playing soccer since age 5, to add value to the team. When the opposing kick returner was making a big return play down the sideline, she ran from center field and leveled him, sending him out of bounds. The Knights ended the game with a 33-14 win over Central Bucks, moving their season to a 7-0. A sophomore, Macnamara is the fourth ranked kicker in the state.
HUA QIU, PARIS 2018 – GAY GAMES 10 VOLUNTEER … because of his efforts, Team China is expected to bring the largest delegation ever to participate in a Gay Games. He received a special award last month at the Federation of Gay Games annual meeting in Sydney.
THE CHICAGO CUBS AND THE CLEVELAND INDIANS … for being the NL and AL champions and earning a shot at the 2016 World Series title. It’s the first World Series appearance for the Cubs since 1945. The Indians lost two World Series in 1995 and 1997 but they haven’t won a title since 1948. It’s the end of a long dry spell for both teams.
A. Holy Cow! It was Harry Caray, who once said, “Someday the Chicago Cubs are going to be in the World Series.”
THUMBS UP THUMBS DOWN
Q. As the Chicago Cubs head to the World Series, who was their wellknown radio and TV announcer who made famous the singing of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the team’s seventh inning stretch?
DONALD TRUMP … for dismissing the importance of concussions in football, calling them “a little ding on the head,” and making fun of the NFL’s new concussion protocol. The serious, often devastating short- and long-term consequences of a concussion should never be dismissed.
MLS GALAXY PLAYER ROBBIE ROGERS AND THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERPS MEN’S SOCCER TEAM … for holding an LGBT Pride Match to honor and celebrate the LGBT community as part of National Coming Out Day. Rogers is a Terp alumnus.
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FACES OF SPORTS
By Bobby Ciletti Photo courtesy of Greg Louganis
FACES OF SPORTS Greg Louganis Diving Into the Activewear Market DURING HIS OLYMPIC CAREER, PROBABLY NO other athlete went from being the most admired to the least admired in such a short time as gold medalist Greg Louganis. Winning gold medals in both the 1984 and 1988 Olympic games on both the springboard and platform, he was and still is considered to be one of the greatest divers ever. He’s the only male and just the second diver in Olympic history to sweep the diving events in back-toback years and he is also the first diver ever to be granted a perfect score of 10. But when he hit his head on a dive in 1988 and bled into the pool, it was revealed to the world at large that Louganis was both gay and HIV-positive (HIV+). He is now an active and outspoken advocate for HIV awareness and LGBT equality and has also gone on to work as a mentor for U.S. diving. And at age 56 he was chosen as a model for this year's ESPN Magazine’s eighth annual “Body Issue.” Now Louganis has decided to dive into the new and hot activewear industry as his latest challenge. It is currently one of the fastest growing apparel product categories with a constant stream of new products. While one might assume that the prices may fall as more competition enters to meet consumer demands, average prices are growing. That is thanks to luxury brands like Fendi entering the space and household names like Kate Hudson who are able to leverage their celebrity. Could these market trends be what are propelling the Olympic gold medalist to start an activewear company? As an elite competitor who doesn’t shy away from a challenge, the answer is yes. He is hoping to cash in AND to give back while competing in the ever-growing fashion space. Louganis has currently launched an IndieGoGo campaign to fund his activewear and is courting donors for $100,000 with perks ranging from a $5,000 package that includes a two-hour diving lesson along with a signed memorabilia bundle. Other perks include a $35 Greg Louganis t-shirt celebrating the 40th anniversary of his first
Olympic win taking the silver medal in the 1976 Montreal games. While the IndieGoGo campaign focuses more on Louganis’ successful diving career, it doesn’t offer any specifics regarding the line or the clothing in terms of sketches, prototypes or actual products. However, during an interview he described his line as “in development,” explaining that he hopes to start with swimwear. That seems the natural choice for someone who has had so much success in the pool. Louganis plans to offer clothing for men and women with an emphasis on fit, support and comfort. Expressing interests in yoga and dancing, he hopes to expand his brand into apparel supporting those activities and more. But will his success in sports translate into success in fashion and business? It is possible thanks to his BFA from the University of Miami in theatre. Louganis explained that his education required him to learn all aspects of theatre, including costume design which explains his love for sketching and playing with color. He also has had successful collaborations with Speedo in the past. Louganis has made a commitment to give back by donating a portion of the campaign’s proceeds to Crossing the Line Sports Summit and to The Point Foundation as well as promising to manufacture everything in the United States. First pieces he hopes will be available in summer of 2017 but he has a long way to go. At the time of this writing, his campaign has raised just over $6,000 – far from his $100,000 goal. But IndieGoGo offers a flexible campaign model so the campaign receives all donated funds, even if the goal is not reached. The campaign is actively accepting donations until November 1, 2016. For more information visit: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/greg-louganisactivewear-40th-anni-1st-medal-sports-fitness--2#/ Compete style editor Bobby Ciletti is a travel and lifestyle expert and founder of TheDaysoftheChic.com. Twitter @bobbyciletti
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FACES OF SPORTS
By Brian Patrick Photo courtesy of Molly Lenore
Molly Lenore: Compete’s Original Inspiring Athlete AT THE 2012 COMPETE SPORTS DIVERSITY Awards in Atlanta, Compete presented its inaugural Inspiring Athlete of the Year award to Molly Lenore. In her acceptance speech she called sports a wonderful metaphor for life, saying that “For me, being a transgender person means never really fitting in anywhere. But LGBT sports and the resulting community that has been created have let me be who I am – an athlete, teammate, mentor and friend.” She continued to say that “It has helped shape me; it has allowed me to preserve the bonds that I had as a male with my male teammates which is so important to me. Playing with the women has helped me feel, if only at times, that I do fit in as a woman, as a lesbian. I am not sure who I would be without sports. I really can’t imagine.” Her story continues to inspire us so with Molly’s permission, we’ve renamed the award the “Molly Lenore Inspiring Athlete of the Year Award.” The 2016 award is being presented to Chris Blanke, from Austin, Texas. Although Lenore is a passionate football player, her introduction to the LGBT community was actually through the New York Big Apple Softball League. Just a year after transitioning to Molly, she emailed them, explaining that she was transgender and asking if it was alright for her to play. Their response was “Of course!” It was one of her softball teammates who told her about the New York Gay Flag Football League (NYGFFL), then in its first season. She was put on their wait list and got to play in their second season. Since football has always been her special sport, Lenore said that “Playing with the men again felt right for me, it is what I knew; I might have changed my gender but not my mindset.” Then in 2006 Lenore was invited to play with the New York Bad Apples starting at middle linebacker as they represented New York at the Gay Games in Chicago. Not long after registering, she was informed that because her team was in the men’s division, she couldn’t play since she had registered as a female. But with the support of her teammates and Cyd Zeigler of Outsports.com, the Gay Games organizers modified the men’s division to an open one so she could play. Although starting as the lowest seed, the Bad Apples wound up winning the silver medal. Just months later she played with the New York Warriors in the National Gay Flag Football League’s (NGFFL) Gay Bowl in Dallas where the team won the first of three straight Gay Bowl championships. Following six years with the Warriors, however, in 2012 Lenore decided to play for
