Dallas Gay Basketball Association revs up with two events this week

With all the sports leagues in the LGBT community here, we’ve long been without a basketball one — until now. As one of the organizers of the new Dallas Gay Basketball Association, Steven Coleman has been helping to get the word out on the new league. The interest is there. Coleman guesstimated about 40 people showed up to DGBA’s open gym session last week at Reverchon Rec Center.

“This is something we need here,” he said.

DBGA’s mission as posted on their Facebook page reads:

The Dallas Gay Basketball Association was founded in 2012. This league was created for LGBTAQ men and women to create an atmosphere for athletes. In hopes of strengthening a community and providing alternative option for socializing within the gay community. The league invites all skill levels, and encourages new members.

According to Coleman, they’ve been in talks with DIVA citing their structure as a direction DGBA may borrow from. That makes total sense seeing how successful the volleyball association is in expanding its membership practically each new season. DGBA will serve as a co-ed league for teams. Whether Reverchon will be the only location for play was not mentioned.

DGBA gets social tonight (Wednesday) by hosting a meet and greet at Woody’s at 6 p.m. Organizers will be there to answer questions and encourage enrollment. They follow up with another open gym session on Thursday at Reverchon where interested persons can sign up with the league. The only requirement at this point is to have a card issued by the rec center (city of Dallas) to play.

Coleman provided pics from last week’s open gym. See those after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

2011 Readers Voice Awards: Ultimate Diva!

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MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING Ultimate Diva! winner Stacy McKinney accepts the donation made to her favorite non-profit from Dallas Voice Promotions Manager Terry Thompson.

You go, girl!

In spectacular fashion, a straight woman surrounded by gay men wins the Ultimate Diva! contest. And it’s not just the photo of Stacy McKinney — it’s how she lives her life

When Stacy McKinney entered a photo competition with the goal to be named Dallas Voice’s Ultimate Diva!, she encircled herself with hot gay men. It was more than a photo — it is a metaphor for her life. McKinney joined DIVA (the Dallas Independent Volleyball Association) not knowing it was a gay league but stuck around even after she found out. She’s been a tireless cheerleader for the group, donating her $1,000 winnings to it. Such a diva thing to do.

Dallas Voice: How do we know you? McKinney: I thought everyone knew me!

OK, for those of us who might not, what’s your involvement in the LGBT community? I got involved with DIVA and found that our Miss DIVA Pageant donates all the money to the Food Pantry. It went from there. I put my name on the volunteer list at the Resource Center Dallas. I started volunteering for GayBingo. Also, DIVA has given back to the city of Dallas recreation centers for the past 21 years. DIVA just hosted their bachelor auction and raised $5,000 for the pet charity, Mazie’s Mission.

How did you end up in the community? I went to try out for DIVA and ended up in the Competitive Division. When the vice president of memberships, Brian Borski, was thanking everyone and saying their main goal is to provide a social outlet to the gay and lesbian community, all the blood rushed out of my body. I freaked. When we were done I ran to the registration table and said, “Oh my gosh, is it OK if I am straight?” They were like, “Girl we knew you were as soon as you hit the door.” That was four years ago.

So what does DIVA mean to you? DIVA is a social volleyball sports organization but has also always given back to our LGBT community from its very beginning. We hold various fundraisers that benefit a local LGBT charity with the proceeds raised.

Is this Ultimate Diva! title going to make you just impossible to be around? Well, I already have a title within the organization as “First Lady of DIVA.” This is just the cherry on top.

When do you take off the tiara? I only take it off a few times a day — when I swim and when I am playing volleyball. But I do wear it to the court.

OK, are you really just a fruit fly? Yes, as it should be. I really don’t like straight people.

Will you ever surrender the title of Ultimate Diva!? Sure. I am always up for a good fight!

Apparently straight women can be ultimate divas: Don’t be jealous, I was born this way!

OK, Gaga.

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 18, 2011.

—  John Wright

2011 Readers Voice Awards: Metro

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ULTIMATE LGBT
ROLE MODEL
Joel Burns

City Councilman,
Fort Worth District 9
City Hall,
1000 Throckmorton St.
817-392-8809

If there was one award we could have predicted the winner of last fall, it was this one. Joel Burns made history in 2007 when residents of Fort Worth’s District 9 elected him to represent them on the City Council, in the process becoming the city’s first-ever openly gay council member. But it was in 2010, after Burns made headlines around the country with a 12-minute heartfelt appeal to LGBT youth contemplating suicide, that his star really sparkled. Recounting his own teenage experience with bullies, Burns spoke of the successes in his life since then and the love he found with his husband, J.D. Angle. And Burns promised: “It gets better.” And it did, for millions of Americans, after hearing Burns. That’s more than a role model; that’s a hero.

