By David “Dirk” Smith, M.Sc., SDL (He/Him)
When I first moved to Germany in late 2018, one of the first things I did was to seek out the local LGBTQ+ swim team, SC Janus. This was important for me upon settling down in a new city and country to join different social communities in which I identify with, in this case, being a gay swimmer. Less than 6 months later, I participated in my first competition as a member of this team, the 2019 Düssel-Cup.
The Düssel-Cup was my first real introduction into the LGBTQ+ sports community here in Europe, and definitely an improvement upon the last European LGBTQ+ sports competition I had participated in, the ill-fated 2015 Eurogames in Stockholm. While I had competed in the Gay Games in Cologne and Paris prior, you really can’t consider such a large-scale event as being particularly representative of any one community. The Düssel-Cup, being a smaller scale LGBTQ+ multi-sport event really impressed upon me the extent in which LGBTQ+ Europeans really love using sport as a platform to bring people together for fun, competition, and community. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long since the pandemic hit less than a year later, and everything was shut down.
After the bonafide trainwreck that was the 2015 Eurogames in Stockholm and the disappointment of the 2019 Eurogames in Rome, of which I chose not to attend, I had drawn weary of participating in any Eurogames events. The Eurogames is essentially a continental version of the Gay Games, a mid-scale LGBTQ+ multi-sport event and Düsseldorf was destined to host the 2020 edition. After being so impressed with my experience at the 2019 Düssel-Cup, I had a lot of faith that, if anybody could host a decent Eurogames, it would be the Düsseldorf team. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be as the pandemic forced the cancellation of the event, but it didn’t go down without a bit of drama first. However, I did go on to attend the 2021 Eurogames in Copenhagen which was hosted in conjunction with World Pride and ultimately exceeded my, admittedly low expectations. With so many uncertainties surrounded the pandemic, that event was one of the only LGBTQ+ sports events to take place in Europe at all during 2021. As 2022 came around, things started cautiously moving forward, particularly in the latter half of the year with the 2022 Eurogames in Nijmegen, as well as more local level LGBTQ+ sporting events, including the Upstream Amsterdam Valentine’s Tournament and the Frankfurt Xmas Turnier.
Thus, after four years, the Düssel-Cup is finally back! The weekend of sports, parties, and celebration to bring people together kicked off with an opening social on Friday, March 31st. Saturday was a full day of sport, with different offerings available for a wide range of athletes, including Badminton, Basketball, Soccer, Running, Shooting Sports, Swimming, Table Tennis and Volleyball. Each of the sports events being organized by the local LGBTQ+ sports team in Düsseldorf to ensure the competition is as FABULOUS as possible! After the sports conclude, all the athletes come together in the evening for a big party to celebrate our accomplishments at the competition. Then on Sunday, when everybody is good and hungover, the weekend concludes with a big, tasty brunch! Overall the event was a resounding success and so good to come together with the Düsseldorf team after four long years. It was a well-organized and fun event had by all. Learn more about the Düssel-Cup at https://duessel-cup.de/
Photo Credit: David “Dirk” Smith, M.Sc., SDL (He/Him)