…and it wasn’t me (not this time anyway, although I too hope to be able to play an important role in the everlasting struggle for equality).
Jason Collins has had a minor role in my sports identity since I was in high school. He, along with his twin brother Jaron, used to beat the snot out of my boys at Loyola High School back when I was a Cub. Watching them throw vicious lobs to each other and whipping our asses after taking that long drive from downtown LA to wherever the hell Harvard Westlake is was not among my fondest memories. So I have actively cheered against the Collins boys and loved every minute of it.
Fast forward to a few days ago when Jason makes the bold step to come out of the closet and be the first male athlete in a major sport to identify as gay and I found myself actively cheering for my sworn enemy. I heard terms like “Jackie Robinson” and “pioneer” used freely and, I must admit, they seem really appropriate.
I am so grateful for the progress that we as a society made with this simple act of one grown man being okay with who he is and the world not ending. I will be even more grateful when we get to the point where the issue of sports and sexuality is a thing of the past such that I can actually cheer against the out gay dude. I’ll know we’ve made it when Ellen DeGeneres turns to whichever gay player happens to be trying on heels on her show and she says, “That’s great John, but can you grab a freaking rebound?”
Thank you Jason Collins for helping break an important barrier. I believe more strongly today that I can do the same thing within my own fields of passion. You are an example those of us who feel that role models who look and feel like us are rare and hard to find. For that I respect the hell out of you and wish you success. For what you did to my Cubs, there is no forgiveness.