By Sifu Patty O'Linger
Parking Enforcement Officer Patty O'Linger dispenses parking justice on the streets of Portland, Oregon. Photo by Webly Bowles.
“Hey! Hey!! I’m right here! What are you doing!?” I hear shouted in my direction. Every now and then there are offensive words included. Such is the life of a parking enforcement officer.
“I’m so glad to see you.” These are the first words I say to the upset driver returning to the car I just cited, as they stop running and yelling. It’s not what they expect. I disarm them with my warm greeting, rather than starting a lecture. They quickly rattle off some kind of excuse for their violation: “I just ran in for a moment” (when they didn’t pay to park); “My boss kept going on and on in our meeting” (when they are 20 minutes overtime); “I didn’t understand the sign” (when parked in a truck loading zone).
By Broch Bender
You could say I was a late bloomer in the sports department. Studying Kung Fu at Seattle Sil Lum was the first time I had ever held a regular physical exercise practice, or been a part of any kind of organized sports group, in my life. I remember my teacher, Michele Miller, told me early on that anyone can learn Kung Fu, and if I stuck with it, I could too. However, between you and me, if Michele told me I would win a bronze medal at the Gay Games six years later, I never would have believed her.
My win at Gay Games X was sweet, but the journey was even sweeter.
Heather Coyle, left, and Michele Miller, take gold for their two-person form. Photo courtesy of unknown Gay Games participant.
By Sifu Nynke Koopmans
Gay Games Ten, Paris 2018. Our contingent of thirteen martial artists from Hand to Hand Kajukenbo were warmly welcomed. We immediately (and naturally) bonded with ‘competing’ martial artists from all around the world. Even before tournaments began, we were awed and inspired by the beautiful movements of the Seattle Si Lum martial artists. There was instant mutual respect and connection.
Team Hand to Hand’s spirit was strong as we jumped in to support other martial artists (and each other), in times of struggle, and in the spirit of good sportspersonship Hand to Hand was honored to uke for ‘competing’ teams. For many of us it was a celebration in itself, just to have made it to the Gay Games, despite personal, physical and cultural obstacles.