13
Mar
08

Be a Real Champion

baseballs.jpgI read the blog of a closeted, aspiring pro athlete who “dates” another closeted guy, struggles with his identity, and screws women to keep up appearances with his team mates.

It’s the reason I read him. It’s the reason we like books, movies, and television. We want to see the conflict, and how the characters resolve it and emerge victorious. Plus, I’ve been there myself. I get it. So he asks his readers for questions, which are mostly easy pitches about not getting wood in the shower and how he manages between visits with his beau, but when a question like –

“So let’s say you’re totally in love with (the guy), and he is with you, which may already be the case. So, how will you reconcile having meaningless sex with women at that point – essentially cheating on him and using the women – and all for the sake of propping up a secret identity?”

– comes across the plate, he just ignores it. He says his readers couldn’t possibly understand the unique and difficult closet he calls home. Right, and that’s why there are a million blogs published from the closet.

I have a big problem with people using beards, and more specifically, screwing them when they don’t know they’re being used as beards. There is one woman with whom I had sex to keep up the appearance of being straight: one. It was Spring Break and I don’t even know her name. I felt awful about it, and I didn’t do it again because this woman whom I unthinkingly used as a beard was in fact a human being, with eggs, a uterus, and above all, feelings. She wasn’t a disposable person made by Bic.

I don’t envy this kid, building a career in a game he loves, and being so pent up that his only outlet is venting his unenviable situation to strangers on a blog. It’s got to be lonely, but then it begs questions:

“Love the game or not, do you really want to be part of an organization that inherently hates, or at very least refuses to tolerate, you? Do you really love yourself and your happiness less than you love the game?”

It’s like the reverse of the classic Woody Allen quote, “I’d never join a club that would allow a person like me to become a member.” Why would you join a club that would NOT allow a person like you to become a member?

Champions aren’t just the people who score the most points and enter Halls of Fame. Champions also stand up and prove that a gay guy can be MVP and can break records. Yes, there’s fear involved, but is it more intense than the fear of not making the big leagues? So you make the Hall of Fame, and afterward you write a book wherein you come out of the closet, and essentially tell your faithful fans that you’re not who they thought you were – a fraud, you might even say. They don’t really know you at all. And for what? A Hall of Fame full of others who wouldn’t really want you in it, either?

I’d like to think that the struggle guys like me went through in the 80’s and 90’s when this guy was in grade school made it a little easier for him, but maybe it really hasn’t. But then it takes someone with the stuff to not “pass” like light-skinned African-Americans used to; to challenge the establishment; to change the rules if only a little, and come out of the locker – if not for yourself, for that little gay kid who’s in elementary school right now, trying not to hate himself, and still dreaming of the big leagues.

or email me at lovesickbilly@mac.com
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3 Responses to “Be a Real Champion”


  1. 1 Jonathan
    Thursday, March 13, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    It’s different for everybody, though, B. I know where you are coming from–really.
    But there are people out there who were raised to believe that being queer is just about the worst thing in the world. I count myself in that group. The thought of being open about something so heinous is simply incomprehensible.

    Doing something for that little gay kid in elementary school sounds noble, but for some people, it’s asking for more than they can possibly give.

    There are times when I look back and scratch my head and wonder how much better my life would have been if I had come out sooner. But that’s pointless because, for whatever reason, I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.

    Unlike a lot of gays, I don’t equate staying in the closet with cowardice. It’s sad. It’s a dreadfully sad place to be. But for some, that is all they can do.

    I hated the closet. It stank. But I know why I was there, and I understand why some others are there. I can only hope that everybody will someday find their way out.

    As always, B, your writing impresses the hell out of me.


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