Community Games 2002 Inc.
In a nutshell: Level-headed, well-considered bid with most ts crossed and is dotted. Unfortunately, Dallas’s lack of glamour is a hindrance.
Letter grade: A
Proposed dates of competition: 2002.05.25 to 2002.06.01 (to avoid the hot months)
- The bid tries for a lyrical, even literary tone and misses the mark narrowly. "If the purpose of the Gay Games is to make the marginalized and powerless feel significant, valuable, and special, then what better venue than a gleaming city beneath the perpetual Dallas sunshine?" [i.1]. We’re not quite that downtrodden. Just putting the money together to get to the Gaymes tends to weed out the most "marginalized and powerless." What better city? Unfortunately, many observers would answer that question with "A city that isn’t in redneck Texas. I want a vacation, not voluntary exile."
- The multicultural angle, thankfully, is not beaten to death.
- Several bid-committee types "are English-Spanish bilingual, a key element in the effort to include the communities of Central and South America" [i.1]. "Establishing comprehensive outreach programs to gay men and women in Central and South America and the Caribbean. You will note that this region was not well represented at Gay Games IV in New York (18 total)" [1.3]. As in other bids, the committee has its own pet region whose underrepresentation it seeks to remedy. Dallas is not quite as elitist as Montreal here; Dallas targets pretty much everything south of its own city irrespective of language spoken and so forth.
- Further, "We will present very compelling reasons to bring Gay Games VI to the Southwestern United States – a region still relatively undeveloped in terms of its gay history, perpective, and activism, and which has been historically underrepresented in prior Games" [ii.3]. So why not concentrate on fixing Dallas’s underrepresentation first?
- All bidders have delusions of grandeur about television coverage. Everyone seems to believe, with some justification, that it ain’t official until you can watch it on TV. The bid puts forth a stream-of-delirium explication: "This Texas-wide effort would make Gay Games VI partner with a cable network televise Gay Games VI events or highlights an event of such efficiency and style that they could be neither forgotten nor ignored by Texas, America, and the world" [1.2]. Come again?
- The bid book has a good time discussing one of the Task Force 2002 Board of Directors, James Garrett. "While still an undergraduate, he was a regular columnist for the Dartmouth Review, the nation’s most widely-read journal of conservative student opinion – a post with earned him the warm approbation of the Wall Street Journal and the vilification of the New York Times. [...] In subsequent years, he has traveled extensively and made an appearance on Jeopardy, much to the derision of friends and colleagues" [2.4].
- Another boardmember, Charles King, is or was a FOGG rep "and was involved in the selection process that ultimately chose Amsterdam as host of the 1998 Gay Games" [2.6].
- Dallas plans for a torch relay. They also make the same mistake as New York, allowing for a "parade of athletes, artists and officials into the stadium, led by the Team San Francisco delegation" [3.1]. This entirely symbolic gesture takes too much time.
- Venues: As I describe elsewhere, all readers of the bid documents who do not live in the bid cities and who have not done a full tour are working at a disadvantage. We really can’t draw any conclusions about the suitability of venues (or about the people on the bid committees). However, Dallas has a clear advantage in two events, figure-skating and hockey, both of which are scheduled for the Dr. Pepper Stars Center, "the official training centre of the NHL Dallas Stars. With two sheets of 200’-by-85’ ice, seating capacity for 700 on each rink, state-of-the-art locker rooms, and concessions.... Dr. Mark Hayes, a national judge from Dallas, has agreed to provide support" for the figure-skating event [3.11]. There is, of course, the standard concern about running figure-skating and hockey concurrently, as the schedule currently indicates. One thinks of music, crowd noise, and ice surfaces. Three days for each sport are allotted for; the events could be and should be run consecutively.
- "The unofficial sport of Texas and the first extreme sport, a Gay Games in Texas would not be whole without a rodeo" [3.14]. In other words, rodeo is traditional, so we’ll perpetuate the tradition. But rodeos are animal abuse, full stop. If we’re supposed to be concerned with "sharing of power and responsibility between gay men and women and gay persons of colour, as well as those gay men and women who are physically disabled" [1.4], why does our social responsibility stop at the species barrier? Why is it OK to confront our legacy of white-male hegemony but out of bounds to reduce animal exploitation, suffering, and abuse? (Or does Dallas not really believe this power-sharing business? Is the committee merely trotting out the hyper-P.C. phraseology it thinks it must use to avoid criticism?) Dallas can expect very well-organized and embarrassing activism if it attempts to put on a rodeo. Mark my words.
- No massive innovation in awarding of medals, but that’s OK. What isn’t OK is the plan to "provide an electronic scoreboard where each event will be posted, followed by the names of the medalists. The scoreboard will be updated immediately after each award ceremonies" [3.17]. We will be dealing with tens of thousands of competitors and hundreds of medalists. Unless the Dallas committee plans to install a JumboTron the size of the SkyDome’s, there won’t be enough space to show that much data. What might be workable, however, is a network of linked electronic kiosks, a more expensive but more flexible system.
