Sunday, August 17, 2014

A BRAVE NEW SPORTS WORLD


Records weren't broken, mega-million dollar deals weren't signed, and not one salacious
scandal broke out, but a three-day stretch in mid-August made a lot of us say, "Wow."

On Wednesday, Arizona State lineman Chip Sarafin announced that he is gay.

Thursday, WNBA stars Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson were engaged.

Friday, 13-year old Mo'ne Davis became a household name in the sports world by
authoring a dominating performance in the Little League World Series. Yes, a girl fires
a two-hit shut out against the boys on national television. 

Three days, three eye-opening stories. A man comes out, two women get engaged, and
a girl dazzles at the Little League World Series. Awesome, simply awesome.

Yes, it's a brave new sports world and no matter what side of the fence you are on when it
comes to homosexuality and gender equality, these four athletes made a major statement
And you know what? It's pretty damn cool and very, very brave.


Perhaps, Serafin felt free to announce his sexual orientation to the world after Michael
Sam blazed the trail when he became the first major college football player to come out
to the world last February.

I often think the media makes a helluva lot more about athletes coming out than the players
and teammates do. Sam told his teammates at Missouri last summer that he was gay and
the Tigers went on to have one of the best seasons in school history. No distractions, no
hostility, no ugly stories of teammates mocking or abusing Sam.

Was everybody on the Missouri Tigers comfortable playing with an openly gay player?
Probably not. But that's just the world we live in. People don't like others just because of
the way they look, where they come from, and how much money they make. Sad, but true.
Everybody doesn't love everybody, that's for sure.

There's no doubting the love Griner and Johnson have for each other. They are long-time
lesbians and opponents in the WNBA who got engaged  last Thursday. I realize not many
people, including myself, care much for the women's league, but this women's union is
a bold statement in society that doesn't always appreciate bold ones.



I know there are self-righteous people out there who oppose gays and gay marriage.
You know, the ones who all of a sudden act like they were at the Last Supper of Jesus
Christ who think know every verse of the Bible and their meanings. They say homosexuality
and gay marriage are sins. Yeah, so is stealing, killing, and coveting thy neighbors wife.
That doesn't happen in today's society, does it? Yeah, right.

Judge not, lest thy be judged.

Every one of us wants to live life the way WE want to live it, not how others want us to.
And really, does it matter to you if Serafin, Griner, and Johnson are gay? Do you think
it's affecting your job, your relationships, and your way of living? I think not.

Once those players cross the lines or step on the court, they are should be judged on their
athletic ability and performance. Nothing else. It just doesn't matter.


It certainly mattered though, when Mo'ne Davis stepped on the mound at the Little League
World Series and fired a two-hit shutout against the boys. She was on the national stage
and shined brightly. Now, there are young girls everywhere whose dreams are a little bigger
today than they were yesterday, thanks to Davis.

There is a saying, "He throws like a girl". I'm not sure we can say it like that anymore.
Now, it will be a compliment if a boy (or man) is told that he throws like Mo'ne
Davis and that's great.

Davis may not have broken a color barrier, but she is brave and certainly has opened a lot
of doors for young girls who have been told "it can't be done"

.
A female player won't make it to the major leagues in my lifetime, but it will happen.
Trust me. In 50 years, somewhere, somehow, a female will play in the big leagues with
the big boys.

And that will be a beautiful thing, just as this three-day stretch in mid-August was.

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