Gay Games 2010: Cologne Opening Ceremonies

Let the summer begin. I am fortunately able to take the entire month of August off, and I plan to fit as much fun into it as possible. First stop, the Cologne 2010 Gay Games.

The Gay Games is an event held every four years, gathering together gay, straight, trans, lesbian, and bi athletes from all over the globe. I went to the 2006 Out Games in Montreal, and it was one of the best times of my life. I feel so lucky to be able to attend another one of these.

I got into Cologne (or Koln, to the locals) early this afternoon. Luckily it’s just a three hour train ride from my home in Amsterdam. I’m down here playing soccer with a team from Seattle, and will be staying for a week.

I just got back from the Opening Ceremonies, and I have a few thoughts, that I will separate in to two different sections.

Cynical Opinions

The Opening Ceremonies are all about waiting. Waiting for your turn to enter the stadium, waiting for the long boring speeches to end, and waiting to go home.

The Ceremonies start off by having all the athletes enter a huge stadium, one country at a time. Team U.S. was at the end, so that meant a lot of waiting.

After you march through the stadium, with everyone cheering you on, you take your seat in the stands, and sit through speech after boring speech. Special guests included some gay Australian diver, and the Vice Chancellor of Germany, Diego Westerwelle. Yawn.

We didn’t stick around to the end, as the beers we had drank we’re limiting our patience. The games has started, the fire was lit, the flag was raised, LET’S GET TO THE FUN STUFF!

Genuine Opinions

Attending something like this is quite awesome. It’s easy with the alcohol, and youthful apathy to forget, or just not understand, how big of an accomplishment this is. To be able to gather GLBT athletes from all over the world, to compete in sport together is definitely a modern event.

Some heartful moments were shared, a minute of silence for our past bretheren of AIDS and breast cancer. Moving speeches from important members of our community, and political supporters. There was a lot to be happy about.

Pop Diva Agnes came on stage and belted out a few of her hits, including “Release Me“, a personal favourite.

To be honest, I wasn’t really in the mood to take in all the community-self-patting-on-the-back, but I do recognize and thank all the people that have made this event possible.

I’m sure I’ll have a great time in the upcoming week, and you’ll hear all about it in subsequent posts.

Game on!