What a terrific weekend. Weather was great, Mother’s Day was great, and there were all kinds of great things happening.
First, Michael Sam made history, and the St. Louis Rams did, too. Although it happened far too late in the draft, showing that NFL teams are still awfully closed-minded about gay athletes, pro football’s first openly gay active player was drafted in the seventh round by the Rams.
Sam may not make the Rams, who are loaded at his position (defensive line). He may never become a star, may never make a huge impact in football.
But his impact will go far, far beyond what he does on the field. By being the first openly gay football player to be taken in the NFL Draft, he has opened doors. He was shown young kids out there who may be too afraid to tell their friends and teammates in a macho sport that they’re gay that it’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with you.
There was the usual social media crap Saturday night about the kissing in the above video, but I don’t see two men kissing. I see a man fulfilling a lifelong dream, to get a chance to play in the NFL, and then celebrating the moment with tears, followed by embracing the person he loves.
Great column on Sam being drafted here, from Dave Zirin, who says the NFL still has a long way to go.
But Saturday was a huge step, and it was great to see.
**Next up today, after breaking up with his girlfriend, a high school student in Houston was dared by his friends to get a Houston Texans cheerleader to go to the prom with him (by the way, help me out here: Growing up in New York we always said “the prom,” but everywhere else I’ve lived people just say “prom,” as in “we’re going to prom” together. Are we New Yorkers strange for using “the” and why doesn’t anyone else use it? I digress).
And because I wouldn’t be telling this story if Michael Ramirez hadn’t gotten a Texans cheerleader named Caitlyn to go out with him, the above video has a happy ending.
Very cool. Glad so many beautiful women seem to be doing this more. (where the hell were they when I was in school?)
*And finally, the New York Rangers. I will tell anyone and everyone how much I hate the Bee Gees; it brings me great shame to tell you that that awful disco group had the No.1 song in America the week I was born (I looked it once, and was horrified), and if a Bee Gees song ever plays at a wedding I’m at, I’ll be off the dance floor toot sweet.
But all night Sunday night I’ve had one of their songs in my head. This one…
That’s right baby, the New York Rangers are stayin’ alive. What an incredible game Sunday night at MSG, one in which I could feel the intensity of the crowd coming through my TV (Garden crowds have been awfully quiet for years, thanks to ticket prices being sky-high and real fans being priced out. There’s a huge difference in the noise level from when I used to go as a kid, to now. But Sunday night that crowd was awesome.).
I mean, you couldn’t write the script any better than to have Rangers star Marty St. Louis, whose mother died last Thursday, score the first goal Sunday night in Game 6, on Mother’s Day, with his father and sister at the game watching.
After that happened, shoot, I knew the Rangers would find a way to win. And they did. And now the big, bad Pittsburgh Penguins, who looked unbeatable just a few days ago, are headed home for a Game 7 knowing the Rangers have found their game.
This is what I love so much about playoff hockey: A series is never, ever over. Down 3-1, the Rangers looked dead and ready to be buried for the season.
And now the Blueshirts, who have far less talent than Pittsburgh, go into Game 7 on the road with absolutely zero pressure and the chance to steal a series they have no business winning. (And really Sidney Crosby, you’re the best player in the league and you jab your stick into a guy’s crotch? Classy.)