the New York Dolls, one of the two New York teams sent to Denver that year to play in the first ever Gay Bowl women’s division. Although it’s been hard for her not to play with the guys, Lenore says they will forever be a part of her. But it was very important to her to make sure the women’s division was successful. Part of her devotion to its success was to serve as commissioner of the NYGFFL for ten years. But there is so much more to Lenore than just football. After spending years as a mortgage banker, by age 30 she decided to honor the artist within and enrolled in art school. Then working for the iconic New York American Museum of Natural History for eight years, she collaborated with Joey Stein to create interactive spaces and large-scale interactive sculptures, an integral part of the museum’s evolution into what is now an immersive multimedia environment. Their combined drive to push the limits of technology led to them founding Moey Inc. in 2003. Part of what makes Lenore so inspiring is her willingness to talk about her life before “Molly,” helping to educate others about being transgender. When asked about the physical changes due to the required hormones and the impact on her athletic performance as a woman, Lenore says that her muscle mass has changed. She’s not as strong or fast as she used to be as a man but she also says that she’s now in her 50s so it’s hard to separate one cause from the other. Always an athlete, Lenore revealed that growing up as a boy she was active and sports-oriented, playing both football and baseball. She had a younger sister that she got along with and was definitely the big brother protective type. And her family has always been very supportive of her. Although her father has passed, she shared that even though he didn’t understand, he was supportive of her transition to a woman. Growing up in a loving and supportive family is perhaps one of the reasons why Lenore so firmly believes that people are basically good. Although Moey Inc works with top corporate and museum executives globally, many of them very conservative and protective of their personal and company/ museum reputations, Lenore isn’t aware of facing any difficulty or discrimination from them. So to you, Molly Lenore, we offer our thanks for helping us all to be more open and accepting. You are not only an inspiring athlete; you truly are an inspiring human being! Brian Patrick has been a Compete Magazine contributing writer since 2012.
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FACES OF SPORTS
By David Rae
2011 Compete Athlete of the Year Photos courtesy of Andrew Christian
Andrew Christian Talks Design and Sports AC: I’m a technically trained patternmaker, so that’s how I started in the business to pay the bills until I was about to finally start my own company. DR: What is your favorite thing about designing your clothing line? Is there one thing that makes you want to continue designing new collections? AC: My favorite thing about designing clothing is bringing joy to someone’s life. If I can design something that makes a person feel more confident or feel more sexy then I think I’ve done my job. DR: We all want to feel sexy and you always bring the sexy. Which of your current collections is your favorite? AC: My favorite new collection is my Vibe underwear. It’s underwear that is designed for gym or sports use. I use it all the time when I train in the gym. I also just introduced Vibe sportswear that is very gym-friendly.
IT SEEMS LIKE ANDREW CHRISTIAN IS everywhere these days. I turn on my TV and he is buying a second home in Puerto Vallarta on "House Hunters International," he is appearing as a special guest on RuPaul’s Drag Race (not to mention his undies on the pit crew), or seen enjoying all West Hollywood has to offer around his WeHo Boutique. I sat down with Andrew Christian to learn more about how he has grown his business into one of the TOP underwear brands around. (Make sure to check out his sexy viral video on YouTube; it really made me want to wash my car … really!) David Rae: When did you start your clothing line? Andrew Christian: I started my collection in 1997 in a small garage I was renting and actually living in. Starting a clothing line was quite a struggle in the beginning. DR: What was it that motivated you to start your clothing line? AC: I really wanted to explore my artistic vision and aesthetic of fashion. It was really cool at an early age to discover I could make money doing something I really loved. DR: Follow your passion and money will follow, as they say. Everyone knows you make sexy underwear but how did you get started in the apparel business?
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DR: Great idea. It seems that many people today are more fashionable when heading to the gym than walking down the street. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. But what inspired you to create a sportswear line that includes track suits and training shorts? AC: My sportswear collection is really items that I like to wear on a daily basis. DR: Now in its tenth year, Compete is all about sports and the role it plays in bringing together the gay and straight communities. Is there a professional swimmer you would like to see model Andrew Christian swimwear? AC: I would love to have Marcelo Chierighini of Brazil model Andrew Christian swimwear. He has the body and face of a god. DR: Well hello there, readers. Do yourself a favor and Google Marcelo Chierighini – we’d like to see him wearing practically anything. On a similar note Andrew, which professional athlete would you like to see model Andrew Christian underwear? AC: I would love to see David Boudai wearing a pair of Andrew Christian. All I have to say is “hunk.” DR: I prefer his diving partner Steele Johnson. Of course, I’m still waiting to run into Tom Daley running around Los Angeles sometime with his fiancé, Dustin Lance Black. With all this focus on sports, did you play sports in high school or college, Andrew? AC: I did not play sports in high school or college; I was more the nerdy marching band type.
DR: I feel you. I played football but eventually ended up in the chorus. Advantages both ways, but music is more fun. Jumping ahead to today, are you now playing any sports? AC: I don’t play any sports currently. But I am very active at the gym and enjoy doing yoga and hiking on the weekends.
DR: That sounds great and healthy. Do you have a favorite sport? AC: I really enjoy watching men’s gymnastics. It’s pretty incredible what the human body can do. DR: Let’s get some of those gymnasts into or out of your clothing. Which sports team is your favorite? AC: The LA Dodgers. It’s my hometown and I also can’t resist a Dodger Dog. DR: Who is your favorite professional athlete? AC: Mark Sanchez, the Jets quarterback. DR: Gotta’ love the former USC quarterbacks, but I’m biased. (Editor’s note: David’s father is Mike Rae, quarterback for the 1972 national champion USC team and a 12-year NFL veteran player.)
