Headshot by Sarah Rabot
After a little over two years as State Representative Brian Sims’s deputy chief of staff, Anna Aagenes is moving on to a new gig that will find her working for LGBT people in sports.
Starting March 23rd, the Penn grad will step into the role of vice president of operations for You Can Play Project, a nonprofit that works to promote LGBTQ inclusivity in sporting leagues across the nation. There, among other things, she tells me her duties will run the gamut from general management of programs and developing partnerships with leagues and media to spearheading athletic conferences. One of her most important missions, however, is partnering with organizations to secure more female athlete involvement and helping to expand initiatives to make sure female leagues and female athletes get the spotlight they deserve.
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Reports from Gay Games in Cleveland and Akron are pouring in, and Team Philadelphia continues to haul in the medals—golds, silvers, bronzes, you name it. Here’s a recap of today’s winners, reported to me from Team Philadelphia Chair Bob Szwajkos and GO! Athletes Executive Director Anna Aagenes.
Team Philadelphia is now a triple winner in softball. City of Brotherly Love Softball League (CBLSL)’s Honeybadgers (pictured) took gold this afternoon at Firestone Park in Akron. I told you yesterday that CBLSL’s men’s team, and the Fairmount Fillies also took gold in their respective tournaments.
Anna Aagenes continues to kick ass in track and field. She won first place in today’s 800m—in her age group (18-29) and overall. She also won gold in yesterday’s 5K.
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The Fairmount Fillies show of their gold, and a few No. 1 fingers.
Team Philadelphia is having a hell of a day at the Gay Games in Cleveland. This morning we reported that track and field runner Anna Aagenes took home gold in the age 18-29 women’s 5K, and now I’m getting word that two more teams have scored that most precious of medals.
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Anna Aagenes with her gold medal that she won in the women’s age 18-29 5K.
Philly Track and Fielder Anna Aagenes took gold in her age group in today’s 5K at the Gay Games in Cleveland, Ohio.
She tells me she finished in 19:04, which is the fastest time in her age group and overall women’s 5K on the track. “I went out pretty fast the first mile, and just held it until the end,” she says.
Aagenes, an alum of Penn, is executive director of GO! Athletes, an organization that aims to end LGBT discrimination in sports. She is also the recent winner of Best of Philly’s Best LGBT Champion. She’s running again tomorrow and Friday, so stay tuned for updates.
Aagenes isn’t the only local athlete to take home medals this week. Here’s a recap of what I know so far:
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When I started blogging for G Philly last year, I knew the experience would teach me many things. I did not, however, expect one of those things to be sports. Last night I stopped by the William Way Community Center, where Team Philadelphia Chair Bob Szwajkos was handing out t-shirts and other supplies to the nearly 60 local athletes heading to the Gay Games this weekend in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. Throughout the course of the evening I chatted up some of the players, learning all kinds of things that I never knew before: how to spell shot put (which seems obvious, but it looks so weird spelled out, huh?), that throwing a javelin requires you to be able to twerk, and, well, I learned that I have a few new Man Crush Monday entries to add to my growing list.
I also learned that this will be Szwajkos’s last Gay Games as chair of Team Philadelphia. He tells me he will step down after four years to concentrate on writing a book about the history of gay sports in Philadelphia. (We’ll touch more on that down the road.)
For now, check out these snapshots of some of the athletes I met. I wanted to share them so you’d know who to root for next week when they’re in Ohio taking on LGBT competitors from across the globe in every sport from softball to hammer-throwing to soccer. Get to know some of them in the slideshow below, and be sure to check back to G Philly next week for updates on how our local teams are doing on the scoreboards.
Members of Philadelphia Fusion, the reigning gold medal winners in softball at the Gay Games. From L-R: Jeff Sotland, Kevin Armstrong, Bob Lenahan, and Pete Clark.
Heather Scanlon is a Track and Field competitor. She will perform in the shot put, javelin, hammer-throwing, and discus competitions.
Two other Track and Field competitors, Brian Arcedera and Anna Aagenes. Arcedera will go for the gold in sprints, mid-distance, and climbing, while Aagenes takes on the 800- and 1500-meter relays.
Ryan Merrigan is competing with two teams: Philadelphia Falcons (soccer), and Philadelphia Fusion (softball.)
Robert Szwajkos will compete in golf.
Kurt Douglass, who was there to help Szwajkos pass out t-shirts, will play tennis.
5K half-marathon runner Kurt Schulthise
I'm so sorry I caught you with your eyes closed, Walter Beck. I wish you the best of luck with the Falcons soccer team.
Szwajkos and Douglass show off a t-shirt for the Paris games in 2018, which local athletes will wear to the closing ceremony in Ohio next week. Szwajkos was particularly proud of that shirt, "because no team has been to the closing ceremonies wearing a t-shirt for the next Gay Games."
Gay Bar: U Bar
There isn’t a dance floor in the whole place, and drag-queen sightings are rare. But that’s exactly what’s so great about the bar formerly known as Uncles. (Well, that and the studly bartenders.) U Bar stands apart from other Gayborhood watering holes as a no-fuss, no-’tude, unpretentious spot to grab a strong drink or two and gab with friends. 1220 Locust Street, Midtown Village, 215-546-6660.
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Every hump day, a Philly woman shares her local picks for Woman Crush Wednesday. Today, GO! Athletes Executive Director, and right hand woman to Philly State Rep. Brian Sims, Anna Aagenes.
"Holding hands proudly, without fear."
Sharron is an amazing community organizer, leader, and advocate for the trans* community in Philadelphia. Despite being busy as a full-time student at Arcadia, a volunteer at the William Way Center, and an entrepreneur, Sharron always manages to show up as the most stylish person in the room.
Yana and Archita Banerjee
I put this married duo together, because, well, when you see their wedding pictures, you’ll understand how beautiful they are inside and out. I met the two of them when I was an undergraduate. Archita is a consultant and Wharton grad, and Yana is a norse practicioner at Greater Philadelphia Health Action (GPHA.)
She's the Director of Development at The Attic Youth Center, meaning that she helps secure valuable resources to fund some of the most important support programs serving LGBTQ youth in Philadelphia. Bonus points since she is engaged to my high school friend Shay.
Amber’s work with Stimulus may be what she is most known for, but she spreads awesomeness and love with whatever she does. She is not only the Director for Upward Bound, but she spearheads the Philly Dyke March, and other important community events and projects.
Erica is a former co-worker and friend who can probably lift and squat more than the strongest man friend you know. By day, she's a case manager for young women at the Youth Study Center (YSC). By night, she's a fierce contender in strong woman competitions or training at Urban Athlete.
Share your Woman Crush Wednesday!
Here are the rules: (1) Name five to 10 ladies you’re crushing on (2) You and all women involved must be from Philadelphia (3) Email your crushes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Five Woman Crush Wednesdays