It’s been on my mind for the last couple of weeks, since I heard and read the interview with Gareth Thomas ,the welsh rugby player that came out publicly not so long ago. The act itself brings up so many questions and so many thoughts. I don’t follow rugby, but I think this interview spoke loud and clear and can be attached to any sport we chose.
First of all, like I wrote on my last post, there is a big unanswered question or a question that people prefer to not discuses and that’s how come we hear of almost no gay men in pro sports.
Even Thomas in his interview talks about him not knowing any other players who are gay when statistically it’s just not possible. It’s sad that the issue is still so freighting and so scaring that no one wants to make that step. Just like my own thoughts, Thomas also mentions that he could never have come out while trying to establish a career for himself because then he might have lost the thing he loves more than anything, rugby.
I share those feelings, I can’t point out one specific “scary” part in the whole story that the fears are based on. If it’s being worried that teammates will look at you differently, that teams won’t want to sign you, or that the fans and the people around will just make it hard on you every game and everywhere. Unfortunately, a lot of the sports fans are also homophobic just like some of the players they idolize.
Farther more, just like I wrote in my last post and it’s the impression I get from Thomas, the thing is that no one wants to be the one to carry the torch or the “Burden” of representing the gay community -- to be looked at first of all as gay and not as a rugby/basketball/football player. Of course, all of us wished things would be different and the matter won’t be in issue, but for now it is still is and a major one.
Some of Thomas’ things hit a soft spot for me also, Thinking about what other people/players will think, Making up stories about sexual conquests to fit in, but feeling alone cause you aren’t who you truly are, but just “playing a game” and not only on the field or court.
Also talking about the difference between knowing you’re gay and accepting it, I have to guess that this is a stage that most gay guys go through, either in sports or not, but I’m sure the environment of sports doesn’t help the acceptance part, but only makes it more difficult.
I must say that it was hard for me to read him talking about going out to a cliff overlooking the beach and ending it all. I must admit that I didn’t get to that situation or that kind of feeling through my career, but it’s really hard to grasp how been gay with the addition of been a sports figure/athlete makes life so difficult so many times and brings people to bad and dark places.
I admire Thomas’ will to try to use this to help any young teenagers that do have a passion both for sports and for the same sex partners. To try to make them see that it’s possible to be gay and be a successful player, and indeed he was successful.
From my point of view, I wish I could help more and I wish that more gay athletes would be able to come out. but I know, hear and read about the price and the toll that all of us will need to pay. Unfortunately it’s just too much at this point. All of us want to be successful. All of us want to know that we give the thing we love so much all we had, from the day we picked up the ball to the day we called it quits. The thought of coming out and maybe having it change the career we worked so hard for it’s just too much to handle, at least for me ,and at least at this point.
For closure I hope that Thomas’ wish of sexuality not been an issue in sports in ten years will come true, unfortunately, I doubt it, but I will always hope, and hope is the best tool I can think of to cope with the situation for now. After watching ” Milk” last year and seeing what a long way gay rights and the gay community has come, I just hope that the change will continue everywhere and in all fields of life, and one day will also reach sports…
Guess that’s all for today…..