Dick Uyvari (right) with Greg Louganis at the Gay Games VII Night of 100 Champions event, where Louganis and Uyvari (with his partner Joe La Pat, left) were honored with Champions awards. Photo by Hal Baim
Hometown: Chicago ( Uptown )
Favorite Sport ( other than bowling ) : College football. 'I love all sports, especially watching sports on TV.'
Favorite Athletes: Michael Jordan ( 'Who else?' ) , Greg Louganis and Martina Navratilova. 'Greg is a great inspiration to so many, what he went through. He's a great role-model for a lot of people. The same can be said for Martina.'
Favorite Movies: The Lion in Winter ( Hepburn and O'Toole ) ; Ghost. 'I've seen it a dozen times and still like it.'
Favorite TV Shows: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Nip/Tuck and Sex And The City.
People Don't Know That I … 'was not computer-savvy until two years ago.'
Hidden Skill: 'That I can give a good haircut.'
If I Could Meet One Person ( Living or Dead ) , It Would Be: John F. Kennedy.
Favorite Sports Team: Notre Dame.
Favorite Chicago Sports Team: Chicago Bears.
Three People Who Made A Difference in Chicago's LGBT Community: Tracy Baim, Art Johnston and Tom Tunney. 'I truly admire each.'
It's a Fact: Is involved in real estate investing.
It's Also a Fact: Met his life partner, Joe La Pat, a month before the Stonewall Riots of 1969.
Dick Uyvari has been a mainstay in Chicago's LGBT sporting scene since 1979, specifically on the bowling front. And, yes, he's still quite active; he competed in Gay Games VII this summer and already has Cologne, Germany, circled on his 2010 calendar.
But he's just not quite as quick now as he was during an eight-day stretch in 1991.
It was a Friday night in April of that year. In what was then known simply as the MSA League, Uyvari bowled his first 300, signifying a perfect game. Eight days later, he tallied his second career 300 game.
He hasn't had once since, nor did he have any before.
'The years just fly by. It's hard to believe it was over 25 years ago that I started' in the Chicago LGBT sports community, said Uyvari. 'But then I look at some of the young athletes around, some of the young bowlers … shoot, some of them weren't even born when I started.
'I don't have a lot of regrets when it comes to the LGBT community—perhaps that I just wish I had done better in some of my Gay Games events. I guess the only real regret that I have over the years is losing so many friends to AIDS, especially my best friend, Carl Serra of Toronto, who died in July, 1993. So many people passed away so young.'
Uyvari's contributions to the LGBT community, which start locally and certainly extend globally, will be recognized in November when he is inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.
'I'm honored,' he said, 'to have been reconized by my peers in the LGBT community.'
Uyvari has dedicated much of his life to Chicago's LGBT sporting community, especially this year with the Gay Games being held locally. Just consider some of Uyvari's accomplishments:
— Has been the president, secretary and treasurer for more than a dozen LPL and MSA ( now CMSA ) bowling leagues.
— Was the co-director in of the IGBO '83 Chicago, held over Memorial Day weekend at Waveland Bowl and with a sold-out entry of 576 gay and lesbian bowlers from the U.S. and Canada.
— Founded the Chicago Pride-Week Invitational Bowling Tournament ( now CPI ) and served as its director for the first two years.
— Co-founded and co-chaired Strike Against AIDS from 1984-'92, and raised about $500,000 for AIDS-related agencies.
— Started MSA's Athletes Against AIDS in 1987, making it affordable for AIDS-impacted individuals to participate in MSA bowling leagues.
— Has bowled in more than 200 LGBT tournaments, including all 26 IGBO Annual Tournaments.
— Has participated in six of seven Gay Games, only missing Sydney in 2002, and has won one gold medal, two silver medals and a bronze medal.
— Was co-director of the bowling event for Gay Games VII.
— Donated, along with his partner Joe La Pat, more than $100,000 to the Gay Games VII Outreach Scholarship Fund.
'Having been there in the beginning of the gay sports explosion, not just here in Chicago, but nationally,' stands out the most in his mind, he said. ( That was about 1980, he added. ) He also said that 'having the opportunity to bring athletes to Chicago from all around the world for the Gay Games through the scholarship program,' was wonderful. 'That was an honor, privilege, very rewarding. It was so nice to know that we, Joe and I, could make a difference in so many people's lives, just by giving them the opportunity to come to Chicago for the Games.'
Uyvari joined the Games as Bowling co-director in February, basically coming out of retirement. He consistently worked 14-hour days for the final three months.
'I wanted to contribute as much as I could to make the Games a quality event for everyone. My motivation was [ that ] the event was in Chicago and Chicago is my home city,' he said. 'I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime event, having the Games here, so I wanted to make it the best possible event for everyone coming to Chicago because I love my city and am proud of my city.
'The work leading up to the Games was very intense, very high-pressure. It was the most difficult job I've done in my 62 years, and that includes everything.'
He stated, though, that he would gladly do it all over again but wished 'I had more free time during the Games, so I would have been able to see more events, more matches in different sports, not to mention bowl better, but it didn't happen.' Uyvari was presented an honorary gold medal before the Closing Ceremony at Wrigley Field as a special thank-you, acknowledgement for the work he did.
Uyvari and his life partner of 37 years, Joe La Pat, already have committed to sponsor the 20-member Soweto ( South African ) lesbian soccer team for the 2010 Games in Germany. 'We wanted to and felt motivated to do it,' Uyvari said. 'We only saw [ the team ] twice [ in Chicago ] , on the Saturday before the Games, at a scholarship athletes presentation, which was a very moving experience for both of us. They were so grateful and happy to be there. And then on the Monday after the Games, just before they left for the airport.'