Golden Boot 2000

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Golden Boot 2000 - Darrell Ertzberger

presentation at Crack The Crab by Paul Waters

I would first like to thank Mike Staples and Ric Gonzalez for the honor they bestowed upon me last year. Not only for honoring me with the Golden Boot Award, but for allowing me to receive it in my hometown of Los Angeles. It will be a memory that I long cherish. I thank you both.

The Golden Boot Award has a history that stretches back to the beginnings of our activity, and indeed, the first recipient received his award at the time of the very first convention. It is a tradition that has grown to be very much a part of our yearly family reunion--an event better known as the IAGSDC annual convention. And it seems entirely fitting that an occasion such as this should provide a forum to honor the finest of our activity, before an audience of over a thousand of their peers.

But then comes the question of who to honor this year with this auspicious award.

To select this year's recipient, I considered the criteria that have been used to determine past recipients, as well as the list of the recipients themselves, and determined that the Golden Boot recipient must be:

  • A person who has given freely of their time and energy as a consequence of their love for the activity, well beyond what could conceivably be expected of even the most dedicated of individuals.
  • A person whose long-term commitment to the activity has been demonstrated by many, many years of selfless service to the gay square dance community.
  • A person recognized nationally and internationally for their contributions to gay square dancing, who has had an ongoing positive impact that reaches far beyond their home club.
  • A person who has worked to insure the world of gay square dancing continues to expand and grow, so that no matter where any of us goes, be it Baltimore, Maryland or Tokyo, Japan, there is a welcoming family ready to receive us.
  • A person who has served in the role of liaison between the gay square dance community and the straight square dance community -- building the bridges that not only expand the dancing opportunities for gay and lesbian square dancers, but contributes to the ever-increasing inclusion of GLBT people as full partners in the fabric of the society within which we live.
  • And finally, a person who has demonstrated an appreciation of the history of the activity--and just how far we've come--and the vision to see, and work for, an even better future that is rapidly unfolding before us.

And then there's the list of recipients.

Stretching from, Art Smith, who was honored as the very first Golden Boot recipient in 1983, up until the present--twenty individuals and groups have been honored in this way. They are a varied lot--both dedicated volunteers and consummate professionals, men and women, gay and straight, Americans and Canadians, singles and couples--some with relationships that date back 50 years (happy anniversary Bill & Stan). There is, however, one trait that unifies them all--their love for this activity, and their dogged determination to insure its prosperity and growth. And to this honor roll will be added another name tonight, and it is only fitting that the 21st Golden Boot recipient will receive their award at the dawn of the 21st century.

Many past recipients have stood before this assembly and talked about the difficulties of selecting a recipient for whom to pass this tradition. And as with past recipients, the list of worth candidates that faced me was lengthy, and speaks to the strength of our activity that so many individuals share this great love for the activity, and put their love into selfless actions and deeds for the betterment of us all. But for me, the decision was simple, for I knew who this year's recipient would be within seconds of hearing my name last year in Los Angeles.

Although the decision was carefully reconsidered once the whirlwinds of Lights, Camera, Linear Action! died down, and an opportunity to reflect presented itself, I determined that my initial decision was the right decision, and so I would like you to join me in recognizing this year's Golden Boot Award recipient . . . .

Darrell Ertzberger.

To say that Darrell has put in time and energy on our behalf is the understatement of the decade. To begin with, he has served on the IAGSDC Board since 1991 in the capacity of Vice Chair, Treasurer and Chairperson. Anyone who has worked with Darrell knows the hours he puts in to insure the reports are complete, the mailings are done, and the deadlines are met. This doesn't happen by accident, and more often than not, Darrell is the one who is putting in the long hours to insure the job is done and done right.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Darrell and have worked with him for many of years, so I have first-hand knowledge of the initiatives he has undertaken to insure the growth of the activity. From supporting the efforts of fledgling clubs, to making phone calls in an attempt to find a local caller for a new club that wants to form--and not giving up when yet another square dance caller slams down the phone when they find out who it is on the other end of the line. This takes determination and resolve, and Darrell has always been there, picking up the phone to make that call to the next one on the list in the hope that, just maybe, this call will be the one. A lesser man would give up after the fifth try, Darrell doesn't give up after the twenty-fifth.

But in terms of something that has long-term benefits that transcend our activity into the larger arena of the ongoing march of ever-increasing inclusion of GLBT Americans as full-fledged partners in our society, I can point to the fledgling attempt at the formation of the National Council of Square Dance Organizations. When the call went out to form this organization, the IAGSDC was one of the organizations invited to participate. And when all was said and done, there we were--with a seat at the table--and a first class seat in a first class location--an integral, and welcome, part of the proceedings.

Although the Boy Scouts haven't figured it out (Ed. Note: In June 2000, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts can discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation), the national leadership of the square dance organizations have. And no small factor in this state of affairs is Darrell, and the leadership he has exerted on our behalf.

And so now, I have the pleasure of introducing to you, the year 2000 recipient of the Golden Boot Award, Darrell Ertzberger.