I saw this story on OutSports yesterday, and I wanted to be sure to post it today because it’s all kinds of gay.
In 2000, after a jilted ex told one of his teammates that he was gay Brian Sims, closeted defensive tackle and captain of the football team, was confronted by some of his teammates. He reluctantly came out to them, but they were surprisingly fine with it. Better than fine, actually, because they relied on him to ultimately lead them to the Division II National Championships.
As teammates found out, in the locker room no one moved away from Sims. No one shied away from him. His being gay became just more fodder for locker room teasing, like someone’s fat mom. Sims said he also became the dumping ground for every question his teammates had about gay people.
“Straight guys tend to be the most curious about sex, in general,” Sims said. “My team asked me everything you can possibly ask a gay guy about sex, and in the crudest terms possible.”
. . . [Sims] never heard a single negative comment about [his] sexuality the rest of the year. Part of that was the timing. They were in the middle of a season for which they all had high hopes, and by the time most of the team found out about Sims, they had started talking about the playoffs. After starting the season 1-2, they ran off 11 straight wins and reached the 2000 Division II National Championship game. With the preparation and frenzy surrounding the team as they inched closer to the playoffs and then started winning playoff games, the sexuality of one of the team’s most respected players was the furthest from players’ concerns.
. . .It also helped that Sims was good. Very good. He was the captain of the team and he was a first-team all-conference player that year.
. . . “After he graduated, it was more talked about after he left,” [a teammate] said. “Younger guys who didn’t really know him talked about it. Guys would say, ‘I can’t believe that guy was gay and was the captain of the football team.’ I won’t say it became a legend, but it was more talked about after he left than it was when he was there.”
Which is why I wanted to post this. Not so much to say, “Hey, look at how great it is to be a masculine gay guy!” as “Look at how many varieties we come in!”
And this article also struck me as being a microcosm for what is going on nationally right now — when there are truly important issues to focus on, the anti-gay stuff begins to melt away.
Today Sims is a lawyer working on LGBT issues. You can read the full article over at OutSports.