Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hits and Misses

The worst of the best? Pretty much, since while I'm happy I got medals in each of my three field events (discus, shotput and javelin), while in truth, I was the least accomplished of all competitors, being bested by seniors 20 years older than me.

Of course, I'd only trained a few hours this year (aside from gym-going, which added strength, but not skill) in my events at San Francisco Track and Field's third annual Pride Meet.

Yet, since it was held at San Francisco State University's Cox Stadium, I felt a sense of pride outside of it being a predominantly LGBT event. Several straight field veterans and some younger college-level guys threw, ran, and jumped. And we did it on the field of my alma mater (Masters in English/Creative Writing, Class of '97) and the site of the first two Gay Games track events, held in 1982 and 1986. (Team cofounder Rick Thoman is shown throwing shotput).

That bit of sports history was well documented in a 1982 video made by the late Robert I. Hunter. His footage was shown in Sporting Life, the exhibit I curated for the GLBT Historical Society. A DVD transfer of that was shown at the Gay Games VI film festival in Chicago in 2006.

And a few clips of Hunter's video, including his verité footage of the first Gay Games opening ceremonies, were included in the new documentary Claiming the Title: Gay Olympics on Trial, which premiered at this year's Frameline LGBT Film Festival. When the directors contacted me about footage for their film, I told them exactly where on a shelf in the archives they could find this amazing pair of films.

So, it wasn't just the fact that I threw a few objects on a field. It was an extension of the legacy I have come to cherish and admire. I sucked, but I felt good, despite the subsequent sunburn, heel blister, and sore back.

Then, there was one historic moment I was glad to have avoided. When distance runner David Serrano (shown running the foreground on the track pic) offered me a ride home, exhausted, I gladly accepted. We passed a few police cars blocking off a street near the West Portal station, but didn't know what had happened, and what I missed witnessing by half an hour. I'd been taking the M train to and from practices, and regularly passed through the West Portal Station.

Only a short time before I avoided the train ride home, I missed what would have been a very long wait for a train. At that station, the worst accident in MUNI history had just occurred. Nearly 50 people were injured. It was a terrible mess, and a horror for those involved, reports the SF Chronicle.

So, I'm relieved to merely have a few small sore spots, and good timing, at least off the field.

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