What fun it has been to put this issue together! It’s been a curious mixture of a walk down memory lane and an exciting current look at how rugby is doing its part to lead the way in sports diversity. You doubtless know from reading Eric’s letter and the main story that it was rugby, particularly the Bingham Cup tournament of 2006 that began Compete Magazine and its early entry into what would become the sports diversity movement we know today.

While I didn’t play rugby, I did attend the Phoenix Storm games back in the day and got to know some of the players. One of them was Andy Esparza, this issue’s Community Hero. First, as an elementary school teacher and later as he worked with kids in crisis through Arizona’s Child Protective Services, Andy was someone I always admired. I knew he had left the Phoenix area but I’d lost track of him. And when I reached out to the San Francisco Fog rugby team for photos, it was Andy who responded to me. It’s a small world, folks.

It has also been exciting to work with the Nashville Grizzlies rugby team as they get ready to host this year’s 2016 Bingham Cup next month. Their dedication to not only their own team but to include all rugby players worldwide is impressive. Perhaps even more impressive is their dedication to the LGBT community as shown in their choice of the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network as their Charity of Choice. Rugby really does form a team that evokes the phrase, a “band of brothers” (and sisters).

But there’s more than just rugby in this issue. When was the last time you thought of go-karting? It’s a fun sport that’s at the start of a new growth cycle and we’ve got gay athlete Derek Archer to share his racing experience with you. We’re also pleased to have a story on Michiel Thomas, the Belguim-born director and executive producer of the Game Face documentary. He talks about his journey as a closeted gay athlete and his decision not only to come out but to also use his talents as a filmmaker to showcase currently competing LGBT athletes to provide gay role models for closeted athletes to follow.

I also want to welcome Sarah Woodward as a nutrition contributor to Compete as well as Bobby Ciletti, our new style editor. They both have lots of interesting information to share with you and I’m sure you’ll enjoy their writing. So please help us welcome them to the Compete Team.

In honor of this special rugby issue, I’ll close by paraphrasing Eric’s standard letter/email close of “Sport On” to Scrum On!


Keep Smiling,

Connie Wardman,
Editor-in-Chief connie@competenetwork.com


Photo by Jon Thompson, Nashville Grizzlies


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