DR: Do you have a favorite clothing designer? AC: I would have to say Karl Lagerfeld is my favorite designer of all time. He has been so influential on the fashion world in addition to being a pop icon. DR: Check out his book, “The Karl Lagerfeld Diet.” It contains great insights into aging well. Would you like to design uniforms for a professional sports team? AC: It would be super awesome to design uniforms for a sports team. It would be a challenging project but so much fun. DR: What did you think of Ralph Lauren’s Olympic-wear designs for the summer games in Rio? AC: I think the uniforms were very well done – they’re classic Americana. DR: Life seems to be going well for you. I see you’ve purchased a second home in Puerto Vallarta. What does the future hold for Andrew Christian, personally? AC: I’m just enjoying the path that life is taking me on and the great friends I have in my life. DR: What does the future hold for Andrew Christian, the business? AC: A continued focus on men’s underwear. But I plan to expand into other product categories and I am also working on an art book. DR: It will be fun to see what you come up with next, Andrew. Thanks so much for talking with me. David Rae is a certified financial planner and 2011 Compete Athlete of the Year who lives in Los Angeles with his husband and two Chihuahuas. www.financialplannerla.com
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FACES OF SPORTS
By Eric Gonzales Photo courtesy of LAVO
Tracey Reavis: Sports Writer and Enthusiast ence. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to be an integral part of creating that. I have been around sports my whole career, covering events both in the U.S. and around the world; I’ve also been in locker rooms of professional sports teams. And yet I will tell you that the day of the first WeHo Sports Festival, I was overwhelmed with a sense of belonging, of friendly competition and a feeling that all are welcome. I have never experienced that before and it gave me goose bumps. I want everyone participating in the Gay Games to experience that same feeling. EG: Tell us about your favorite professional and/or college sports teams. TR: I’m originally from New York and have been a Yankees fan since I was 11. That’s my only favorite team. And of course I always cheer for my alma mater — Go Fordham Rams!
TRACEY REAVIS LEADS THE COMMUNICATION AND marketing effort for the Los Angeles Volleyball Organization, Inc. (LAVO) as well as its award-winning annual tournament, the West Hollywood or WeHo Sports Festival (WSF). In May LAVO submitted a bid to host Gay Games XI in Los Angeles in 2022, the 40th anniversary of the event’s founding, and Tracey has also taken on the role of director of digital ccommunication and strategy for the bid. I am happy to introduce to you to this busy woman who is an important face of the sports diversity movement. Eric Gonzales:What sports have you played in the past, Tracey? Have you always been a sports fan? Tracey Reavis: I’m a huge sports fan! If I had to choose I’d say soccer, American football and golf are my favorites. But seriously, there’s probably not a single sport I won’t watch. Growing up I always loved writing so I didn’t think of becoming an athlete because I knew I wanted to be a sportswriter. Working in the sports industry is exactly where I planned to be. EG: Please tell us your role with the LA 2022 Gay Games bid and what you consider the best thing about working with it. TR: It evolved from working with LAVO on the West Hollywood Sports Festival. We want to continue bringing the sports community together and what better way than by hosting the Gay Games? Developing a digital communications strategy will be a fun and creative way to use technology on a grand scale at a global sporting event to engage the LGBT sports community. It’s about connecting; it’s about giving participants a unique and exciting experi-
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EG: How about sharing some of your favorite past times with our readers, Tracey. TR: There are so many. I love reading, music, flowers, traveling, learning new languages — I’m studying French and German now. EG: With all your hard work, have you received any special awards honoring your achievements? TR: Honestly, my reward comes from knowing that I am helping others. Having the Gay Games in Los Angeles will be a dream come true for so many athletes, and I’m happy to help play even a small part in making that happen. I am also working to make it easier for minorities and underserved communities to be informed about the opportunities that exist in the digital industry. My goal is to eventually create a non-profit. Launching that will be a huge reward for me. EG: Have you had a role model, someone who has positively influenced you along the way? TR: I have lots. I am fortunate to have a number of former bosses and mentors who have set many great examples that I’ve followed throughout my career. I’m also inspired by people who have overcome great obstacles. The human spirit is amazing, and stories of faith and triumph always remind me to “keep kicking,” because anything is possible. EG: Thanks for letting us get to know you better and the roles you play within the LGBT sports community, Tracey. Is there anything else you’d like to share with Compete’s readers? TR: I’d like to thank all the volunteers and supporters of the Gay Games bid. We really are our slogan — “One Team, One Dream.” Eric Gonzales is the executive vice president of LAVO (www.playlavo.org )and executive director of the WSF (www.wehosportsfestival.com).
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CHRISTOPHER (CHRIS) VOTH
Photos courtesy of Christopher Voth
FACES OF SPORTS
AGE: 26. HOMETOWN: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada CURRENT RESIDENCE: Winnipeg. SPORTS: Indoor volleyball. RELATIONSHIP STATUS: Partnered. FAVORITE TEAM: Menâ€™s Indoor Volleyball Canadian National Team. INTEREST: Many different sports, volunteering for LGBT organizations. BEST PHYSICAL FEATURE: Shoulder. FAVORITE ATHLETE: Roger Federer. WHY DO YOU LOVE SPORTS? It was a place where I could always go to be me and spend time with my best friends. SPORTS PLAYED: Volleyball (beach and indoor), badminton, squash and basketball. GREATEST PERSONAL ACHIEVEMENTS: Coming out publicly. GREATEST ATHLETIC ACHIEVEMENT: CIS Rookie of the Year (2008/2009), All Canadian and the 4 championships in The Netherlands (Super Cup, Dutch Cup, North Dutch Cup and Erendivise League Champions).
To be included in our MVP section, e-mail: MVP@competenetwork.com
FACES OF SPORTS
CATHERINE “CJ” KELLY
By Chris Blanke
2016 Molly Lenore Inspiring Athlete of the Year Photo courtesy of Catherine Kelly
Commitment Equals Success for Catherine “CJ” Kelly and was able to have a voice within the delegate body. I worked on several committees — annual giving, archives and sponsorship before being elected business development director at the winter meetings in 2016. CB: What is your role as business development director? CK: I have three main roles in that position: 1. partnership/sponsorship dollars and relations 2. branding and awareness and 3. external marketing/PR (e.g., press releases, social media and website) CB: What’s been your biggest challenge in this position? CK: So far it’s been getting previous sponsors to re-engage, not only for the Gay Softball World Series (GSWS) but for all of NAGAAA’s events – to get them to consider multi-year contracts and longer-term partnerships, basically moving them from a yearly sponsorship model to an integrated multi-year partnership. It’s easier with new partnerships since we’re using the new model as the gold standard.
