This sporting life

This sporting life

Boxing Day in Australia means the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. The top deck of a charter boat, with an excellent view of the proceedings, might be the last place you’d associate with gay and lesbian sport in the wonderful city of Sydney.

That is until you remember the rainbow flag flying proudly from the stern mast and the pink triangle on the burgee of the hosts, the Australian Sailing and Cruising Club.

There is a social aspect to all Sydney’s gay and lesbian sporting organisations. Not all involve cheering maxi-yachts while chucking back good red wine.

Nevertheless, for many, the extracurricular activities are the best parts of pursuing their chosen sport. These include fundraising, after-practice drinks, social get-togethers and weekends away.

Of course there is serious fun to be had in the sports themselves and now is a good time, in the aftermath of the seasonal cheer and gourmand gorging, to consider joining in. There is something about competitive sport that lifts it above workouts at the gym or jogging round the local block on your own.

There are too many clubs and activities to include them all here but contact details are easy to find. Check out the community listings that appear regularly in this paper. Call in on the Sports Village at Fair Day to meet the people from the clubs, and enter the tug of war while you’re there. Visit the Team Sydney website for details of the clubs and their Sports Festival events during the Mardi Gras period.

Diversity is well illustrated by two different codes of football. One is women’s soccer played by the Flying Bats, out and proud in their rainbow socks. The other is rugby played by the Sydney Convicts.

Both clubs belong to leagues run by the wider community, examples of how well-organised competitive teams can foster our acceptance in the straight sporting world. Yes, gay and lesbian sport can push a political barrow but it rolls easily and doesn’t require any extra effort.

There is a drive this year by many clubs to get more women into sport. Most of the clubs actively encourage female participation. Softball, hockey, tenpin bowling and volleyball are only some of the sports that field mixed teams and the do-it-yourself activities like running, cycling and swimming are always more fun with a like-minded crowd. Dance sport is for same-sex couples with both sexes sharing the dance floor.

Many gays and lesbians don’t play sport after they leave school. They often feel intimidated by the locker room atmosphere or believe that being outed will one day undo all the training that has led to their sporting success.

Both men and women in any minority group can experience prejudice from the mainstream; in sport it can be enough for us not to bother. Sometimes the lack of opportunity means lack of practice and confidence is lost.

Some of the club memberships number in the hundreds; there are plenty of people waiting to encourage you. Now is the time, after the turkey, ham and plum pudding, to get some attitude.

Even with the diverse range offered by our sporting community your chosen sport may not be represented but all clubs will welcome you; training and help are always available.

You May Also Like

Comments are closed.