Tag Archives: Sochi

Jason Collins makes history and knocks down barriers. Some thoughts on the end of the Olympics. And the fine art of professional cuddling

jasoncollins

Sunday night, sports history was made.

Sports history that was long, long overdue. History that most of us thought would’ve been made at the start of this NBA season, not now, in late February.

But change moves at its own pace sometimes, no matter how much we try to force it along.
Jason Collins played for the Brooklyn Nets Sunday night, and played 11 solid minutes in the team’s win over the Lakers.

It can no longer be said that no openly gay players have played in the four major team sports in America. A giant, 7-foot tall crack in the wall of bigotry and intolerance was blown open Sunday.

Some people say it isn’t a big deal, that he’s just a 35-year-old washed-up center being called on by a Nets team desperate for some frontcourt depth.

But it is a huge deal. Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal makes the eloquent case here. Excerpt from the column:

“Yes: We are going to get to the point where it will no longer be a big deal. There will be other players who come forward like Collins and the college football standout Michael Sam and the MLS soccer player Robbie Rogers, and after a while it will no longer present itself as a major cultural moment. This is the way the world is going; this momentum in professional sports feels irreversible. The groundbreaking may start to feel routine. But it’s no reason to not admire the ones breaking the ground.”

Couldn’t agree more. Sunday was a great day for tolerance and acceptance in America.

As Andy Dufrane once said: “Hope, is a good thing.”

**Next up, something that should cheer up all you single, lonely people out there: There are professional cuddlers out there, who you can hire to hug and spoon with you. They’re called “hugging therapists.”

Yes, it sounds crazy. But I totally would’ve considered this when I was all by myself. Look how content these people in the video look!

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**Sunday night brought the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, and as always, I’m sad to see them go.
I know some people don’t care about the Olympics, and here in New York, with a million other sports stories to worry about, like Derek Jeter and spring training for the Mets and the continued abomination of the Knicks, the Olympics got lost for a lot of people I know.

But I love them. Every two years I get wrapped up in the bobsled and the skeleton and the crazy costumes and the swimming and the gymnastics and all the pageantry and heart-tugging commercials.
This year was no exception; a few parting thoughts from what I thought were a pretty entertaining Sochi Games:

— Boy that USA men’s hockey team really collapsed, eh? What a disappointment. Losing to Canada in the semis, 1-0, is one thing, but collapsing in the bronze medal game and giving up five goals to Finland? Awful.
— I watched some of the two-man bobsled competition and I continue to wonder what the guy in the back does. I mean, after the start is he just there for moral support?

— I think I’m not the only one pleasantly surprised that nothing blew up at the Olympics this year. Terrorism fears were all over the place two weeks ago, but the Russians did pull off a safe Olympics.

— Too safe, too, in one regard: I was really hoping at least one athlete who won a gold medal would offer up some sort of protest against the rampant state-sanctioned homophobia in Russia. But there was no 21st century Tommie Smith or John Carlos (look them up, kids, they were famous in 1968), and that made me sad.

— Finally, this Olympics has inspired me in at least one way: The wife and I are taking a curling lesson next Saturday on Long Island! (And yes, you’ll be reading about it).
I can’t wait.

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