I AM PLEASED TO INTRODUCE COMPETE READERS to Catherine Kelly of the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance, also known as NAGAAA. Chris Blanke: First, do you prefer to be called “CJ” or Catherine? Catherine “CJ” Kelly: I actually answer to either. CB: Tell us a little about you – where are you from and where do you live now? CK: I currently live in Kansas City, Missouri. But as an Air Force brat, I was born in Ruislip in Greater London and I grew up in Japan, Florida, Texas, Kansas and Nebraska. But my formative years were spent in Nebraska and I went to college there so I consider myself a Nebraska Cornhusker. I love football – my Huskers and my Kansas City Chiefs. CB: Tell us how, when and why you got involved with NAGAAA. CK: I first discovered NAGAAA (and gay softball) in 20022003 in Kansas City while playing for the Rabid Kittens in the Heart of American Softball League (HASL). Attending my first series in Washington, D.C. in 2003, I loved the experience at the national level and joined the local board in 2004 as recruitment director. I sponsored a few teams, did some fundraising and then became HASL open commissioner from late 2006 to 2009. While I was open commissioner I was introduced to NAGAAA as a delegate
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CB: What is your favorite thing about being business development director? CK: It’s to sit on the NAGAAA board and play a direct role in determining the organization's strategic direction, making a lasting impact through objectivity and service. I now am a member of the NAGAAA team at the high decision-making level. It’s where I believe I can make the greatest impact and keep moving the organization forward by implementing a long-term plan for sustainability. CB: What role do you play in host city selection for the GSWS? CK: I’m invited to site visits to work with a host city during the bid and to help certify the bid. In working with the host committee, I offer advice and counsel about strategic partnerships, event venue contracts, etc. Then, like all other board members and delegates, I get to cast my vote for my bid preference for the next GSWS host city. CB: What was your role as co-chair for the recent 40th anniversary of the GSWS? CK: With co-chair Brian Reinkober (Milwaukee), I was able to work with a great committee to ensure event awareness and branding for the important 40th anniversary of NAGAAA’s GSWS and NAGAAA’s own 40th Anniversary. We kicked it off at the 2016 GSWS and will celebrate through to the end of 2017. NAGAAA is Gay Softball — 1977 to 2017. (Continued on page 28)
FACES OF SPORTS
CATHERINE “CJ” KELLY
Continued from page 26. Photo courtesy of NAGAAA
CB: How do you see NAGAAA evolving over the next three-to-five-years? CK: I see NAGAAA growing exponentially with more regional qualifying tournaments as limitations on host cities to support a 200-250 GSWS become apparent. I see more committee involvement and more partner-branded tournaments and events. CB: What would you say to someone who is interested in becoming more involved in NAGAAA? CK: Speak up, commit and take action. Show the board your willingness to help not only with words but also through your actions. NAGAAA is growing and with growth comes opportunity, so raise your hands and roll up your sleeves. CB: And if someone wants to get more involved, say with a NAGAAA committee or a board position? CK: If you have a passion and want to explore it, speak up. If you have a skill or talent and want to use it, commit to helping. If you want to be a part of the changes, take action and volunteer. It’s that easy. Inform board members and committee chairs of your passion, talent and willingness to volunteer. There is always room in an organization for those who work to make the organization stronger. CB: How do you find the time to manage your career and NAGAAA volunteer duties? CK: In my full-time job I help grow non-profits, getting them to think more strategically and focus more on running it like a business. I look at NAGAAA as another non-profit on which I need to divide my time and focus my attention. My time increases to 14 hours on some days but you can’t bring about change if you aren’t willing to make sacrifices as part of that change. I always want to leave an organization stronger than when I discovered it. I have tried to do that at the committee level and I intend to have it be my legacy at the national level. Being on a board, any board, takes some level of commitment in order to be successful. The more the commitment, the greater the success. CB: What NAGAAA insights do you think players need to be aware of? CK: It’s easy to make the right call or offer advice to a coach when you are sitting in the bleachers. But after-the-fact action isn’t as satisfying as being a part of the action. If you don’t like the rules of the game, the type of events, the fundraising options, the fields or location, the equipment used, etc., be a part of changing all of it. Get involved in your local league. If you want to do more on a national level, join a committee, chair a committee or run for a board position. Just remember, if you commit to it – DO IT!
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CB: What is your sports background? CK: From playing baseball as a kid, to volleyball, basketball and intramural sports in high school and college, I’ve tried a number of sports. I’ve also played on some sports teams through various jobs I’ve had. When I joined HASL, I basically had D-level skills and probably will not ever be more than an eight and I’m okay with that. Playing is not number one for me. I enjoy the game but not for sport — the camaraderie and social aspect of softball are the most important elements for me. I’m convinced I’m too old to play sports, anymore. I’m out of shape and disinterested in bad knees and sprained ankles. CB: On a particularly challenging day, do you have a favorite saying that buoys your spirits and keeps you moving forward? CK: That’s a hard one. But, I’d have to say, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” And a very close second to that would be, “Sometimes laughter is the best medicine.” CB: What bit of sage advice would you give your younger self? CK: Listen more. You will come to know people who are much smarter than you. Cherish the wisdom and knowledge others impart to you, even if you don’t always agree. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Find ways to work smarter, not harder and you will be able to accomplish a lot more in a day than most. Trust people to do the right thing; you won’t be disappointed. Help others; that will be the greatest reward later in life. CB: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me, Catherine. And continued success in all your efforts with NAGAAA and your other non-profits. If you have questions about NAGAAA you can reach “CJ” by calling 636-3NAGAAA (362-4222) or emailing her at email@example.com. Chris Blanke is from Austin, Texas and is a sports enthusiast who has played rugby, softball and flag-football.
