The top floor of Vancouver’s Edgewater Casino is bustling with activity. Eight tables full of keen betters and pokerfaced gamblers are betting big dollars in the morning round of Texas hold ’em.
Poker’s hold on the sporting world is undeniable, and as an official sport in this year’s Outgames, it should definitely be a hit. The early-morning crowds are a good sign for day two of the games, with one exception: these aren’t Outgames players; they’re just the regular Tuesday crowd.
I consult my Outgames schedule to make sure I have the date and time right. I even show Mel Thomas, the casino security shift manager, the GLISA Official Guide, hoping that maybe my request was lost in translation.
I point to the time slot. 11am.
“Do you see family here?” Thomas asks.
After several minutes and an in-house call by the Edgewater information staff asking if anyone knows about the “Outback” games, I am informed that the Tuesday and Wednesday sessions have been cancelled but that Thursday’s hands are still a go.
Not to be dissuaded, I check the next event on the list. Tennis. Noon. Stanley Park. That’s only 15 minutes away by bicycle. I scurry off.
After a beautiful ocean ride, I am greeted by a similar scene next to the Fish House Tennis club: a contingent of committed locals swatting away on the free courts, cheered on by the screeching herons above, and not a single Outgames athlete to be found.
This time, in addition to consulting the guide, I do a quick search of the Outgames site on my smartphone. The events page says that registration is closed for this day’s tennis matches and that the first serve is only five minutes away. The empty courts in front of me, however, beg to differ. I call one of the contact numbers on the Outgames site.
“We have had problems with various organizations getting us up to date,” says Outgames communications director Barb Snelgrove, addressing the discrepancy between the website, the program and the non-events. She is sympathetic to my plight but is unable to confirm if the event has been cancelled, if the matches are alternating between here and Queen Elizabeth Park, or if there will be any events the next day, as the schedule indicates there will be.
After a pleasant conversation, I am given the sports coordinator’s number. I leave two messages but do not get a reply by posting time.