- "Each evening during the games, one of the planned events will be chosen to host the medalists from the events of the day" [3.18]. That’s going to be tricky and will expose the board to accusations of favouritism.
- Number of competitors varies depending on which page you read. (This is a recurring theme in the bid books and introduces considerable doubt about the committees’ basic suitability.) 850 each of gold, silver, and bronze medals are foreseen, with 18,000 participation medals [3.18], but elsewhere only 18,000 total athletes are predicted [5.3]. This is not a vast discrepancy if one assumes that all 18,000 registered athletes will be handed a participation medal, with up to 2,550 of them also receiving a gold, silver, or bronze medal.
- Transportation plans are as unimpressive as other cities’. "All service will be to and from the Dallas Convention Center only," running every ten minutes [4.2] or every 15 to 20 minutes [4.3]. It’s unrealistic to expect scheduled trips from venue A to venue B (or C to F, or Z to Q), but this overly centralized system will wear thin quickly. Surveys of Gay Games spectators and athletes could point up some high-traffic paths between venues. Wrestling fans may also like diving, say, and regular service (if at wide intervals) could be arranged between those venues and also to the central hub. There will be full radio dispatching. Transit plans are about halfway there. Five years ahead of the Gaymes, this may be as much as we can expect.
- Like other bidders, no department or committee clearly takes responsibility for access or foreign-language issues. Dallas intends to use volunteer interpreters (a mistake) for Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and ASL [4.5]. Dallas seems to assume that significant numbers of Koreans and Chinese will attend. The committee expects to be unable to find volunteer ASL interpreters and is willing to hire professionals, an irksome inconsistency. Interpreters should be paid professionals.
- Sports to which admission will be charged: physique, swimming, diving, figure-skating, tennis quarter-finals, semis, and finals, "and possibly basketball and softball" [5.4], though softball will be so huge that ticketing and gate control at venues will be a nightmare.
- Funding applications to foundations and government are predicted.
- Dallas intends to hire a real ad agency – DDB Needham – to do marketing and advertising. What a welcome sign of professionalism. Penny-ante little gay-run outfits are not up to the task.
- Dallas plans for five conferences/visits/junkets – in Amsterdam, pre-planning in San Francisco or Dallas, a "Federation site visit," FOGG annual meeting, and "final site visit by [FOGG]" [appendix].
Not thorougly discussed, but that’s not surprising. "The Gay Games will bring men and women, people of colour, and those with differing physical ability together for a common goal. This is particularly important as the homosexual men and women of Dallas gradually come to terms with the importance of sharing power within the community’s infrastructure" [1.2]. "The Gay Games will... demonstrate the importance of the sharing of power and responsibility between gay men and women and gay persons of colour, as well as those gay men and women who are physically disabled" [1.4].
This is a naïve view. When slavery was abolished in the U.S., did freemen become slaves in exchange? When women were given the vote, did men lose it? No. Freedom expanded. It is not necessary for, say, white men to lose power in order for everyone else to gain it. In any event, the inclusion of "those with differing physical ability" rings hollow. Everyone likes to think they’re at least minimally familiar with issues like race and gender, and it’s a typical mistake to extend the same principles to the realm of disability, which is qualitatively different.
Further, this kind of thinking allows the more bloodthirsty members of our communities of colour, persons living with gender, etc., to use guilt-trips and specious reverse-discrimination arguments to wield control. Anyone who doubts this could ever happen has never struggled through a Toronto Queer Nation meeting – or dealt with rampaging gender feminists.
"All facilities for the Games are handicap accessible [sic]. If there is an interest, we will be able to provide transportation from First Aid Stations to on-site events via chauffeured carts for handicapped individuals" [4.2]. This over-medicalized separate-but-equal system won’t wash. Why are disabled persons expected to congregate at first-aid stations? Dallas seems to think that disabilities are progressive and immediately threatening to life and limb all the time.
Standard blandishments. A medical director will work with "7 to 9 physicians. four registered nurses, and four physical therapists. The physicians group will consist of approximately four HIV specialists and four physicians with sports-related expertise" [4.1]. Four first-aid stations, "one located at each major athletic complex," are planned, each with lounge areas.
Blah. The book is typeset with
Windows word processing, and while the type is typically
oversized, the document isn’t aggressively ugly. However:
"Community Games 2002 will sponsor a competition for the
design of the official medals of Gay Games VI" [3.18]. This is an unethical practice in the field of graphic arts (also industrial design – creating a medal straddles both fields). Contests amount to a demand that all entrants work on spec. (Even the winner of the contest is working on spec.) This approach is typical of design-ignorant intellectuals, who devalue graphic design when they’re not ignoring it completely. What you should do is invite designers to show you their portfolios. You can then interview applicants on their design approach and make an informed choice rather than just picking the design you deem snazziest.
Logo is quite dreadful – a five-pointd star (bottom two and top points in black, others white) with "Dallas 2002 Gay Games VI" in the centre. Two derivative logos are even worse. Hire a professional.
Posted: Circa December 1997 ¶ Updated: 2009.03.01
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