— Tammye Nash

 

BEST LOCAL LGBT ORGANIZATION
Resource Center Dallas

2701 Reagan St.
214-528-0144
RCDallas.org

 

BEST NATIONAL LGBT ORGANIZATION
Human Rights Campaign

1640 Rhode Island Ave., N. W., Washington, D.C.
800-777-4723
HRC.org


A TEAM YOU WANNA BE A MEMBER OF Pegasus member club TKO took home the top trophy at the Gay World Series last summer.

BEST LGBT SOCIAL OR SPORTS ORGANIZATION • TIE
Pegasus Slowpitch Softball League

DallasPSSA.org


Dallas Independent Volleyball Association

DIVADallas.org

There may be no “I” in team, but there’s definitely an “A” in gay. And Dallas is home to two of the most A-list gay sports clubs anywhere. Voice readers agreed, voting both into the top spot as their favorite social/sports organization. Pegasus Slow-pitch Softball is a league with more than two dozen teams, with names as colorful as the players: Imagine getting up to bat against a pitcher for­ the Donkey Punchers. Or the Itchy Kitties. Or Sons of Pitches. Pretty intimidating, right? Well, not really. PSSA is celebrated for its camaraderie, sportsmanship and sense of fun. The spring season just started, so it’s not too late to catch them in action or put on a jersey and join a team. If you prefer hitting balls with your hands instead of a bat, DIVA, the Dallas Independent Volleyball Association, is the perfect organization for showing off that killer serve or power spike you perfected when nobody was looking in middle school P.E. There are five divisions of teams (recreational, intermediate, competitive, advanced and power), so no matter your skill level, there’s a team (with or without a net) waiting with open arms. Just not so open that they miss the ball.

— Steven Lindsey

BEST LOCAL
LGBT FUNDRAISER
The Black Tie Dinner

4015 Lemmon Ave, Suite 4001,Suite 321
Next Black Tie Dinner: Saturday, Nov. 12
972-733-9200
BlackTieDinner.org

 

BEST PLACE OF WORSHIP
Cathedral of Hope

5910 Cedar Springs Road
Services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sundays
214-351-1901
CathedralofHope.com

 

ULTIMATE
PEOPLE-WATCHING SPOT
The balcony at JR.’s Bar & Grill

3923 Cedar Springs Road
Caven.com


BEST GAY BLOG
Gay List Daily

GayListDaily.com

 

BEST SMARTPHONE
SOCIAL APP
Grindr

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 18, 2011.

—  John Wright

Jerett on the BLOCK: Being single doesn’t calm DIVA member about his first bachelor auction

DATE A DIVA | Walters started playing volleyball two years ago. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Jerett Walters is about to go on the auction block, and one thing is racing through his mind: “What did I get myself into?”

This is only his second season with DIVA, the Dallas Independent Volleyball Association, and they already have him selling himself.

Walters, 25, will join about 10 of his teammates for the annual DIVA Bachelor Auction Sunday. The event is a fundraiser for the team — a good cause. That’s why Walters agreed to do it. But he has his misgivings.

First off, Walters, a graduate student in journalism at UTD, has never even attended a bachelor auction, let alone been the subject of one. In addition, though he’s single and dating (no one in particular at the moment), he’s not sure what being “won” will mean.

“Standing on that block, waiting for people to judge me, taking my control away … I’m not a fan,” he says. “I have friends positioned in the audience to bid on me,” guaranteeing a certain minimum bid to soothe his ego. But they are under strict instructions: “If [I’m being bid on] by a cute boy, let him bid — I don’t care if I go for a dollar.”

Walters isn’t exactly sure what the full package he’s being bid on will entail, but he specified that he wanted a group date, and knows it’ll take place this Wednesday, March 2 — just a few days after the auction.

So what is he looking for on a fun date?

“Something random,” he says. “Be yourself and be fun without the pressure of a first date. And not a classic-dinner-and-a-movie date. Let’s go bowling or talk about golf.”

Or, maybe, volleyball.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 25, 2011.

—  John Wright

Volleyball-et: From en pointe to point scorer, dancer Jonah Villegas enjoys being a DIVA diva

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  |  Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

For Jonah Villegas, the most frustrating thing about being a dancer is convincing people that his talent has nothing to do with a pole.

