Originally from Penrith and having ‘come out’ in Wollongong, I have played a number of sports over the past 15 years, in both gay and non-gay clubs.
I organised an openly gay and lesbian volleyball team in the Wollongong local competition in 1995 and competed in the Australian Gaymes in running in the late ’90s. I was a member of Sydney Frontrunners in 1996, GSquash in 1999 and was an active player for eight years. I played touch footy with POOFTA and joined the Gay and Lesbian Martial Arts group in 2000 but gave both sports up to concentrate on the Gay Games in Sydney 2002 where I competed in squash and track and field.
Most recently I joined Sydney RAMS Tenpin Bowling and Freezone Volleyball clubs.
I was inspired by Gail Devers’ story in 2001 to take up track and field. Gail’s determination to return to running after an autoimmune disease left her almost unable to walk gave me the confidence to give anything a go.
I have not only competed with gay sporting clubs. I was involved in adventure racing and orienteering for a number of years.
My greatest accomplishment was to complete the Mountain Designs GeoQuest two-day adventure race. Nonstop racing, with compass and maps, navigating on foot, mountain bike and kayaks, chuck in some ocean canoeing, abseiling and inner-tube rafting, and you have one hell of a tough race. I completed the course in 29.5 hours with five minutes sleep for the entire race!
I have competed in international events including Sydney Gay Games 2002, squash and track and field, fourth in hurdles by age division; Berlin Vorspiel tournament 2003, squash, gold medal; Melbourne Asia Pacific OutGames in 2007, tenpin bowling and lawn bowls; Tournie du Paris in 2007, squash, gold medal; OutGames Copenhagen in 2009, tenpin bowling and beach volleyball, silver medal in tenpin; and World Masters Games 2009, volleyball, gold medal.
My proudest moments have been winning gold in Berlin; and winning a silver medal in Copenhagen in a truly world-class competition.
One embarrassing moment was filling in for a straight team at a volleyball competition and upon opening my fridge when I got home, feeling a cold breeze where I shouldn’t have been. I had managed to rip the front of my shorts open without realising (and no one at the sports centre mentioned it to me!).
Having done so many sports, there is still more that I would like to do. I want to give wrestling a go and maybe triathlon, though I can’t swim too well. I enjoy bowling as almost anyone can play and it is handicapped so everyone is on an even playing field in competitions.
I say to anyone, what’s stopping you! Get out and give it a go — the gay and lesbian sports community has so much to offer in Sydney.