I was reading a friend of a friend’s story about sports and growing up as a gay man and it got my wheels a spinning. His story was very different than mine and somewhat surprised me. He explained he often felt disconnected from the community because he could find so few gay men into sports. Apparently, it caused some struggles and heartache over the years for him. Growing up loving sports and being gay, naturally he wanted to find others to connect with and share in the experience. You’d think that would be a no-brainer for me. hahaha
I’ll admit, I’d never thought of it that way. I never once connected that someone might feel alienated by the lack of gay men who play sports. Growing up the way I did, it just never occurred to me. All these years I’ve lamented over having sports ruined for me by my father. I never once took into consideration others might have gone a different path. The realization certainly made me appreciate his story more. I’m a little embarrassed to say I never made the connection until now.
I grew up hating sports. My father1 made every effort to make a ‘man out of me‘ by forcing me into sports. Everything in my existence as a boy and potential man became tied to sports. So naturally, I grew up hating sports, especially football. You’d think being such a homo-erotic sport, I’d love it! Nope. To this day, I get annoyed and bored the moment someone flips on the TV and a football game is on. I can’t help it. No matter how hard I try, I cannot find an ounce of enjoyment out of watching football on TV. I’d sooner go dig in the dirt.
On a related tangent, it should come as no surprise that some gay men grow up thinking that being into sports makes them more manly or makes them less stereotypical gay. *yawn* Nothing could be further from the truth. But, if you wanna see a textbook example of how we develop coping-mechanisms to combat insecurities, it’s perfect! (And hysterical to watch) But again, a tangent and one we should save for another day.
I did eventually find a sport that I enjoy, hockey. One of a few sports my father never hit on so I’m not surprised. I used to go to hockey games a lot back home when it was way more convenient. When I was in Boulder, I also got to indulge in the Denver team. Here, the getting to/from is a struggle as the closest big team is in San Jose. And with my work schedule, it is pretty much impossible. That being said, I still follow the sport and teams. Not avidly but I keep up. The neanderthal in me loves how brutal hockey can be. You have pads but it is a rough ass game. The nerd in me loves how simple it is to play.
On a side rant, The Pup is big into softball. He plays in gay leagues in Phoenix pretty often and clearly wants to join the league here. My roomie is also a big softball player. Naturally, The Pup wants me to play. Truth be told, I find that I actually want to join. Not because of an overriding love of the game but simply because it is a new form of interaction. I think it will be fun to see gay guys playing. My only fear is that they will be overly competitive. If the leagues here focus only on winning, I can assure you I will lose interest and quit. Winning is fun and gives you an incentive to get better, duh. No one wants to lose all the time, but winning shouldn’t be the end-all purpose of the game, at least not to me.
I’m not ashamed to say I have probably zero skill. I haven’t played since high school and even then it was sporadic. They have teams that start out with mostly players at that level so I’m not worried. I doubt I’ll ever be a ‘heavy hitter’ and that is ok. I have size and some agility so I think I’ll be a decent player. I would like to develop the skill, improve, and be able to hold my own while playing with a team. But beyond that, I’m really just in it for the fun.
- I think deep down he knew I was gonna be gay [↩]