I remember when I first joined TLGTA back in 2006. It was opening day in May, and Dirk, a buddy of mine whom I met in 2005 decided tennis would be our next activity. He read one of the postings in the gay media and suggested that we bookmark our calendars months in advance. We opted for something athletic versus our combined interest in Art (we caught the Catherine the Great Exhibit @ AGO) and the occasional night of ‘village’ debauchery. Though we joked about meeting guys and busting over-the-top tennis outfits, my genuine interest was playing tennis and bonding with other people who were queer with the same interests. Wish I could say the same for Dirk, whose Abercrombie golf t and gucci glasses, flip flops and linen shorts were met with the same ‘jeers and laughs’ as his ability to play on court in the same outfit (I wish I was kidding). God love him, the desire to become the next Xavier Malisse, Jan-Michael Gambill or Sam Querrey was not in him at all.
An energetic group of the club executives (Bruno, Chris, Long, Artour, Dave and Drew) were on hand to interact with members, new and old. I felt comfortable to be around them and the folks on court. I had decent technique, a love for the game and played with folks of all skill levels. Xtra was on hand to snap photos of folks on court — I would later find I was in one of the photos that got published – I still have this as part of my personal files. I never felt that the club itself was at all cliquey, however, with a tradition that spans over 25 years, I could see how easy it would be for that type of perception to take shape. Folks of all skill levels means all personalities; introverts, extraverts, passive, aggressive — you name it we had it. It means that people gravitated to those who were like them or were repelled. If everyone is honest, that’s how it happens. I believe if Darwin had time to come up with Natural Gay Selection he would agree. It is what it is, however, the menu that this team put together was a successful one and drove me to run to coordinate social activities from 2007-09.
The story I have not told many is how I felt when I realized that there were ‘daddies’ in the club; men who were committed and had pursued adoption. I remember when I saw the stroller pull up during one of the Social Saturdays, seeing the baby, being taken aback from all of the excitement and driving home in tears. I’m understating it now, because I’m tired and just came home from a meeting, however, it was like a spontaneous combustion of emotion that hit me at once. I now know it was shock and awesome over the fact I was early in my coming out process and inspired that I was among professional guys who happened to love tennis. It also helped me get over a bad dating situation, whereby I started thinking, if I can’t pass the 4 month barrier, how the hell could I work my way up to partner and baby. Three years later, I feel better about it having met whom I consider to be the love of my life, and our dog. Call me in another 3 years to discuss the baby-thing. I can’t say enough about the roadtrips, socials, tournament fun and other things that have happened to me along the way, but I can’t say enough about my experience with TLGTA. It will be hard for me to separate this from our own coming out story. I can live with that.
On Oct 25th, I was elected as the President of the club this year, an honour that I sought help from my partner with as well and my friends on the executive. With power to impact change, comes responsibility — I hope to do my part to keep the tradition going with Mike, Artour, Vong, Julius, and Dante. We met tonight to review our constitution and by-laws, an intense meeting that helped to expose areas where we can deliver unique value back to the club. Couldn’t let the flashback I had go to waste and decided to post it. Hope someone reads this and considers joining us in 2010. You will not regret it.