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FACES OF SPORTS
By Brian Patrick Photo courtesy of Esera Tuaolo
Esera Tuaolo Continues to Give Back THE FREEDOM TO BE WHO YOU ARE AS AN athlete today, to publically declare that you’re gay is something that would never have been possible without the early professional gay athletes who were courageous enough to come out. This was a time when they could lose it all – jobs, family, friends. One of these is former NFL player Esera Tuaolo who, after retiring from football, came out in 2002 on HBO’s Real Sports. He was the third NFL player to do so, following in the footsteps of David Kopay in 1975 and Roy Simmons in 1992. A 300-pound defensive lineman of Samoan origin, Tuaolo not only played like a pro, he absolutely looked the part. It’s hard now to believe that he actually lived in fear of being outed for his nine seasons in the NFL and even contemplated suicide. In 2006 his book, “Alone in the Trenches: My Life as a Gay Man in the NFL” was released, recounting how he had to live a lie to fit into the macho world of professional football. Some of his former teammates admitted that had they known he was gay, they’d have tried to injure him so they wouldn’t be viewed as gay, too.
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In a 2014 interview with Ross Forman, Tuaolo talked about the importance of remembering the gay athletes who were the “trailblazers, those people who laid down their lives, their blood so the younger generation can be who they are." Tuaolo also said that "David Kopay is my hero, my rock. If I didn't read his book in 1996, I probably would be dead right now—and I'm not joking about that. For him to have been brave in the 1970s and try to educate people, he really was the brave one, amid death threats and so much more." Since his coming out Tuaolo has continued to be a constant advocate for the LGBT community, traveling across the country to speak about inclusion. He has worked with the NFL to combat homophobia in the league and he appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2004 to share his story. But he will also visit high schools, colleges, corporations, even local church groups to talk about homophobia and the dangers of bullying as a now proud, openly gay man. Born in Hawaii, Tuaolo was raised in an Assembly of God Pentecostal Church which looked at homosexuality as a sin or curse. Because of his strict religious upbringing,
he particularly likes to address religious groups to share his personal experiences and to use his knowledge of the Bible to counter their homophobic views based on their narrow religious interpretation. Yet for all he’s faced, his message is still one of tolerance, acceptance and inclusion. He learned Hawaiian cooking from his mother and now has a catering business in the Minneapolis area. With a voice as big and powerful as his body, Tuaolo is also known as the “Singing Chef” because if requested, he will also sing at events he caters. But he’s really known for singing the National Anthem at various NFL games and at other events like the 2014 Compete Sports Diversity Awards where he was awarded Compete’s Legacy Award for his ongoing contributions to inclusion and acceptance. The devoted father of 16-year-old twins, Tuaolo’s goal in life is to educate people, to help create a world for his children where sexual orientation will never hinder them from reaching their full potential. No one can leave a better, more loving legacy than this. Brian Patrick has been a Compete Magazine contributing writer since 2012.
Pictured above, Henry Beam, Beam Law, PLC
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FACES OF SPORTS
DR. ERIC CERRE
By Eric Carlyle Photo courtesy of Dr. Eric Cerre, NMD
Dr. Eric Cerre, NMD: Providing Extraordinary Pain Relief doctor so I could use trigger point injections on people instead of horses. After attending the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona, I opened my practice in Chandler, Arizona in 2010. I use trigger point injections for pain or injuries in all parts of your body – headaches, migraines, carpel tunnel, Achilles tendon pain, etc. Your injuries may have been from a sports injury, a motor vehicle accident or just living life.
NAME ME AN ATHLETE WHO DOESN’T HAVE SOME type of pain after years of playing sports. I’ll bet you can’t name one. Whether it’s small lingering effects or on up to high levels of chronic pain, athletes all want to extend their bodies’ abilities to play sports while still eliminating the accompanying pain. I had an opportunity to interview Dr. Eric Cerre, a naturopath who, after experiencing years of undiagnosed and untreated chronic pain, himself, has gained a reputation for providing extraordinary pain relief for others, including athletes. Eric Carlyle: Did you always know you wanted to be a naturopath, Dr. Cerre? Dr. Eric Cerre: Actually, I began my medical career as a chiropractor in Texas, practicing for over 20 years. A medical doctor in our office started to train me in a technique of pain management using trigger point injection. He was a protégé of Dr. Janet Travell, famous for pioneering treatment of myofascial pain who served as personal physician to President John F. Kennedy. It is her technique that I now use in my practice. EC: So that’s what led you into the field of naturopathy, then? DrC: Yes, after training for six years with Dr. Travell’s protégé, I decided to become a naturopathic medical
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EC: But what happens if your pain isn’t better after this treatment? DrC: Some injuries require more to get you back to your sport or just back to your own life. If your pain issues are not better after trigger point injections, then in those cases I also can perform PRP – Platelet Rich Plasma, also called Stem Cell Therapy. PRP uses your own blood that is drawn in our office, processed in a special centrifuge and injected into the injured area. I have had great success using PRP. This is a non-surgical procedure that is very effective in healing and retraining your injured muscles. PRP is also used for the P-Shot for men and the O-Shot for women. In addition to pain management, I work with patients needing some hormone therapy, be it thyroid, testosterone, estrogen, progesterone etc. Having balanced hormones is a key to your total body health and they’re also an important part of the P-Shot and O-Shot to help you receive the maximum benefits. EC: Not that horses aren’t athletic in their own right, but what kind of human athletes have you treated? DrC: I have treated professional athletes, marathon runners and weekend warriors – athletes that run the gamut from rodeo riders, race car drivers, swimmers, golfers to football and basketball players – you name it. As long as you follow my protocol for your treatment, you should be back to the top of your game after treatment. EC: What sports did you play growing up? DrC: Because of my life-long history of pain, I was not active in sports although I do enjoy watching the Arizona Cardinals play when I have some down time. My wife Mary Beth and I have worked hard running our business to help people with their pain. I am very thorough and want you to get better – my goal is really to get you back to the pain-free body you remember. Eric Carlyle, CEO of Compete Magazine, has played baseball and rugby and is a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan.
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FACES OF SPORTS
By Bryan Lee Photo courtesy of Missy Parkin
Catching Up with PWBA Champion & Ally Missy Bellinder-Parkin BL: So in your sport the women continue to compete with the men? MBP: Well, the Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) began again in 2015 so we now have our own full-time tour. BL: I recently caught up with your best friend and fellow professional bowler, Scott Norton. He mentioned that in addition to being a professional bowler, he was also an attorney. Do you also have a second job you do in your “free time?” MBP: [Laughs] Bowling is my life. In addition to bowling, my husband and I own three bowling pro shops and we are always looking to expand those; eventually we’d like to open more. I also coach and teach private lessons when I am at home.
