THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED:
The winter Olympics don't do it for me because the only real sport I like watching is the figure skating ... which is so, like, gay. (I like gay, okay?) My preference is for the summer games because of all those half-naked bodies. Those divers always make me, um, wet.
But the mind wanders ...
My point here is that sports journalism is so freaking repetitive that I can't be bothered to follow it half the time. Plus it's just so bad. Once, on a lengthy road trip with a hockey-mad boyfriend, I spent the better part of an afternoon reading aloud the entire contents of the sports sections of the Star, the Globe and Mail and the National Post to him and found myself laughing hysterically at the writing. (Well, I am sorry, my dear friends and colleagues in the sports section, but it's true.) I'm not saying everything is bad all the time, just much of it much of the time.
UPPITY DATE: I have heard from a number of sports journalists who say I took a cheap shot at them. Okay, I admit it was a low blow. Now back to our regularly-written post ...
Another thing that bugs me is how faux-macho it is. Really, you have to wonder why sports news isn't printed on a jock strap instead of paper. I'm surprised sportscasters, who often look pretty gay to me -- especially if they're wearing silly jackets and too much hair gel -- don't grunt out the news.
And yet gayness is a subject that rarely comes
out up in sports media.
A few weeks ago on CBC Radio's The Current, guest host Mark Tewkesbury, who won the gold in swimming at Barcelona, was discussing the pressures of being a gay athlete in a world where everybody is supposed to be playing on the other team. Why must gay athletes act as if there's something wrong with them, or hide, or live their lives as if there's something to be ashamed of?
Joe Clark has some thoughts on the matter here.
Of course male figure skater Johnny Weir is gay, as are Jeff Buttle and a host of others. Who are we trying to kid? We’ve managed to force male sportswriters to stop pretending that every elite athlete is straight, which was the problem before. I put in a lot of years of newspaper writing trying to kill that idea off. And now, like rebranding creationism as intelligent design, we’re being sold the same tainted tuna in a different can. Suddenly we’ve got sportswriter guys defending the right of gay athletes never to come out and never to be asked if they’re actually gay. I didn’t think things could be worse than the olden days, but this certainly is.
Clark is right: There is NOTHING wrong with being gay. Nobody needs to hide it -- and nobody needs to act as if it needs to be hidden on an openly gay athlete's behalf.
Now how gay is Don Cherry, hunh?
SKATE DATE: My Star colleague Mary Ormsby informs me that Buttle has never publicly said anything about being gay -- and so I have no idea if he is or not. (And if he is, there is nothing wrong with that.) That said, I still think all those outfits and spangles and sparkles are out of control. Salon's Video Dog has sniffed out the best of the worst here. (Free pass with advertising. Trust me it's worth it.)