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    The Future of Team SF Is in Your Hands

    By Martha Ehrenfeld

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    Cleveland…really, Cleveland? That was my reaction five years ago when a friend on the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) board announced that the games were coming to Northeast Ohio in 2014. Cleveland in August to me then meant humidity. It was the place Mary Ann from Tales of the City had left never to return.

    Fast forward to a day before the games, and I have since become a member of the Team San Francisco board, as well as the Sports Co-Chair for the FGG and a member of the Cleveland steering committee. I have become SF’s biggest Cleveland fan. Now, after each person responds with, “Cleveland…really, Cleveland?” I always ask, “Have you been there? I have and it is lovely.”

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    Team SF has been trying hard to get the LGBT sports community excited about attending the games. Cleveland is excited and ready. With wonderful Midwestern charm, great sports facilities, and large community support, Cleveland won the bid in 2009.

    Cleveland isn’t as bad as you think! It has some great architecture, amazing parks, actual seasons and so much more. But it’s been challenging convincing people of such things. Cleveland fan or not, keep in mind that this is the last time the Gay Games will be in the U.S. until at least 2022.

    future4By bringing the games to the Midwest, it will lead to positive change, and it already, in fact, has. Many Cleveland-based companies came on as sponsors because their children said it was the right thing to do. It has brought Northeastern Ohio’s LGBT community together in a new and unifying way. When promoting the Gay Games at the Sin City Shoot Out (a 3000+ LGBT multi-sport event that’s been held in Las Vegas for the last two years) athletes from CA or NY were not so excited about going to Cleveland, but the folks from Minnesota and Indiana got it. It meant something special that the FGG did not fly over the middle of the country.

    future2The future of Team SF as a functioning group seems unknown. It needs your participation and support to survive!

    Most of the Team SF board members will probably step down this year. It is our hope that a new generation of volunteers will step up and lead Team SF to Paris in 2018. In the end, one thing is sure, all the athletes that will march in the opening ceremonies on Saturday, August 9, will experience a very special night.

    Don’t then be so quick to make that snide remark about Cleveland. Cleveland? Yes, Cleveland!

    Martha Ehrenfeld is a member of the Team SF board of directors, serves as Co-Chair of Sports for the Federation of Gay Games, and is a member of the Gay Games IX steering committee. For more information about Team SF, please visit http://teamsf.ning.com/