We received a number of letters, emails and social media posts about last month’s Faces of Sports issue. Like every issue of Compete, it is one of my favorites. Most of the comments were supportive, citing the dedication to sports diversity of both the “Faces” issue itself as well as the individuals whose stories were shared.

But one of my favorite comments came at last month’s Compete Sports Diversity Awards in Denver. One of the honorees (who asked I keep his identity anonymous) was truly impressed with Catherine “CJ” Kelly and the work she does with the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA).

The honoree said he felt embarrassed to accept the award after reading about CJ. We already loved CJ’s story but I was compelled to ask the honoree why he connected so strongly to it. The honoree said that it is people like CJ – people on the various boards, people raising money, people organizing tournaments, people advocating for local, national and international organizations – who make being an athlete so much easier.

We talked about CJ and her role at NAGAAA for a few minutes and, as a weekend athlete, myself, I couldn’t help but agree with the honoree’s assessment. Being an athlete is much easier because of the work done by individuals on boards, those who volunteer and sponsors who help with financial support.

So as 2016 comes to a close I’d like to personally thank everyone behind the scenes in our local, national, international and professional sports organizations who make being an athlete (and a fan) so easy and enjoyable!


Happy Holidays,

Eric Carlyle



P.S.: The wish for a happy holiday comes from the entire Compete Magazine team.