To knock the Olympics off the main story of sports pages, TV stations and websites across the country Monday, it would take a major, almost earth-shaking sports moment.
Well, one definitely arrived. Michael Sam, an All-American defensive end from the University of Missouri, announced he was gay. Sam has entered the NFL Draft, and in all likelihood he will be selected.
Which means come September, Michael Sam can become the first active, openly gay male athlete in a major professional team sport (NBA forward Jason Collins, for his trail-blazing, has not played this year since announcing he was gay).
This is huge news, of course, because unlike Collins, Sam is not at the end of his career and easily dismissed as an insignificant player.
This is a kid who prior to Sunday night’s announcement to the New York Times and other media outlets, was expected to be a middle-round draft pick.
I’m thrilled about Sam’s announcement, because it’s long overdue for pro sports to accept an openly gay player.
And after devouring a bunch of stories about Sam, and seeing what a down-to-earth, intelligent young man he is, I have no doubt he has what it takes to be the Jackie Robinson of the gay movement.
Read this interview he did with Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated, and tell me you don’t come away impressed with him. (For a great take on what it will mean for the NFL, I highly recommend this Tommy Tomlinson piece)
Of course there will be haters, and of course there will be moronic fans screaming epithets at Sam next fall. But finally, after we thought it would happen with Jason Collins, a major barrier to acceptance should come tumbling down.
**Look, there’s a few guarantees here at Wide World of Stuff headquarters: such as, if it’s February, I’m going to be writing a long post about the first Duke-North Carolina game of the season (Wednesday night, and I’m very pumped up!).
Also if Jimmy Fallon, who I love, and The Muppets, who I love, do a duet together, well, that’s a guarantee I’m going to post it.
Take it away, Mr. Future Tonight Show host…
**Finally today, I love stumbling upon bloggers I’ve never heard of and finding out how well they capture some of what I’m feeling.
Lindsey Mead is 38, just like me, and she has written a stunning essay on what it feels like to be this age.
Quick excerpt from her fabulous writing:
Thirty-eight is solidly in the middle of my life. Thirty-eight is realizing that there are likely as many years behind me as there are ahead. It is acknowledging that life is no longer a green field, that certain doors are closed, that some choices are irrevocable and that many of the big what-ifs that haunted my childhood have been answered. Thirty-eight is also realizing that despite these answers, there are far, far more new questions.
Thirty-eight is not having any more grandparents. It is hearing about the illness and death of my friends’ parents. It is going to funerals, and also christenings, more often than weddings. Thirty-eight was leaving my injured mother’s side before surgery a couple of years ago to run home to my daughter, who was crying that I wasn’t spending enough time with her. Thirty-eight is the middle place.
I read a few of her other posts and they’re also terrific; please check her out.