Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Gay in sports

I debated for a few days if I should write this post or not. I mean, this blog is mostly about books and writing, so does it have a place here? Plus, I feel kind of silly because part of the reason this story touches me so much is because of RUSH…and RUSH is just a book. A story that came from inside me. It's not real life, yet this story IS real. It's someone's life, and the reactions both positive and negative are part of his very real journey…and again, my book is just that, a book.

But then, if you follow me at all online you know how passionate I am about LGBT equality. With or without my Brandon's story, Michael Sam's real life experience would still be important to me, so I decided to go for it.

If you're online or watch TV at all I'm sure you heard about Michael Sam's, the college football player who came out. The best defensive player in the toughest division in college football who admitted he's gay and how, though there's been a lot of support, here's been a lot of negativity too. There's been the talk about how it will be uncomfortable for other players and how the league isn't ready. How it'll be a distraction and how despite being the best defensive player in the toughest division, this admission will limit his possibilities in the draft. Umm…what? That makes zero sense to me but then I don't pretend to understand a lot of the things people do.

It's amazing to me when I look back at all the headlines in recent years regarding professional football players--bullying, dog fighting, DUI, sexual assault, and murder, yet Michael Sam being gay is going to limit his opportunities? It's going to make it harder on the NFL? I just can't wrap my head around it, nor do I want to. Sometimes I just really don't understand people's thinking. I look at the things sports players have gotten away with in the name of being good at sports, the passes it gives a person yet something as human and normal as who a person is attracted to, or who they love is a big deal?

Michael Sam's story feels deeply personal to me, not just on a human level as it should, but because of two boys who feel very real to me. You guys know how much Alec and Brandon's story means to me. I've never been as connected to a book as I am that one, and I've never loved a couple as much as I do them, and I've never thought two people deserved their happily ever after as much as those boys. My heart has never ached for a struggle like it did writing Alec and Brandon. Their journey--mostly Brandon's--has always felt very real to me because I know it's a very real struggle. I know people deal with it every day. All he wanted was to have football and Alec. This idea of what "makes a man" or football being a sport for a "man's man" breaks my heart. It needs to stop. Michael Sam isn't less of a man because of his coming out. He's more of one. He's no less of a man than he was before he shared his truth with the world.

I can't help but cheer a little not just for Michael Sam and the brave steps he's taken, not just for the other Michael Sam's out there but also for a very special man who will always be real to me. Sam's admission feels like a win not just for humanity but for Alec and Brandon too.

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  1. You just made me cry! I agree with you 1,001%. And the argument against him is completely flawed: Mizzou had their best season in 20 years.

    You are just completely wonderful for your passion for this issue. I love that you write what you believe in. You're giving people a voice.

    Thank you.

  2. I'm with you! I read an article the other day about how his opportunities will be limited now and it made me so mad! In fact, about as mad as I felt about the girls not being allowed to go to prom together....

    If the guy is that good at football, what the heck does his sexuality have to do with anything?


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