AS A MEMBER OF THE PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S Bowling Association (PWBA), Melissa Bellinder-Parkin is better known as Missy to her friends, competitors and fans. Fresh off of her two recent titles at The PABCON Adult Championships (Singles Gold Medalist) and her title defense at the 2016 PWBA Parkin’s Bowling Supply Open, I was able to sit down with her to strike up a game of catch up. Bryan Lee: Missy, let’s kick this interview off with a simple question. Why did you decide to become a professional bowler? Missy Bellinder-Parkin: It’s the only thing I’ve always wanted. Even in school as a young girl, when people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always, “I want to be a professional bowler.” My father was a professional bowler and owned a bowling pro shop, very much like golf pro shops. So I grew up surrounded by bowling – I was always in a bowling alley so this just seemed like a natural fit. BL: In what year did you turn pro? MBP: In 2004. I had hoped to join the professional women’s bowling tour but just as I turned professional, the tour folded. So I became the first woman to join the men’s Professional Bowlers Association (PBA). I would later become the first woman to win three PBA regional titles and earn the highest finish ever by a woman at both the 2012 USBC Masters and 2012 PBA U.S. Open.
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BL: Now for the tough question: What is the best way to get over a devastating loss, like the one you encountered at the 2010 USBC Queens tournament? How do you cope with situations like that? MBP: It actually fueled me to work harder in the following months. I changed some things about my game, such as my ball grip and really focused on ways to get more strikes. The end result was that I came back to the 2011 USBC Queens and went one step further by winning it. Everyone can learn something from defeat! BL: As a huge tennis fan, one of my favorite players is Serena Williams. I see her fast approaching retirement at age 35. Do careers in bowling also come to a close in your mid-thirties? MBP: Actually it’s quite the opposite. When you are in your 30s you are pretty much in the prime of your career. It’s quite possible to play this sport well into your 50s. Pete Weber is still playing on the tour and I think he is 54, and Walter Ray Williams Jr. is in his late 50s. If you stay healthy, you can continue to play this sport well into your 50s and beyond. BL: If you stay healthy. Do you have any keys to staying healthy in your sport? MBP: Yoga! I have found that yoga helps to even out the body and get you mentally dialed in. It also helps to prevent injuries. Throughout my career I have struggled with various injuries but once I started doing yoga, I discovered that I stopped getting injuries. To learn more about Missy visit her website at http://www.MissyParkin.com. Bryan Lee is a National Exercise & Sports Association (NESTA) certified personal trainer, life coach and author who has lost over 130 pounds.
Bryanâ€™s Upcoming Appearances Oct. 22, 2016 Words Of Wisdom Live Event Phoenix, AZ Oct. 24, 2016 Speakeasy Success Series Phoenix, AZ Nov. 9, 2016 Sports Diversity Leadership Workshop Denver, CO Nov. 10, 2016 Compete Sports Diversity Awards Sponsored by Orbitz Denver, CO Jan. 12, 2017 Sports Diversity Leadership Conference Las Vegas, NV
FACES OF SPORTS
By Doug Litwin Photo courtesy of Federation of Gay Games
Martha Ehrenfeld: A Gay Games Love Affair
Pictured: L - Carla McKay, R - Martha Ehrenfeld
MARTHA EHRENFELD FIRST CONNECTED TO THE Games in 1994 by volunteering at a skating rink at Brooklyn’s famous Coney Island; she still has her first Gay Games t-shirt from the event. Fast forward more than twenty years and Martha is now the officer of sports of the international Federation of Gay Games (FGG) board of directors. She has come a long way from a hesitant volunteer to an active promoter of the Games. Growing up in New York City during the 1970s and ‘80s there were few opportunities for girls to play organized sports. Martha’s high school offered only volleyball and basketball and she started playing tennis at an after-school tennis club. Exposed to lacrosse and field hockey in college, in her senior year she joined a late-night ice hockey club. Once she realized she could buy hockey skates and play, she became captain of the Brooklyn Blades women’s ice hockey team. But she was neither out nor connected to any organized LGBT sports organization. Martha had been aware of the Gay Games but didn’t feel comfortable attending them alone since she wasn’t part of an organized team. That all changed when she moved to San Francisco in 2002 and stumbled on a tennis tournament being held by the Gay and Lesbian Tennis Federation, an affiliate of the Gay and Lesbian Tennis Alliance (GLTA). She immediately joined the club, volunteered for the board, created the first women’s director position, became vice president and eventually was voted into the club’s Hall of Fame. Now part of Team San Francisco, she found tennis partners interested in training for the Chicago Gay
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Games in 2006. In fact, she fell in love with her women’s doubles partner in what she calls her “figure skating pairs moment.” “We were out dancing after winning our silver medal in tennis and we had our first kiss. We figured we already had the matching outfits, let’s make this more than a partnership on the courts.” Martha and Carla McKay were married in 2010 and honeymooned at the Cologne Gay Games that year where they won the gold medal in women’s B doubles tennis. Martha also attended her first annual general assembly (AGA) as her team's representative. Having served on the Cleveland 2014 steering committee guiding the host city, she worked alongside Rob Smitherman, a veteran of operations for three previous Games, and that experience now guides her current work. At the AGA in Bulgaria in 2012 she joined the FGG Board as the women’s sports chair. Hoping to continue her role through Paris 2018 Gay Games 10, Martha strives to encourage international LGBT sports organizations to work closely with the Gay Games host while having realistic expectations for their sports. As Martha often tells people, “We are trying to put on an Olympic-like event with a non-profit budget and mostly volunteers.” Reflecting on her love affair with gay sports, Martha says that “being a participant in three Gay Games has been a life-changing experience. Marching in the opening ceremony and meeting athletes from around the world has been fantastic. I love that I have Facebook friends who are guiding LGBT sports in their cities and we connect every four years.” She admires the young people that she has met from Russia and South Africa who have come alone to Gay Games. When asked by gay athletes in their twenties why she feels the need to have a separate event, Martha replies that coming together in one place with a huge group of LGBT athletes is a uniquely positive and powerful experience. “It inspires you to reach out and help others who think they are alone.” Martha and Carla have been active donors to the Gay Games Scholarship Fund which provides travel and registration for underrepresented individuals. The couple has now offered a $20,000 challenge grant to the FGG. Their hope is to inspire people to give so that others may enjoy what many take for granted. At Paris 2018 - Gay Games 10, Martha will run the 5K, 10K and half marathon as well as play some tennis on the red clay. Retired from tennis due to injury, Carla now competes in triathlons and will be participating in the Olympic distance triathlon. As Martha says, “ I feel so lucky and grateful for the Gay Games. How could I not give back to them?” Doug Litwin is Officer, Marketing, Federation of Gay Games.
