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  WINDY CITY TIMES

On the Road to the Gay Games ...
2005-11-09

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Ted Cappas

Hometown: Chicago

Birthdate: Dec. 1, 1971

Status: Partnered

Sports: Softball, basketball and flag football

Occupation: Self-employed collateral analyst

High School: Glenbrook North, Class of 1990 ( Northbrook, Ill. )

College: Indiana University, Class of 1994 ( business degree )

He's a Chicago Bulls season-ticket holder, a diehard Chicago Cubs fans and at least twice a day watches SportsCenter on ESPN. Ted Cappas truly is a sports junkie, dating back to his two-sport ( basketball and baseball ) career as a prep athlete in suburban Chicago.

Cappas is now a mainstay in Chicago's gay sports leagues, in and out of his athletic uniforms. He's been playing softball since 1998, an outfielder for the Chicago Spin Devils. He also is a point guard for the Chicago Spin basketball team and was the league MVP this past year. Plus, he's been a quarterback for his flag football team that has won a couple of league championships.

Cappas also runs Chicago's Coady Roundball Classic basketball tournament, the largest of its type in the world. He also will hold that role for the Gay Games. Hence, Cappas schedules the games, assigns referees and more. Cappas is a member of the Board of Directors for the Gay Games and a Co-Chair of the Sports Committee. Plus, Cappas is one of several athletes pictured in and out of their athletic uniforms ( in street clothes ) for ads promoting the Gay Games. In addition to running the basketball competition, he also will be playing basketball in the Games.

Cappas came out when he was 25 and has had the full support of his family and friends. His family even has attended several of his tournaments. His brother, John, 42, and two of his childhood friends—all of whom are straight—are teammates on his gay basketball teams.

'It'd be real nice to win gold at the Gay Games, but I just hope my team wins a medal,' Cappas said. 'From a Board of Director's point of view, I hope the Games run smoothly as a whole and are profitable. The Gay Games can have a major impact on a lot of people, both gay and straight, especially here in the Midwest. I hope the Games show that just because we're gay, hey, we're no different than anyone else.'

'For me, playing in gay sporting events is a way to come to terms with people just like me,' Cappas said. 'It's re-affirming that I am an athlete, that I am gay and that I can be both—a gay athlete.'

Even if he never played hoops for Indiana University or pitched for the Chicago Cubs, his ultimate sports dreams ... .

LINDA BACHE

Age: 43

Hometown: Chicago

College: Michigan State University

Gay Games sports: flag football and indoor volleyball.

Status: Domestic partner, Yvette Holt; been together for 2- years. She will play basketball and softball in the Games. 'With our different schedules for the Games, we probably won't see each other all week,' Bache said, laughing.

It's a fact: Is a whiz at crossword puzzles, especially the Sunday New York Times.

It's also a fact: Loves to travel, especially internationally. Has been to 21 countries, including Russia, Estonia, Norway, Denmark, Italy and Poland. Her 22nd country will be Greece, next spring.

It was all for a pair of walkie-talkies that, in sixth-grade, Linda Bache made a deal with her mom to tryout for a cheerleading team.

She got the walkie-talkies. Surprisingly and quite sadly, she also made the team. Bache, you see, not only was better than many of the Pop Warner league football players, but, she couldn't even watch the games. She was, instead, cheering and had her back to the play.

Flash-forward to 2002. Bache took the field as a wide receiver and safety for the Chicago Force, a women's professional team, despite no previous organized football experience. 'That was a lifelong dream come true, for me and most players on the Force. There were a lot of teary eyes at that first game,' Bache said.

Jump ahead to 2006. Bache will lead a flag football team into the Gay Games comprised of Chicago flag players and, oh, as many as nine Force teammates.

'This is going to be my first Gay Games and I don't really know what to expect. But I'll be ready for anything. In fact, I'm taking the whole week off ( from work ) to enjoy the Games,' Bache said. 'I have friends who competed in Amsterdam and they had a great experience. I'm sure I will, too.'

She also will play indoor volleyball for Chicago Crush, sponsored by Spin, in the Games—a flashback to her days at Michigan State University in the early 1980s, when she two-sported, softball and volleyball.

Bache is now the general manager and part-owner of the Force, and also obviously still a player. She has no favorite NFL team, but her favorite players include Brian Urlacher, Drew Brees and Tory Holt. Her least favorites are the 'showboats,' such as Terrell Owens.

'Flag football is all about finesse and speed. But I definitely love the hitting that comes with tackle football,' Bache said. 'It's much easier to be more athletic in flag football because you're moving around, running around without a helmet and all of the pads.

'My tackle football experience definitely helps in flag football, as it does for all of the players who play both. Our techniques seem to be better, as does our positioning and simple understanding of the game of football,' because they play both tackle and flag football. Plus, she added, they are aided by the Force's year-round weight-training schedule.

Bache is a senior account manager for a fuel company. She also works in real estate and has endured three knee surgeries and a back injury due to sports.

'Football is my favorite sport. Volleyball for me is mostly a social thing. But that's the purpose of the Gay Games: participation and community,' Bache said.

Profiles by Ross Forman


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