While Doug Litwin loves going bowling and playing racquetball and tennis as an adult, his first love was baseball. And how could it be otherwise for the kid who grew up in Chicago and says he’s always been a sports fan – “I realized how lucky I was to live in a city that had two major league baseball teams.”
Since his birthday is June 6 which falls right in the middle of baseball season, Doug says “I could always count on being able to attend a game on my birthday. I quickly realized that I was one of very few Chicagoans who supported both local baseball teams. Just about everyone else in Chicago chooses just one of the two teams to support.
“Naturally, when I moved to California in 1978, I chose another city (San Francisco) that also had two pro baseball teams. Over the years, I’ve been a season ticketholder for both the Oakland A’s and the San Francisco Giants,” the Giants being his favorite sports team.
Talking about his love of sports, Doug says that “They allow people to rally behind a common goal and that builds real community among athletes and supporters. They are liberating, they are fun and they are sexy.” He also says that “at their most basic level, most sports are really quite silly. But true fans look past the silliness and see opportunities for greatness and long-lasting relationships.”
Aside from being born in Chicago and the specific sports being played, Doug’s story could easily come from a great many athletes, LGBTQ or ally. What makes Doug’s story noteworthy, what makes him such a community hero is his commitment to both the athletic and cultural components of the LGBTQ community.
In addition to a love of sports, Doug is also a musician who is very involved in the Lesbian and Gay Band Association (LGBA) in San Francisco, serving 20 years on their board. Beginning by playing the clarinet in the fifth grade, his current list of instruments played now includes saxophone and piano in addition to some percussion in his marching band when they need him.
In between his ongoing involvement in sports and music, Doug has managed to earn a B.A. in finance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MBA in marketing from Northwestern University’s prestigious Kellogg School of Management. Fortunately, he has chosen to use his marketing and advertising expertise to benefit the LGBTQ community over the years, admitting that he’s a “board geek.” When asked what advice he would like to share with his younger self and the younger generation of the LGBTQ community, Doug’s immediate answer is to “get involved sooner.”
He says that his greatest personal achievement is winning the highest award given out by his community LGBA band back in 2000. He’s now been a loyal member of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band for 32 years and just last month was elected as its president. And he lists his greatest athletic achievement as winning various Gay Games medals, especially his one and only gold medal won at Gay Games III in Vancouver in 1990 in racquetball singles..
When Doug moved to San Francisco in 1978, he couldn’t know then that he’d be positioned in the heart of the Gay Games movement that started there in 1982 by Dr. Tom Waddell, a gay Olympian who wished to make the Olympic experience open to all LGBTQ individuals who wanted to participate. To say that Doug is passionate about the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) organization and the work they do is probably an understatement. “They say the Gay Games has changed the world. This is no doubt true, and it certainly has changed my world,” he said.
“Although I was living in San Francisco in 1982, I think I was unaware of Gay Games I. I really regret missing that event, although I’ve participated in every Gay Games since then. As both a sports and a cultural participant, I’ve seen first-hand how this event has changed lives. That’s why I have been involved with the leadership of the international Federation of Gay Games since I attended my first annual meeting in Berlin in 1999.”
Currently the FGG officer of marketing, much of Doug’s work is behind the scenes, enabling the host city and its volunteers to shine. And he still remains active in local sports with Team San Francisco and the gay racquetball and bowling leagues.
Thanks, Doug Litwin for being such a great community hero!
Doug Litwin is an Independent Marketing and Advertising Professional
Sports: Bowling, racquetball and tennis