FACES OF SPORTS
By Connie Wardman Photo courtesy of PRPhotos
Mark Cuban: A Lifelong Maverick
MARK CUBAN IS PROBABLY BEST KNOWN BY most people as owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team or as a panelist on the reality television series, “Shark Tank” that enables entrepreneurs to showcase their businesses to a panel of investors. With a net worth estimated to be over $3 billion, Cuban is a textbook example of a successful entrepreneur, a maverick who trusts his intuition and blazes his own path to success without allowing himself or others to pigeonhole him. He’s been less well-known as an outspoken ally to the LGBT community until the massacre at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 11 that killed 49 people. Cuban immediately donated $1 million to the Dallas police department that will be used, according to police chief David Brown, “primarily to protect the LGBT community. We will earmark and track the expenditure of these funds to ensure its effective use in creating a safe environment." In an email to CNBC following his donation, Cuban said, "It was the right thing to do and I will do more of it in a future." So how did a nice boy from Pittsburgh, son of a car upholsterer, wind up being an LGBT ally and an Athlete Ally advisory board member whose role involves advising the group on programming to make sports a more welcome place for gay athletes and fans? Perhaps it’s because in true entrepreneurial fashion, Cuban doesn’t really care what other people think about him, a trait that’s evidenced by his outspokenness, and he has over $2 million in NBA fines for years of controversial comments to prove it.
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Following NBA player Jason Collins’ courageous and historic coming out in 2013 and former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam’s coming out the next year, Cuban appeared on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live” show in 2014 and said that coming out as a gay athlete is a “non-event.” Rather than being dismissive, Cuban was actually paying tribute to the progress that had been made. “It actually, literally, is a non-event," Cuban said. "Ever since Jason came out and MLS player Robbie [Rogers], it's changed radically. How many states now allow gay marriage? And [homosexuality] has become so accepted, it's a non-event. Just in the span of six, 12 months, it's changed dramatically." Of course then as now, there are many on both sides of the issue who don’t agree with him; some not seeing it as a welcome sign of progress and others not seeing it as enough progress. But Cuban is one who views society with a “glass half full” lens. Cuban has always had that talent for spotting “glass half full” opportunities and been willing to work for what he wants. But he’s never followed the standard linear path to achievement, instead often leapfrogging his way forward. Starting at age 12 he sold garbage bags to earn money to buy a pair of shoes he liked and then started earning money in high school as a stamp and coin salesman. But his hustle didn’t stop there. During his junior year in high school he started taking psychology classes at the University of Pittsburgh. It prompted him to skip his senior year and enroll in college full-time. After a year at at Pitt, he transferred to Indiana University where, in order to continue paying for his education, he started giving dance lessons that morphed into hosting what’s been described as “lavish disco parties.” It was here he and business partner and fellow Indiana alumnus Todd Wagner launched into the media business that became the bedrock of Cuban’s wealth. But it was launched partly because he wanted to listen to Indiana Hoosier basketball games online, something that puts his purchase of the Mavericks in a new perspective. Perhaps the following statement Cuban wrote in 2013 best describes his role as an ally in the sports diversity movement: "It's a new world. Everyone should know that they can be themselves in sports. Leagues like the NBA, their teams and players have a great opportunity to set an example and spread a message to people who are either LGBT or straight that our culture should be celebrated for diversity and individual authenticity." I couldn’t agree more! Connie Wardman is Compete Magazine’s editor-in-chief. As a band geek, she played for every school sporting event held and she’s a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
FACES OF SPORTS
By Eric Carlyle Photo by Brock Elliott Photography
Connie Wardman: Changing the World One Article at a Time
IF THERE IS ONE PERSON WHO TRULY SYMBOLIZES sports diversity, it would be Compete’s editor, Connie Wardman. Though she never really played a sport in school (no, music doesn’t count), she works tirelessly to support the LGBT athletic community to which her son, Jeff, belonged. If you know Connie at all you know about her son Jeff. He was a world-class professional dancer and singer who set the stage ablaze with his talent and athletic ability. For many years Connie and I disagreed on whether or not dancing was a sport—that is until she showed me a video of Jeff dancing and I had to admit that anything that involves that many muscles has to be considered a sport! While she loves her Pittsburgh Steelers, Connie has never been a big sports fan. In a way, that continues even today as the editor-in-chief of Compete Magazine. But one thing she does love is people, and Compete gives our “Irish storyteller” that in the steady stream of athletes, sports fans and advocates she interviews and writes about. A true crusader in the world of sports, I can’t even count the compliments I’ve received about her good work. I know she has saved at least one life thanks to a letter we received from a suicidal reader named Tom who thanked Compete and specifically, Connie for her work. Tom said Connie’s article on 9-11 hero Mark Bingham and his mother made him think twice about taking his own life. “Mark’s mom didn’t have a choice, she lost her son. I
| COMPETE | November 2016
don’t want to put my mom in that position,” he wrote. I’m happy to say that two years later we received an update from Tom who is doing much better now and has a greatly improved relationship with his mother. When I’m at events with Connie, complete strangers come up just to hug her. I’m not sure if they always recognize her from her work at Compete or if they’re just drawn to her loving, caring energy. Every time we attend the Sin City Shootout Sports Festival in Las Vegas a virtual line forms to meet her, many of the athletes expressing gratitude for her writing and being a sports pioneer. One thing I can say for sure about Connie is that she really cares. She has no other mission than to “unite the world through sports.” It also doesn’t have to be done according to her plan. She’s seen so many sports writers mandate that sports diversity or equality evolve according to their plan and on their timetable. Instead, she is looking for the end result, whatever path it may take. When her son died, Connie lost a little piece of herself. In a 14-month period, in addition to Jeff, she also lost her husband and adoptive mother. We were working together at the time although she wasn’t yet our editor. She vowed to help change society into a more open, loving and welcoming one for LGBT “kids” of all ages. Connie describes Jeff to me as a warm, loving, outgoing soul addicted to sequins and the stage. And as drag queen Crystal Sinclair, she was always the classy winner of numerous awards. He/she was always the first one to come to the aid of a friend, even putting on many benefits to raise money to bury friends disowned by their families who committed suicide. When she became Compete’s editor in 2011, she set a path to fulfill the mission of “uniting the world through sports.” While she’s not a hardcore sports fan, she loves the power of sports to bring people together. And she truly admires the athletes and the cause. When organizations honor individuals who’ve contributed to the sports diversity movement, Connie is often overlooked. But I know that for her, it isn’t about the praise she has or hasn’t received from the community; it’s about what she can do make the world a better place for everyone, both gay and straight. Whether she is interviewing a professional sports superstar or an athlete from the local softball team, Connie gives it her all. Wow, Jeff’s got an amazing mom. Eric Carlyle, CEO of Compete Magazine, has played baseball and rugby and is a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan.
