Read the intensely personal story of a long-planned visit to Australia by Roger Brigham, journalist and Honorary Life Member of the Federation of Gay Games.
Wrestlers in Sydney, including Roger Brigham, fifth from left, gather at a clinic. Photo: Courtesy Andrew Farrell
Reprinted from the Bay Area Reporter
Every sports person should get a chance at least once in life to coach Australians.
Twenty years ago, I was a fragile remnant of a former athlete. My physicians' six-month deathwatch had stretched to two and a half years. In the worst of it, I summarized my experience by writing, "I have lain in bed staring at the face of Death, and worse, held the hands of his rotting minions."
This year, as spring took hold in the Bay Area after the wettest of winters, I found myself resurrected thousands of miles away in a place I thought I'd never see, enjoying the first days of autumn making new friends, cooking a feast for 20 fellow athletes, and coaching them in the sport that saved my life.
For a few years, Tony Galluzzo, then-president of Harbour City Wrestling Club in Sydney, had tried to get me to Australia to conduct a wrestling clinic. I'd met Galluzzo at the 2010 Gay Games in Cologne, Germany, when he was one of three Aussies there to wrestle. Over the years our friendship and respect grew. He let me coach his club at the 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland, Ohio, and the effort to bring me to Sydney began.
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