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Countdown to the Gay Games: Dennis Pearson, Kevin Batungbacal
by Ross Forman
2006-07-12

This article shared 6122 times since Wed Jul 12, 2006
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Pictured Dennis Pearson ( left ) and Kevin Batungbacal.

DENNIS PEARSON

Age: 34

Status: Single, gay

Heritage: Hawaiian, English, Irish and Scottish

Hometown: Honolulu ( McCully section )

High School: Konawaena ( Big Island ) , Class of 1989.

College: University of Hawaii, Class of 1994 ( public speech degree ) .

Job: Reservation agent; Hawaii Prince Hotel

Hobbies: Cooking, baking, beach activities, reading and watching TV.

He's the chef: Is a skilled, popular baker whose specialty includes home-made cakes, pies, candy and more. 'My co-workers kill for my cheesecake.'

It's a fact: Makes Hawaiian leis out of yarn and ribbons

Roger Ebert: Is a movie buff, especially science fiction and action-adventure

Gay Games sport: Two-man beach volleyball, where he will team with Hawaiian Kevin Batungbacal

KEVIN BATUNGBACAL

Age: 26

Status: Single, gay.

Heritage: Philippine.

Hometown: Waikiki Beach.

High School: Honolulu McKinley, Class of 1998

College: University of Hawaii, Class of 2002 ( business administration degree )

Job: Works for Caldwell-Banker in its relocation department

Hobbies: Shopping, outdoor activities, karaoke, darts and movies

It's a Fact: Was an All-Conference ( OIA East ) volleyball player

It's Also a Fact: Had four volleyball coaches during his high school career

DENNIS ON KEVIN …

Is a workaholic

Is a social butterfly

Is a 'fashion monkey'

Loves to shop, 'yet his closets are so full he can't even fit in the new clothes that he buys'

Loves Broadway musicals

Makes hand-made Easter gifts for many friends

Very crafty and creative. Makes his own Christmas cards every year. ( Pearson said the cards are so good that he had Batungbacal make cards for him in 2005. )

'Has a thing about his hair; can play volleyball all day, yet, at the end of the day, his hair is, amazingly, still perfect'

Does things to the extreme

Is always there to help his friends

Is energetic, very intense

KEVIN ON DENNIS …

'Is the Mother Hen'

'He is Mr. Martha Stewart'

Is always baking

Is always there for me. 'He's a really good person, a really good friend'

They first met in February 2004 while playing in a Monday night indoor volleyball league at a local Honolulu church. Dennis Pearson's first impression of Kevin Batungbacal was that he was short, but nonetheless he was doing some impressive things on the court.

Batungbacal was going to California with some of his friends for a tournament. They asked Pearson if he wanted to join, and the two actually shared a hotel room.

'Even though we're nine years apart, we found out that we have a lot of things in common, plus we have a lot of mutual friends,' Pearson said. 'He's kind of like a little brother to me.'

The two are not a couple. They're not dating, though many often assume that's the case because they're always together.

Pearson and Batungbacal will be together in Chicago for Gay Games VII, playing two-man beach volleyball.

'Since we know each other so well and get along so well off the court, it really helps our on-court play,' Pearson said. 'The strength of the team is, ball control and communication. And that communication often isn't even verbal. I just know where he'll be and I think he knows where I'll be.'

The two have been training rigorously for the Games since last December, often answering the challenges of countless opponents at Queen's Beach every weekend in Waikiki. They endure the deep Waikiki sand, which, from a training perspective, helps their game.

Batungbacal, certainly a better indoor player, is fairly new to the outdoor game. But that doesn't affect their view on the Games and, specifically, how they hope to do.

'We expect to do well. Our goal is to come back with a gold medal, plain and simple,' Pearson said. 'Come July 1, I'm really gonna get giddy about the Games, no doubt about it. I think a lot of people locally expect us to do well, and that puts a lot of pressure on us. But actually, they're cheering for us more than anything else. Most of all, though, we want to do well and have fun.

'I'm really looking forward to the opening ceremony. Everyone always dreams of that 'Olympic experience,' and I want to do that.'

Added Batungbacal: 'I'm really excited to go to Chicago. I have no expectations. I just want to go there, have fun and hopefully win. That's why we're training so hard.'

Their weekend training includes drills and cardio, not just matches. Batungbacal is back on the beach Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for conditioning drills.

'We really bond well as a team,' Batungbacal said. 'We're best friends, and that helps us develop as a team. And developing chemistry on the beach can, at times, be difficult because you absolutely have to have someone who you can rely and depend on.'

The eight-year age difference does not impact their play, Batungbacal said.

'We don't know what to expect at the Games. That includes the level of play and the overall unknowns,' Batungbacal said. 'So, we're training as hard as we can to prepare ourselves for anything that can possibly happen.'

At only 5-foot-7, Batungbacal is aided by his gymnastics background, which includes back-to-back age-group state champion titles.

'I love it when I play against taller guys, some like twice as big as me,' Batungbacal said. 'I don't let people intimidate me; I just focus on my game; I just play my game.'


This article shared 6122 times since Wed Jul 12, 2006
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