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FOR A FULL CALENDAR OF EVENTS PLEASE VISIT COMPETENETWORK.COM/EVENTS
CURRENT EVENTS IN NOVEMBER BASKETBALL
Jasinski Golden Gayte Classic Oakland Bay Area, Calif., Nov. 4-6
Compete Sports Diversity Awards – aka, The Peteys Denver, Nov. 10
BOWLING IGBO Mid-Year Conference & Tournament 2016 San Francisco, Nov. 8-14 Los Angeles Silver Screen Invitational Tournament Los Angeles, Nov. 18 Holiday Invitational Tournament Milwaukee, Wisc., Nov. 24
RODEO IGRA Convention Austin, Tex., Nov. 16-19
SOFTBALL Turkey Shootout Palm Springs, Calif., Nov. 19-20 Hurricane Showdown Ft. Lauderdale, Nov. 25-27
TENNIS LATA Doubles Burbank, Calif., Nov. 11-13 Palm Springs Open 23 Rancho Mirage, Calif., Nov. 25-27 Tampa Bay Citrus Classic 2016 Tampa, Nov. 25-27
VOLLEYBALL Golden Apple X New York City, Nov. 5 Music City Challenge IV Nashville, Nov. 5 Capital City Classic Sacramento, Nov. 12 President’s Pride Cup II Washington, D.C., Nov. 26
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| COMPETE | November 2016
JOSHUA TREE FEEDING PROGRAM CELEBRATES 28 YEARS OF SERVICE CONGRATULATIONS GO TO THE PHOENIX, ARIZONAbased Joshua Tree Feeding Program for its 28 years of serving the nutritional needs of the LGBT community. The organization feeds over 400 low-income individuals living with HIV/AIDS thanks to community support of donations of food and money. As the only food pantry in the Phoenix metropolitan area focusing on HIV/AIDS patients, Joshua Tree’s goal is to ensure that those who need their help have every opportunity to access properly balanced nutrition. On November 11 Joshua Tree will host its 4th Annual Masquerade Gala at the Four Points By Sheraton North to directly benefit the non-profit. According to chair Joseph A. Gaxiola, the funds raised will go toward improvements in the pantry that include but aren't limited to new appliances and a wider variety of food choices.
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ALL EVENTS SUPPORT
FACES OF SPORTS
By Miriam Latto Photo courtesy of PRPhotos
True Legends THE SPORTS WORLD LOST TWO GIANTS this year, both of them leaving legacies far beyond the world of sport. Muhammad Ali died on June 3 at age 74 after a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, and Pat Summitt died on June 28 at age 64 after a five-year battle with early-onset dementia. These two Medal of Freedom winners will long be remembered!
Muhammad Ali was “The Greatest” in the boxing ring as a three-time World Heavyweight Champion but he was also great in the way he lived his life, never walking away from controversy. Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., he started boxing at 12, winning Golden Gloves titles. In 1960 he represented the U.S. at the Olympics in Rome where he won a gold medal fighting as a light heavyweight and shortly thereafter, turned professional. In 1963 he converted to Islam at age 22 and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. Drafted to serve in the Army in Viet Nam, he refused due to religious reasons but was convicted of draft evasion. Sentenced to five years in jail, he was stripped of his boxing title. Eventually released on appeal, he began speaking out on the war and in 1971 his appeal was upheld by the Supreme Court in an unanimous decision, saying that the Department of Justice had improperly told the draft board that Ali’s refusal wasn’t motivated by religious belief. Following his boxing career, Ali took on a humanitarian role, traveling the globe and sponsoring many philanthropic causes. President George W. Bush honored him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005. The Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville acts as a forum for promoting tolerance and respect as well as honoring his life. Living in Arizona for the last part of his life with his wife, Yolanda “Lonnie” Williams, in 1997 the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center domiciled at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix was opened. He supported it and many other charities over the years with large fundraisers. Ali will long be remembered not only as a supreme athlete but also as a courageous, compassionate and generous human being.
Pat Summitt is still the winningest coach in NCAA history, and that includes both women’s and men’s teams in any division. From her start in 1974, her teams won eight NCAA national championships, second only to legendary UCLA men’s coach John Wooden’s 10 championships. In fact, in her 38 years with the University of Tennessee Lady Vols, Summitt never had a losing season – just one of the reasons that her amazing list of awards includes being named the Naismith Basketball Coach of the Century in 2000 and appearing as number 11 on the Sporting News list of the 50 Greatest Coaches of All Time in all sports in 2009; the only woman to make the list. With 1,098 wins, she remains the top coach in NCAA history (overall, one of only three college coaches) with 1,000 victories. Considered the gold standard in women’s coaching circles (including the men’s teams she had coached), Summitt did more than teach basic skills and create winning teams. Hall of Fame men’s coach Bobby Knight said she “prepared them for life after basketball. … Through what they had learned through her practices and games, Pat's players were ready to go out and be successful beyond basketball.” Diagnosed with early-onset dementia, Summitt retired in August 2011. For her courage in going public, President Barak Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She also received the Billy Jean King Legacy Award from the U.S. Tennis Association and the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2012 ESPY Awards. A Compete quiz once asked: “What do the Central Intelligence Agency, Victoria’s Secret, Federal Express and the Federal Reserve Board all have in common?” The answer is Pat Summitt. Understanding that her value and worth transcended basketball, these four very different agencies and businesses all hired her as a motivational speaker.
Miriam Latto has been a Compete Magazine contributing writer since 2013.