“When I tell people I’m a dancer they always say, ‘Where? BJ’s? The Tin Room?’” says the classically trained terpsichorean, who has worked with the Texas Ballet Theater. Last year, when he put his dancing career on hold, he decided to look for something else athletic he could do to stay limber and active.

“That’s why I joined DIVA,” says Villegas, 22.

Other than summers spent hitting a ball over a net in the sand, Villegas has no experience at volleyball. But when he complained to the man he was dating that life in suburban McKinney, was stifling for a young gay man, his boyfriend recommended he join the Dallas Independent Volleyball Association.

“I’ve been out since my senior year in high school, but it’s hard to be proud and loud when you’re surrounded by nothing but restaurants and straight people,” Villegas jokes. “I think that DIVA and the gay sports of Dallas are overlooked — I have made some really great friends and feel more part of the gay community. After I heard about DIVA, I still didn’t join for more than a year — I regret that I didn’t join sooner. It’s a good way to meet quality gay people.”

Villegas’ first season with DIVA started last summer; right now, he’s gearing up for the spring season, which kicks off with new member orientation and clinics this week.

“There is a wide range of skill levels. When you do to the new member clinic, they figure what division you’re in: recreational, intermediate, competitive, advanced, power or open,” he says; intermediate is the largest, and the division he’s in. From then, captains conduct a draft to put you on teams.

So does his ballet training transfer to the volleyball court? Yes and no.

“They are very similar in the fact you need to be focused and there’s a specific way to do things. Your body tells you what come natural to you and you have to train yourself how to do it the right way. But there are differences in the way you move.”

There’s another way they’re alike, too.

“The dance world is very cutthroat — if you’re not practicing you’re already behind. I joined for friends but these people are competitive! There’s lots of slapping butts and laughing, but they don’t like to lose. Well, neither do I.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Jan. 11, 2001.

—  John Wright

LSR Journal: Riding to meet the challenge, personal and charitable

Stacy McKinney Team Dallas Voice

Stacy McKinney
Stacy McKinney

Last January I started running, and I really enjoyed it. So for my 40th birthday, I decided to challenge myself and train for a half marathon. Within a few months of training with the Dallas Running Club, I ran the Heels and Hills and Him Half Marathon.

But since I wasn’t finished challenging myself, I decided to set myself the new goal of running a marathon. In December 2009, I completed the White Rock Marathon. It was an amazing experience.

But after completing my first marathon, I was looking for a way to change up my work out and do something different. So, I bought a bike and completed a duathlon.

Even though it was difficult, I fell in love with the bike. I decided right then and there to challenge myself to do even more. A few months later, a group of friends talked me into riding the MS150.

Riding for a cause gave me so much motivation.

A few months after that, I completed my first Sprint Distance Triathlon. Recently I joined Go3Sports Triathlon Team and have four more races coming up this year.

Normally, I ride three days per week, run several times a week, and swim daily. As you can see, I am a very active person who loves to challenge herself.

What you should also know about me is that I not only love participating in these sports and races, I love coming up with costumes for my races. It is all about having fun.

For years, I have played volleyball with DIVA, the Dallas Independent Volleyball Association, and participated in DIVA’s fundraising efforts for AIDS organizations. And it was friend I play volleyball with that told me about the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS.

He told me that when he rode in 2009, he had such a great experience and met lots of new friends. When I heard this, I got really excited because I love to meet new people and make friends.

So, I was like, “Sign me up!”

I joined Team Dallas Voice and started telling everyone about the ride. I actually convinced a few friends to join me. We just started training, but I have loved every moment of it so far.

What I’ve learned over this past year is that you can push your body to the limit as long as you stay focused and positive. I have a great support system with my husband, daughter and many, many friends, and they are the ones helping me stay focused and positive.

I am very passionate about riding with Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS this year. Several of my friends are HIV-positive, and if I can raise money to help them just by riding 150 miles on my bike, then I am so happy to do it!

I am so excited to be a part of the ride this year and can’t wait to make tons of new friends and make a difference for people with HIV/AIDS.

You can make new friends and make a difference at the same time, too. Sign up to ride or crew, or make a donation to someone who is riding or crewing. It will take all of us working together to meet this challenge.

Stacy McKinney is a member of Team Dallas Voice. You can contribute to her or to any other Lone Star Ride participant online at LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 30, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas