Playing for Our Team

Lesbian Sports blog

Web Articles 2010

I Heard a Rumor

12/08/10

I Heard a Rumor

Whenever I hear a “rumor,” I always stop and asked myself, “Is it true? Can I possibly know that it’s true?”I’m not a fan of rumors because most rumors are negative. That is precisely the case with a recent rumor I heard about the former women’s soccer coach at Belmont University.Apparently, she was fired because of her sexuality.For those of you who are unaware, Belmont University is Christian-affiliated. So when Lisa Howe abruptly informed her team that she would be leaving, rumors began to bubble up to the surface. Coincidentally, Howe had also recently announced to her team that she and her partner were having a baby in the spring (even though school officials had forbid her from sharing this information).The Athletic Director at Belmont...

Posted at 06:56 PM | Permalink | Comments: 1

High School Reflections

11/12/10

High School Reflections

I visited my alma mater last winter to speak about my books and do a little Q&A session with a couple of local GSA groups in the area. During the book signing, I got a chance to talk with a few of the students. One student in particular stands out in my mind. She was a basketball player and a relatively popular girl. I told her how impressed I was that she was out in high school. She smiled, but confessed that she was thinking about quitting basketball because her teammates made fun of her. It broke my heart.As a basketball player myself, I know the importance of team unity. I know how crucial it is to be a supportive teammate no matter what happens on or off the basketball court. I also know that one of the reasons I didn’t come out in high school was because I was afraid...

Posted at 04:41 PM | Permalink | Comments: 1

The Transformative Power of Sports

10/15/10

The Transformative Power of Sports

There is only one thing my mother-in-law loves more than hockey, and that’s her daughter. You wouldn’t know that she loved hockey unless you sat down and watched a Buffalo Sabres game with her. It’s amazing to me how quickly she transforms from a quiet, unassuming 60-year-old woman into a raging hockey fan with as much hockey knowledge as any veteran analyst, and the vocabulary of a sailor. The first time I witnessed this transformation, I was in utter shock.  Whenever a Sabres game comes on, we watch and listen to her break down the game, telling us what the Sabres are doing right and (very bluntly) what they are doing wrong.  I had never met a woman who was so into hockey before.My wife is an only child. She and her mother are very, very close. We even...

Posted at 03:51 PM | Permalink | Comments

One Sports Bet I’d Actually Make

10/08/10

One Sports Bet I’d Actually Make

Unlike Pete Rose, I don’t bet on baseball. I don’t bet on any sport. I’m not the betting type. Case and point: I’m in fantasy football league with a bunch of friends and the only thing we play for is “bragging rights.” There is one thing in sports that I would bet on, though—and that’s the belief that it was a lot harder to come out in professional sports 30 years ago than it is now. Some people might disagree with me, and tell me that professional athletes today face even more pressure and public scrutiny due to heavy endorsement deals and the fast-paced world of the Internet, which creates a tsunami of backlash whenever an athlete steps out of bounds (excuse the pun, but it works). I agree that professional athletes today are under...

Posted at 08:00 PM | Permalink | Comments

ESPN’s 30 for 30 is Worth Watching

09/30/10

ESPN’s 30 for 30 is Worth Watching

If you are as much of a sports fanatic as I am, then you need to check out ESPN’s 30 for 30. It’s a documentary series featuring 30 individual sports stories, told by 30 different filmmakers, over the past 30 years.You may remember that Michael Jordan walked away from professional basketball in 1993 to pursue a professional baseball career instead. But did you know how hard he worked in the minors? Did you know that he improved his batting average by a whopping 50 points over the course of a single season? Did you know that the reason he left basketball was directly linked to the untimely death of his father, and it was the only way he knew how to deal with the grief?Each documentary that I have watched in the 30 for 30 series has been captivating, unique, inspiring,...

Posted at 06:28 PM | Permalink | Comments

Testosterone + Alcohol + Football = Crazy Dudes

09/07/10

Testosterone + Alcohol + Football = Crazy Dudes

I used to go to Buffalo Bills home games with my father when I was younger. I remember when he asked me if I wanted to go to the AFC Championship game in 1993. The Bills were playing the Kansas City Chiefs for a chance to go to the Super Bowl. My favorite football team happens to be the Kansas City Chiefs, so of course I jumped at the chance. There was one small stipulation, however. I wasn’t allowed to wear any Kansas City Chiefs clothing.My Kansas City Chiefs Starter jacket was probably my favorite item of clothing at the time. I saved up all of my paper route money to buy the silly thing, and even wore it during class at school because I was so proud of it (and wanted to look tough). It didn’t make any sense to me when my father told me that I couldn’t wear it to...

Posted at 11:49 AM | Permalink | Comments

Around The Sports World In 500 Words

08/26/10

Around The Sports World In 500 Words

It’s been a slow summer for LGBT sports news, so I thought I’d touch on a few relevant sports stories that are going on.First, Brett Favre is back with the Minnesota Vikings for his 20th year in the NFL. Most people are sick of hearing about Favre and chalk his waffling up to a needy ego. While there may be some truth to that argument, I can’t help but root for the guy. He’s so likeable and fun to watch. And while his back and forth routine of “should I or shouldn’t I retire” is as played out Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok,” when he finally pulls the trigger and returns to the football field I always welcome him back with open arms.For those all those Roger Clemens fans out there (insert sound of crickets chirping), your boy is being brought...

Posted at 12:12 PM | Permalink | Comments

My Fantasy Football Advice

08/12/10

My Fantasy Football Advice

With the 2010 NFL football season approaching, fantasy football league drafts are taking place around the country.My fantasy football league draft was held on Sunday. I went in knowing which players I wanted, and came away with most of them. I participate with a fun group of guys. My wife and her best friend even decided to join up this season. For her, it makes watching football “more fun.” For me, it’s just another excuse to prop my butt on the couch for an entire Sunday afternoon to enjoy the games. I would enjoy watching football with or without a fantasy team. But I have to agree with my wife, it does add another element of “fun.”I know I’m not “technically” qualified to be an ESPN analyst, but I watch enough sports to hold my own....

Posted at 12:32 PM | Permalink | Comments

Coming Out Takes Time, Especially For Pro Athletes

08/05/10

Coming Out Takes Time, Especially For Pro Athletes

A couple of weeks ago, former NBA star John Amaechi dropped some knowledge on us. He advised gay sports stars to take their time with coming out. I agree with him completely.“For an under-prepared and psychologically stunted individual who plays sports at a high level to come out before they are ready is like being born prematurely,” he told the Manchester Evening News. “Unequivocally, being out is better than staying in, but those who do come out need support.”Amaechi knows what he’s talking about. After spending his entire NBA career in the closet, he came out during an Outside the Lines special report on ESPN four years after his retirement. Amaechi is the only openly gay player to address the issue of homosexuality in the NBA. Knowing what we know now,...

Posted at 03:52 PM | Permalink | Comments

The Sports Drought

07/19/10

The Sports Drought

During this time of the year it's time to enjoy the outdoors because you won't find good sport on your television.

Posted at 05:38 PM | Permalink | Comments

Just A Friendly Game Of Kickball

07/02/10

Just A Friendly Game Of Kickball

I play in an adult kickball league every Monday night. My team is full of wonderful and friendly people. We usually laugh and joke around with the other team, never taking the game too seriously. How can you take it seriously? It’s kickball! I try to just enjoy the game for what it is—a game. But on this particular Monday night that was a lot easier said than done.I play third base in the field, probably because I’m quick to react when the ball is kicked and I have a good arm. Since I stand so close to the third base line, I usually interact with the other team’s bench (if they happen to be the “away” team).  This was the case during Monday’s game. The other team and I began trading friendly barbs, and when someone made a good play (whether...

Posted at 07:56 PM | Permalink | Comments: 1

The WNBA Is Underway … And Still Under Appreciated

06/11/10

The WNBA Is Underway … And Still Under Appreciated

In case you haven’t heard, the WNBA is back for its 14th season. There were a few interesting story lines leading up to the tip-off on May 15. First, Marion Jones made headlines by signing with the Tulsa Shock. Everyone waited with baited breath to see how the former Olympic track star would perform. At 34, Jones hadn’t touched a basketball since playing point guard for North Carolina in college. And while her she was key part of the 1994 NCAA women’s basketball championship team for UNC, her debut for the Shock was far less than spectacular. Much to the disappointment of WNBA executives, the excitement surrounding the story quickly fizzled out. Those individuals who tuned in to see Jones play won’t be coming back for more.Then Condoleezza Rice made headlines for...

Posted at 01:17 PM | Permalink | Comments

 In other countries, lesbian athletes fear for their lives

05/20/10

In other countries, lesbian athletes fear for their lives

I know that we are still making strides in this country when it comes to acceptance of lesbian and gay athletes in the professional world of sports, but at least we are headed in the right direction. Sadly, there are many other countries in the world that are incredibly far behind. In fact, some are just down right barbaric in their approach. ESPN’s E:60, a noteworthy investigative reporting series about life inside and outside of sports, recently reported on a story that focuses on a disturbing practice called “corrective rape” in South Africa. Men who enforce this brutal practice are called “corrective rapists.” They target lesbian athletes (soccer players in particular) with the intent of subjecting them to sexual violence and humiliation so that they...

Posted at 11:17 AM | Permalink | Comments

A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Sports

05/13/10

A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Sports

If you haven’t heard (then you haven’t been on Curve’s website lately), there’s big news in the lesbian world. Country singer Chely Wright has come out. In the conservative arena of country music, this is a monumental step forward for the LGBT community. It will be interesting to see how the country music community itself responds to Wright. It wasn’t too long ago that the Dixie Chicks were shunned after making disparaging remarks about George W. Bush. This is a whole other can of worms.You may be wondering why I am talking about a country singer on a sports blog. Well, there’s always a sports twist. In her autobiography, Like Me: Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer, Wright “confesses” that she fell into the same stereotype trap that...

Posted at 12:28 PM | Permalink | Comments

This Lesbian Field Hockey Player Is “Fearless”

04/29/10

This Lesbian Field Hockey Player Is “Fearless”

I’ve never played field hockey before, but I can appreciate it. I’ve been to games, and though the rules were somewhat confusing, they were a lot of fun to watch. I find field hockey to be an intriguing sport, and one that takes a great deal of patience and skill to master. It’s also a sport that seems to accept gay athletes more than other sports (ahem, women’s basketball).That is why Ashley Gradwell, a sophomore and member of Quinnipiac University’s field hockey team, wasn’t afraid to participate in a photography exhibit that portrays gay and lesbian student-athletes from a variety of sports and various universities around the country. The exhibit is called “Fearless” and was created by artist Jeff Sheng, whose artwork is represented by...

Posted at 02:10 PM | Permalink | Comments

Coming Out To Teammates Isn’t As Hard As It Used To Be

04/16/10

Coming Out To Teammates Isn’t As Hard As It Used To Be

As an athlete, I’ve been a part of many teams throughout my life. But there was a time when I was not out to my teammates. This was in high school, back when the LGBT community wasn’t as visible as it is now. Still, because I spent so much time with teammates during practice, games and throughout the school year, I often found myself on the verge of coming out with at least one of them. The thing that always held me back was fear. I wasn’t only afraid of their reaction, I was also afraid of what would happen if the rest of the team found out. A sports team is a like a family, and if your “family” doesn’t accept you the consequences can be severe. I didn’t want to risk not being able to be a part of the team, and play the sport that I loved so...

Posted at 12:07 PM | Permalink | Comments

Basketball in the park

04/08/10

Basketball in the park

During the summer months, I love playing basketball in the park. Once a week, a few friends and I head down to shoot some hoops on the outdoor courts. Usually, the courts are overcrowded with young boys and grown men looking to prove that they are all the second coming of Michael Jordan. We are always outnumbered, and have to wait our turn for a chance to play against them.So when my friend Yolanda and I decided to dust off our basketball sneakers from the winter and head down the park on the first warm, sunny day of spring, I wasn’t surprised to see that the courts were already crowded. We chose a spot, called “next” and patiently waited our turn. As soon as we stepped out on the court to play the winning team, one of the players stated his position quite...

Posted at 12:07 PM | Permalink | Comments: 1

Semena Wants To Return To Competitive Running

04/02/10

Semena Wants To Return To Competitive Running

Considering the latest discussion swirling around Brittney Griner and Baylor’s advancement to the Women’s Final Four, I thought it was rather interesting that Caster Semenya announced this week that she would like to return to competitive racing. I’ve read numerous articles about both women, and some of the comments that people leave are horrible, degrading and absolutely close-minded. One abrasive commenter kept referring to Griner as “it.” Another commenter said that she might have a “transgender condition” and her parents should be aware of it.Um, being transgendered isn’t a “condition.” But I won’t go into that right now.When I wrote about how Griner wasn’t pushing gender boundaries on purpose, and that people...

Posted at 05:37 PM | Permalink | Comments

Why I Love The NCAA Tournament

03/24/10

Why I Love The NCAA Tournament

I’ve been a fan of college basketball for as long as I can remember. Whether it was Christian Laettner hitting a last second shot to propel Duke past Kentucky, or Diana Taurasi leading UConn to yet another NCAA Championship, the NCAA Tournament has always provided plenty of Cinderella stories, drama, nail-biting anticipation, excitement, heartbreak, glory and a gazillion buzzer-beaters. During the month of March, I’m either outside enjoying the freshness of spring or inside watching countless hours of CBS and ESPN, and filling out my brackets based on gut instinct, research, favorite teams, and the inevitable sleeper. Once my brackets are complete, I watch the opening rounds of both the men and women’s NCAA Tournament with reckless abandon. And no matter what, I...

Posted at 06:23 PM | Permalink | Comments: 1

And Yet Another LGBT Athlete Comes Out

03/19/10

And Yet Another LGBT Athlete Comes Out

I think there is something in the water lately, or perhaps times really are changing. In the past six months, it seems that more gay athletes have come out of the sports closet than the past six years. What has been even more impressive is that most of the athletes are men. It is difficult and challenging for gay male athletes to come out of the closet because of the perception that you have to be a “manly-man” to play sports. There has always been this underlying stereotype that all gay men are effeminate, wimpy, and unable to compete in tough sports (which couldn’t be further from the truth). So, when a gay rugby player or a gay football player comes out of the closet, and he’s a regular “manly man,” it automatically puts holes in said...

