Sports have always been a hobby of mine. I was never been really interested in who received the most RBI’s for the season or which team managed to gain the most offensive yards rushing in one quarter. Statistics are what they are, just statistics. I think the fascination with statistics come with the wanting for a measurable depiction of who is the ‘best team’ or who is the ‘greatest athlete’.
Its amusing to me that statistics are such a big commodity in sports when most children are taught that being the best is not everything. It is the way that you play the game. The competition is what draws me to sports, not who is the best.
Even though the love of sports had driven me through high school and onto college intramurals, I never had the drive to obtain more. One reason for this is my sexual orientation.
Undoubtedly, there are hundreds of gay professional athletes in sports today. They have been present for many years. Only until recently, did athletes start to come out of the closet to profess their love for the same sex. Even today, there is a handful for openly gay professional athletes in the worlds of sports.
My love of the game and not the glory did not deter me from participating in high school sports. It was only my size and physical prowess that stood in the way of obtaining the statistical majesty that so many pro-sporters long for. Not only was my size a hindrance, it was also the fact that I enjoyed the company of the same sex. This, along with a number of other not so niceties that would not be appropriate in this forum, was one of the reason I had so much hassle in the locker room. My uncontrollable hormones kept me from participating in the homoerotic, yet subtly sensual after-practice shower shenanigans. When on the football practice field, I refrained from the normal “slapping of the butts” because I felt embarrassed that my hand would linger a bit too long. My shying away from physical contact did not label me gay, but an outsider, incapable of becoming one of the ‘in crowd’ and undeserving of approval.
I am not the only one who feels this way. Later in life, I found a blog written by a gay athlete, which conveys some of the same sentiment.
I have found several outlets to vent my frustration concerning this diabolical situation. Realjock.com and Gay.com’s fitness section are great avenues where my homosexual mind can run free. In addition, joining an all-gay softball softball team which plays against other all (or the majority of the people who play are same sex lovers) gay teams have been another place where I can freely show my competitive spirit without hiding who I really am. Keith Boykin introduced me to a competition that competes on a worldwide level. I found out about the Gay Games a little too late to participate this go around, but I will definitely be participating in track and field competitions at the 2010 Gay Games in Europe. Although I was not able to play this year, read about my recount of my experience with the 2006 gay Games in the following excerpt from my blog, Cincinnati NAMja (namjablog.blogspot.com):
When I first read that Keith Boykin would be participating in the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago, the wheels in my head started churning, trying to figure out ways that I could make it there just on the chance that I would be able to see him at a venue in person.
Because I was already going on vacation to Michigan the week before the Games, I decided to take an extra few days of vacation days and try to spend them in Chicago. It just so happened that a Cincinnati friend of mine had already rented a three-bedroom apartment in Chicago because he was participating in the Games and was driving to Chicago the day after I returned to Cincy from Michigan.
Running into my hometown buddies and hanging out in the VIP lounge of the House of Blues was not on my agenda during my stay in the Windy City, but since it happened, I did not complain too much. Not with the great food that I experienced at Red Light and amazingly cool evening with friends at Crew.
Yesterday was the last day of my Chicago vacation. My bus for Cincinnati was scheduled to leave at 3pm so I did not have that much time to explore the city more before I had to get ready and head out of town. I did meander to Evanston, IL where the Keith Boykin and the Gay Games’ Wrestling event were.
I guess I thought it would be cool if I could just see Keith in person.
According to the website, the wrestling event was to begin at 9am, so when I arrived at 10am my hopes to see Mr. Boykin had left me as fast as the L-train leaving Belmont Station.
On arrival I see that there are many wrestlers on the large, tri-serviced mat, but it seemed as though they were taking a break, so I walked half way up the stands where there was a walking row that went around the entire gymnasium. Standing there alone and taking in the sites, I turned my right and less than 5 feet away from me is Keith Boykin walking towards me!
I had a split second to think and the only thing that came to my mind was to say his name. We shook hands and after a couple of seconds of stuttered speech (done by me of course) he resumed on to his seat.
Time was running short and I was not sure if I would be able to wait until Keith wrestled, but a few moments later the competition started and Keith was the first match. He lost the first match, and I had to leave, but his other matches he won and went on to win the Gold in his division.
So if you read this Keith, great job, but I wish I could have watched you win a match.
Today, I spent my first full day back to work and it was definitely sobering. It’s ok though.
PS-I promise that the subsequent post will be a bit more informative…
Not only are there more gay athletes then we know or most people care about, we are coming out of the closet more and more often. So do not be surprised if the next time you turn on Sports Center, you find your favorite hockey player locking lips with another man.