August 2011 Docklander
02 Aug 2011
By Yasemin Pelevan
Melbourne’s first gay rugby union team is on its way to an international world cup and Docklands resident Sam Minter is leading the way.
The National Foods employee first started playing with Australia’s first gay rugby union team, the Sydney Convicts, in 2003.
When he joined the Convicts his motivation was to represent Australia in the Bingham Cup, a rugby tournament of up to 30 teams of gay men held every two years.
Sam and his Charger team-mates challenge homophobia in sport. Sam says his sport is diverse and the Bingham Cup shows that rugby union accepts gay people.
“It’s good for the gay community to see members of their community being involved in a sport that people thought was inaccessible,” Sam said.
As a child Sam always wanted to play rugby. But fears of not being good enough and being bullied because of his sexual orientation held him back.
“A lot of gay men grow up feel isolated from playing sport, especially team sport,” Sam said.
Sam moved to Melbourne for work two years ago. He is pleased with the move and appreciates the opportunity to live and work in the same area.
Docklands has fast become Sam’s training ground. He goes on regular jogs to maintain his form and works out at a local gym.
Sam and his teammates are working hard to fundraise for their bid to make it to the Bingham Cup next year. If successful, it will be Melbourne’s first time at the cup.
“My main goal is to ensure a successful tour of Manchester for the cup next year,” he said.
“Rugby touring is an unbelievable amount of fun and the best way to travel is with 25 of your closest mates.”
“For any suburban rugby player to represent their country overseas is a really special feeling,” he said.
The team is receiving an overwhelming amount of support and is creating a real “buzz” in its community.
“If you’re a gay rugby player this is one of those once in lifetime things you have to do,” Sam said.
If there were more role models like you, when I was growing up I might have liked sports better.
Like many gay guys I also felt isolated, and if I could have found a way to get out of sports day I would. And I went to a all boy school. Funny thing now is, I don’t mind going to the gym.
I wish the team all the best. I know your all going to do great, no matter what the out come might be.
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