The spirit of the ANZACs is alive and being carried along with the rainbow flag as members of QSAM’s teams head across the ditch to play, play and play some more in Wellington.

As the welcoming haka dies to a disco beat, the competition kicks off in earnest.

Events such as the Wellington Outgames develop camaraderie and lasting friendships amongst gays, lesbians, everyone in between and their friends and families.

With the NZ Governor as the patron of the games, the influx of regional visitors will ensure the success of this event.

Most importantly, it will provide the opportunity for many locals who got caught up in Gay Games fever during the 2010 Cologne Games but were not able to attend, a chance to participate.

The type of sport played, the events, whether team or individual, draw vastly differing types of queer sportspeople.

There will be parties, stories from the home crowd, and controversy. Our community is nothing if not outspoken. At events like these, I sometimes feel the tiniest little bit of sympathy for the umpire. Most sports will be ‘self-umpired’ by fellow participants.

This gives all an appreciation of how tough it can be, and how best to deal with potentially volatile situations.

As each event concludes its days of competition, the rows of spectators in the bleaches grow noticeably.

It is a huge lift to players when their friends begin screaming from the sidelines. But it is a gay event, so expect pompoms and tinsel, eye-catching designer wear and a little frivolity.

Team chants will not sound like a drunken football crowd, but with a little creativity, glitz and flair will bring a touch of colour to the cheeks of the faint-hearted.

With a minimum of learning time required, expect to join in, whether it is your team or an unknown one.

QSAM is proud to support participants and teams joining the Outgames in Wellington: Queer Sports Alliance Melbourne: www.queersportsmelbourne.org

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