Posted at 05:24 PM | Permalink | Comments

Olympic Film Series Addresses Sexism, Racism and Homophobia in Sports

03/11/10

Olympic Film Series Addresses Sexism, Racism and Homophobia in Sports

There were many good things that came out of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Shaun White propelled snowboarding to another level. Johnny Weir made men’s figure skating cool again. (Let’s be honest. He made it “cool” for the first time). And both the men’s and women’s hockey teams took home silver medals. There were plenty of other notable moments, which I’m sure everyone heard about in some shape or form. There just isn’t enough space on this blog for me to mention them all.On the other hand, there is enough space for me to mention one moment that didn’t get much attention. Apparently, during the course of the Winter Olympics, there was a two-night film series put on by Pride House and the Vancouver Queer Film Festival. Mark...

Posted at 04:13 PM | Permalink | Comments

Johnny Weir Is Fantastically Fabulous

02/28/10

Johnny Weir Is Fantastically Fabulous

For those of you weren’t aware, Johnny Weir is fantastically fabulous. And not just because of his figure skating outfits, either. Johnny Weir is fantastically fabulous all around. He’s a beautiful skater and a creative fashion designer who unfortunately became the butt of a few broadcasters’ jokes during the airing of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.There are a few out gay and lesbian athletes who are competing in the Winter Olympics this year (and more than a few closeted ones as well), and Curve even gave you a few a names to look out for. But no other athlete has received more attention than Johnny Weir. And it’s not because of his mad skating skills. Weir received attention because of his outrageous outfits and his flamboyance instead, which some broadcasters...

Posted at 02:00 AM | Permalink | Comments

Brittney Griner May Push Gender Boundaries, But Not on Purpose

02/19/10

Brittney Griner May Push Gender Boundaries, But Not on Purpose

Brittney Griner is sick. And I’m not talking about the, “I’ve got a cold” kind of sick. I’m talking about the, “I’m a woman, I’m 6′8″ and I can throw down” kind of sick.As a freshman at Baylor University, Griner has surpassed every woman who has ever come before her in the dunking sphere. Sure, Lisa Leslie and Candace Parker can dunk. But Griner can slam it home, hang on the rim and swing around with authority.The world of women’s basketball has never seen a player like this before. Griner has the athletic skills and build of any budding male college basketball star, which has brought her “gender” into question. She has an 88-inch wingspan, almost unheard of for a woman athlete. Simply type in her name...

Posted at 05:25 PM | Permalink | Comments: 14

Time For Pro Sports To Catch Up

02/09/10

Time For Pro Sports To Catch Up

With the recent developments in the sports world, as far as retired and active players coming out of the closet, many high-profile LGBT individuals have been weighing in.Ian McKellen, the famous actor who is often known for his outspoken and courageous comments concerning LGBT issues, made a recent statement to BBC radio about the presence of homophobia in professional sports.“When it comes to the business of simply being honest about who they are,” he said. “Some of them [sports stars] become little shrinking violets because they're afraid, probably, of being booed from the terraces, and that must be a horrible experience, and shame on people who do it.”McKellen also added that, “It ain't going to stop someone being a fantastic footballer because they're...

Posted at 01:34 AM | Permalink | Comments

“Our Group” Supports LGBT Athletes

01/21/10

“Our Group” Supports LGBT Athletes

For a long time now, there has been a need for an organization to help support the concerns of LGBT athletes around the country. “Our Group” was born out of that need. According to the website, Our Group “is an outreach, support and advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) high school and college student-athletes and allies. It serves as a network to connect LGBT student-athletes with other LGBT student-athletes. Our Group is also dedicated to educating athletes, coaches and fans so that the sports community is an accepting one for ALL athletes, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”I don’t know about you, but I personally like the sound of that mission statement. An organization like Our Group can help shift the...

Posted at 12:51 PM | Permalink | Comments: 1

Where is She Now: Martina Navratilova

01/11/10

Where is She Now: Martina Navratilova

One of the most influential and talented athletes of our time, Martina Navratilova left an indelible mark on tennis as well as the LGBT community. She retired in 1995, and she’s been keeping herself busy ever since.Now that she’s not swinging a tennis racket and running back and forth across a tennis court, Navratilova decided to obtain her pilot’s license even though she’s afraid of heights and her diver’s license even though she’s afraid of drowning. She has also dabbled in photography and painting, and even authored a few mystery novels.As far as political and social causes go, it’s widely known that Navratilova is a prominent LGBT rights activist. But she also campaigns regularly for the safety of animals and the environment as well. Most...

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