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Losing... losing...
In grade school, I was the boy picked last for sports. Ok, that's not actually true... usually it was my friend Chris, who was mildly retarded, or Jim, who was disabled. But I was penultimate choice, the lesser of three pussies.

I think I was chosen last because I was a fat kid with glasses. My birthday is July 23, one week before the cutoff for registering kindergartners for school. So, I was often a year younger than some of my classmates, who had a eleven or twelve more months of puberty, size, and weight than I did. But I was also picked next-to-last because I was effeminate. Even then, it was pretty obvious I was a fag. I figure skated. I sang showtunes and played the piano. And I was too smart for my own good, preferring math to gym class.

But there was also something else. I never roughhoused with the other boys. I spent as little time around them as possible. Because they scared me. They *excited* me. I knew that when Dan Mendez wrestled me playfully and threw me to the ground that it meant something completely different for him than it did for me. I wasn't exactly sure what that feeling was... but I knew that it was bad and weird. So, I missed out on interacting with other boys my age and never learned to run or throw a ball or kick or tackle.

When I turned 35 (five years ago), I got Lasik surgery on my eyes. All or a sudden, I didn't have an excuse not to play sports. Until that year, I wouldn't jog or swim because "I forgot my contacts at home". Suddenly, I could see any time, any where. And entering middle age, I knew that with my bad genes, my options were to exercise or die. So, I joined the local gay hockey team, rode a bull in the Colorado rodeo, and joined a straight rugby team. It was a rush when someone called me a "jock" - the exact opposite from the way that I felt as a teenager. I dropped 35 pounds and got to be pretty good at ice hockey, even if I am still mediocre at rugby.


I'm going to play in the Bingham Cup rugby tournament next weekend in Minneapolis, Minnesota... my old hometown. I haven't been back there in over a decade. Most of my friends have moved away. And I wasn't gay when I lived there, so I don't know anybody in the bear or leather communities. Still, it will be good to go back. It's a fantastic city.

I haven't played in a rugby game since I broke my hand last year. In 2008, I played for the San Francisco Fog. I was living in San Jose, and practices were over 45 miles away on Treasure Island... an hour and a half in bad rush hour traffic. But I still did the 2-3 hour trip three times a week for November and December, playing in three pre-season matches and not doing too badly.

Then, during the first five minutes of the the first game of the season against Berkeley, I caught the ball for a 5 yard "carry". I got tackled, and went down hard. Then someone stepped on my hand, breaking the third metatarsal. So, that was the end of my season with the Fog. I went to a few practices and stood around, and cheered them on at their games, but it sucked I couldn't play.

Imagine my surprise when I went to the end-of-season banquet. Rugby dinners are surprising formal affairs, and they always require a jacket and tie. Though some slobs (i.e. props) often wear jeans and tennis shoes to make a point against formality. Plus, there's an official Fog tie to wear. I made sure I had $30 with me before the banquet and went up to the captain of the team to buy a tie. This led to a discussion. He and a few other members had to step in the next room to discuss whether I was worthy to wear a Fog tie, since I didn't play during the regular season. One player said, "We can't let just ANYBODY wear a Fog tie!"

I didn't make any friends on the San Francisco Fog team. Nobody knew my name. I would go up and be social, but found that few people would ever come up to me to talk. And come to think of it... I didn't make any friends on rugby team when I played in Denver. I knew some of the guys on the Colorado hockey team, but found that when I stopped practicing with them, nobody would call me on the phone or want to get together. I can't blame them - playing hockey was pretty much the only thing that kept us in touch. When that went away, so did the friendships.

And now in Washington DC, the pattern is repeating. Just an hour ago, I sat alone at the bar after practice with the rest of the team. I tried to make some conversation with a few of the other players, but I didn't find many takers. But here's the rub - I found out that some people were gossiping about me before practice. I guess some people saw me at the leather street fair and thought I looked stupid. So, they were talking ABOUT me... just not TO me.

It sucks to find a gay sports team, full of people just like me. And I'm still picked last.


The San Francisco Fog had a mild scandal this week when the president of the team resigned over the Bingham Cup selections of who gets to play on the varsity "A" side, and who is put on the beginner "B" side. It turns out 50 Fog players signed up to go to Minneapolis, and the team took their money. Then, the team went out and found 4 MORE guys... really good players who played for other team. But they weren't Fog members, never paid dues, and only played in one regular season game. In short: "ringers".

The Fog really wants to win this year. The Bingham Cup was started in memory of Mark Bingham... a San Francisco rugby player who died in the Flight 93 crash during the September 11 attacks. San Francisco founded the tournament, and won the first two times, but lost in 2006 and 2008 to the Sydney Convicts. They really want the cup back this year - evidently strong enough to kick four paying gay team members off the roster in order to make room for straight guys from out of town. Ah, but that's sports, innit?

