Crystal Lake To Permit Whatever Floats Your Boat Rowing Event


Story Summary:

[In 2006, we resided in Crystal Lake, IL, an exurb of Chicago that was selected as the site for the Rowing events of the 2006 Gay Games, This is my perspective on the ensuing events.]

Our story, the full AP version of which is provided by The Chicago Tribune, opens with a request to use Crystal Lake as the site for the Rowing events of the Gay Games, scheduled to be held in July, 2006.

The fun actually starts on March 2, when the Crystal Lake Park Board, with the Board President absent, voted 2-2 on the proposal, effectively gaygamesdenying the needed permit. A second vote at a March 7 meeting, with the Board President present and attended by over 300 individuals,1 resulted in a 3-2 vote in favor of granting permission, but only after a four hour raucous debate between opponents of the event, who warned of certain inevitably attendant dangers:

  • The gay lifestyle
  • Public sex
  • Same-sex marriage
  • AIDS
  • Nudity, open sex, and lewdness

and those supporting the event, who, the AP report notes, “criticized the resistance as discriminatory and hateful.” [Editorial Note: Does “hateful” seem a bit prissy, description-wise, to anyone else? Somehow it calls to mind the kind of comment a 7th grade girl might make when she overhears a classmate criticize her hair more than a point of view in a debate over gay rights.]

By the time the City Council met April 4th to take action, bureaucracy, as it is wont to do, had overcome controversy; consequently, the most heatedly debated issue at that meeting was whether the no-wake provision (which apparently has nothing to do with interrupting ones sleep or with commemorating ones death) should begin at 11 AM or noon. Permission to row, row, and if need be, row ones boat, regardless of sexual preference, was granted.2

The Heck Of A Guy Perspective:

Apparently, certain issues have not previously come to light because of lack of hard evidence, a sense of fair play, or considerations of good taste.

Happily, The Heck Of A Guy Blog is oblivious to such constraints.

Sponsorship aside, Rowing itself is a decidedly suspicious sport.

For one thing, it features competitions officially known as Coxless Pairs (confusingly, a coxless boat is also known as a straight boat), Head Races, and Bumps Races.

Purportedly Coxless Pair
Purportedly Coxless Pair

And, it has to raise ones eyebrow — and not in one of those come-hither gestures — to learn that there are positions called Strokeman and Coxswain, the latter of whom is on board solely to steer, set strategy, and, according to the rules, “provide motivation and encouragement.”3

Heck Of A Guy investigative reporters, working on leads from their anonymous source, Incredibly Hot, Deeply Sensual Throat, were the first to unearth the Gaydar Map shown below, which graphically displays the anticipated extension of the dreaded Gay Waves from the point of impact when that first homosexual oar strikes the sacred waters of Crystal Lake.


While it went unreported in the press, a compromise solution was discussed, faltering only when local builders could not commit to completing construction of the closet surrounding the lake by July.

Opponents of the Gay Games may have overlooked the deceptive Gay Games provision that allows participants to be heterosexual, homosexual, or combinations thereof, as long as they are supportive of gay rights, a practice that will bring into this community the stealth gays, who, just because they are straight, may not be detected as gay.

The Chicago Tribune reported that the lone dissenter at the City Council Meeting stated, “I’m against this event, I think it’s a slap in the face.” It is unknown, however, if the slap indicated was a bitch slap or just a regular old slap.

While Gay Games supporters declared that only a few Rowing events would be located in Crystal Lake, this recently leaked map would seem to indicate otherwise.


Most lamentable is the fact that the City Council and many citizens chose to be reasonable about this thing, thus eliminating what could have been an ongoing source of comedy for this blog. I suppose that’s what happens when a spoilsport like Rev. Dan Larson of the Congregational Unitarian Church points out that “Everybody has a right to row their boat.”


Crystal Lake, Illinois – Geopolitical Background:

Crystal Lake (Motto: “Not all that far from Wisconsin”) is the kind of self-styled pastoral paradise where one cannot swing a dead cat without hitting someone bent over, smelling some damn rose. (This is, it seems to me, a compelling argument for stocking up on dead cats.) In these parts, “kinky” is viewed less a matter of taste or even a physiological or psychological variation than a supernatural visitation, not unlike a three headed calf (which, incidentally, will be headlining the local fair this year.) Some time ago, a local paper, in a single edition, discovered and patiently explained to its readers (I kid you not) that Mothers are “God’s handiwork,” that many local kids who are currently seniors will become high school graduates and face either the uncertain job market or the mysteries of college, and, that, of course, Crystal Lake favors slow, careful, controlled housing growth as opposed to the cancerous, hectic, and, yes, careless kind of growth that other towns apparently prefer.


Note: Originally posted Apr 6, 2006 at, a predecessor of

  1. 300 is, coincidentally, also the estimated number of rowers and spectators expected for the event itself []
  2. Approval from the village of Lakewood, which also abuts [snicker] Crystal Lake, is required but expected to be granted later this month. []
  3. DrHGuy does acknowledge that situations may exist in which a little motivation and encouragement – or at least some reaction besides just lying there, for God’s sake – certainly wouldn’t hurt. []

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