This placed us in the quarterfinals and one win away from a medal in tennis there is no Bronze medal match, as both semifinal losers receive a Bronze medal. The real highlight of the whole event though came by way of meeting a group of international Asians from Belgium, Calgary, and Switzerland. After a quick stop-off at the Team Canada event, we wandered off to find some tasty dim sum, which was a lot more difficult to find than anticipated. We all sat down and shared our stories and experiences and the conversation went long into the night and into the morning. The bond that was built that night will last a lifetime.
The conversation truly showed that through our struggles and our triumphs that there is more we have in common than not as we navigate our lives. Truly the most special element of the Gay Games for me is to meet athletes from around the world with whom I would otherwise not have ever met. My one and only team sport during the Gay Games was volleyball.
It was an odd experience not captaining a team, but I was really fortunate in that my captain from Chile was so incredible. He was able to set the tone for a fun environment and our team quickly gelled and played wonderfully against teams who had been together for a long time. Within our division of 32 teams, we advanced to the semifinals where we lost a close match to the eventual Gold medalists.
Leslie Cheung: Asia's gay icon lives on 15 years after his death
We then had a second chance to win Bronze that was halted in a close set, losing on a backcourt violation where a backcourt player hits the ball above the net but did not take off behind the attack line. The loss was especially heartbreaking, as the volleyball tournament ran longer than expected forcing an unexpected disqualification from the tennis tournament.
Without hearing from me they had no choice but to disqualify our team, which unfortunately was heartbreaking seeing how upset I had made my tennis partner. At this point in the tournament, I was at a real low point. Having lost two chances at a Bronze medal in volleyball and then losing a chance at even competing for a medal in tennis.
I was so physically and emotionally drained that that I considered not competing in the badminton semifinals the next day, as I only had a couple hours of rest and was worried I would injure myself pushing myself to the highest of my ability without having health insurance in a foreign country. Luckily for me, Mike once again came to the rescue with a great pep talk that got me up and ready for the badminton tournament.
Unfortunately the day got off to a horrible start as I was barely able to move around the court during my semifinal match and was easily dismissed. Having now gone in chances to win a medal I knew I would have one final shot a medal later that afternoon in a winner-take-all Bronze medal showdown against a player from Russia whom I had become quite close to over the course of the week.
The match started off well and I took the first set in a tight contest. My opponent came roaring back in the second set to tie the match. After a full week of emotional and physical ups and downs, I knew I had one set to go to give it my all. The environment was especially difficult as my opponent had several friends cheering him on and I had banished Mike from coming to watch me play that day, as I really expected to play horribly given my lack of sleep and preparation.
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