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That's kind of funny -- you've always been a "jock" to me... And no, not just in the "Please wear a jock while I molest you" kind of way... ;o) Seriously, though, you're one of the most "Get in there and get into the mix of things" guys I've encountered -- you seem to make it a personal point to *not* let "But, they might not like me" (which we all think/fear) hold you back from *trying*... :o)

I really respect that. :o)

We've never hung out and chatted, so I can't say if it's some kind of "Oh, yeah...that whole farting every third word? Yeah, you should stop that." kind of social faux pas or if it's just the intensity or "nerdiness" of your personality or what...but it always comes down to the whole "find people *like* you and they'll *LIKE* you..." ya know? Finding some kind of common ground *beyond* rugby might be the key, I guess... But if they won't give you the time of day, I suppose they're robbing *themselves* of the chance to find the neat-o guy underneath the rugby'ized surface, eh? :o(

The whole issue of the "ringers" bugs me, but that's mostly because I don't take the "status" part of sports seriously enough, though I'm pretty damn competitive when I'm playing/competing in anything... ;o)

What is it with SF gay sports teams and ringer scandals? The SF D2 softball team had their second place finish at the 2008 Gay Softball World Series nullified when it was discovered that they had ::gasp:: three bisexuals on their team (the rules limited them to two heterosexuals; apparently the governing body counts a bisexual person as being more than 2/3 straight or something).

In any event, my only advice is the thing that kept me sane throughout my own unspectacular elementary/high school athletic career: Fuck 'em!

So... Wait... They were disqualified because they had "straights" on the team? Are they saying that that gave them an un-fair advantage? Do they think straights are better in sports or something?

Hi. Heterosexist much?

Worse... two years ago the New York rugby team PAID complete strangers to play for their side.

The Sydney Convicts are the odds-on favorites to win this year, mostly because they pull together a team from *all* the players in Australia, where all the other teams are based in a US or Canadian city.

One of my coworkers is on the Fog so I hear all this drama on the phone all day. He's one of the straights on the team, but not one of the new ones. I told him to tell them to stop acting like high school girls.

Actually, the straight team I played for was WAY more dramatic than the gay teams. When gay guys are being overdramatic, I think it's usually with a sense of self-knowledge. Someone can deflate their ballon with a well-timed, "You go gurrrrrl."

But straight guys often have no clue they're over the top. They think that they have no emotions, and the things they are feeling at any given time are true and interesting and necessary to be expressed loudly.

I totally agree, I wasn't trying to imply they were being drama bombs because they were gay. Just that they were being drama bombs and needed to grow up.

You've achieved everything you've set your mind to. Unfortunately, you have no control over jerks being jerks. I think it's a shame you've been treated so poorly. You deserve to play with a better team -- or start your own.

Thank You Sir. But I'm not a very good player, so I don't think I will ever be valued very much. It's not like a "Rudy" thing where a clumsy athlete becomes the team mascot. The guys want to win, and I can't really blame them. The San Francisco Fog is not a charity organization.

Winning's important. And so is having fun. And so is making all members who get to practice and suit up and show some hustle and do their best feel like part of the team. And these three things are not mutually exclusive. It sounds like bad leadership/management/coaching, the tone of these things is often set by coaches and team captains. It sounds like the Renegades are not the team for you. Contribute your talents and passion and sweat elsewhere.

I was the boy who cheered for those playing (yes I was a cheerleader, its why my knees hurt now)

Jerks are everywhere

I broke my hand the same way playing rugby. Cleat right on the bone.
Paying people to play for your team? Wow.

Somebody once told me that in hockey you have to bleed for the sport to be accepted as one of the team.

I don't know if it's the same in rugby, but maybe the problem, when you sustained a crippling injury during a regular season game, was that you didn't bleed all over the place.

Edited at 2010-06-11 06:33 am (UTC)

I'll work on that this year! {grin}

I am sorry that the team won't accept you.. it sounds to me like you do a damn good job of doing your best on the team.


Oh fuck those gossipy bitches Patrick. You live your life the way you want to live it and if they wanna gossipp then fuck em. You need to participate in all that leather and kink fun stuff. You have an absolutely gorgeous Master that I would fuckin fall off my chair to have sex with. Your a lucky boy. Fuck those retards.

Thanks! Yeah, it's weird that the "A list" gay community is embarrassed by the leather crowd. I think the pretty boys see me expressing sexual freedom and pure joy in public and are jealous because they are self-hating queens.

Play or no play, welcome back to Minneapolis! sctmpls and I will hope to cross paths with you and thornyc.

Well, you picked the PERFECT magenta lipstick!

I'd forgotten to reply to the post with the kicking machine.... you need to get one with tongues on it!

being picked last by two large groups of jerks should be a compliment, not a complaint.

No better here with the Rebellion. friend of mine who played with the Atlanta Bucks moved to LA and wanted to join the Rebellion. He went to their night at the Eagle to meet everyone. They stuck him alone at a table selling t-shirts all night. Nobody ever talked to him.

Soccer is a gentleman's game played by hooligans. Rugby is a hooligan's game played by...queens?


And they're all over the place here.

Chin up Hoss. You have a MASTER to tend to and who cares deeply about your well being. You have friends who like you not for what you have but what you are. There MUCH more I could add but this will do for now.

My Grandad who was one of the most "popular" men I ever knew once told me "Sonny Boy when you get older you will find yourself fortunate to have a FEW people you can call true friends."

I never understood it coming from him, but the older I get the clearer that wisdom becomes.

BTW- Dont you have some reservations to make?

I'm headed to MSP for the Bingham Cup, but just as a spectator.

I hope I'll see you there!

Not that it makes it any easier ...
being chatty in groups is a talent that not all of us have.

good post. thank you.

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