Soccer–Football–Or Whatever–It Needs More Points and More Commercial Breaks (Stand In Line To Complain, Chumps)

The Brits kicked this game around the world when they had the “empire where the sun never sets”, but I’ve tried my best and still can’t see much in soccer, the sport others demand we call “football” and get pissed off when we won’t.

And now it’s World Cup time again, and millions of people in countries with GNPs that can ill afford more non-productive work days (How many have they already taken off for the innumerable saints’ days?) are spending days on end not going to work or attending school so that they can watch 22 guys chase a white ball back and forth across the field for 90 minutes in hopes of  catching someone–anyone–getting it into the goal.

Those that love it–not native-born here I assure you–have told me, “Oh, you don’t understand the techniques, the finesse.”  But I’ve tried.  And soccer goes into the same category with a marathon race and golf, that just are plain deadly to watch.  Except, at least, with a marathon and golf, you know in the end there’s going to be a winner.  But in soccer–yes, soccer, damn it–the game could end in a tie, or draw, as they like to call it.  I mean isn’t that what sports are all about?  Having a winner.  And a loser.  Or losers.  After all, if there’s no winner or loser, it isn’t really a sport; it’s just exercising.

But with this game, these guys can do their ball-chasing for the required 90 minutes and–time extra, and there could still be a tie.

Look what happened this past Saturday in the much touted game between the USA and England (Why is the country Great Britain, but Scotland, and maybe Wales, or even Northern Ireland, for all I know, could have a team in the World Cup?) .  The game ended in a 1-1 tie, but the Englanders went away with their tails between their legs boo-hooing because they hadn’t won and the Red, White, and Blue took to field proudly crowing,”Well, at least, we didn’t lose.”  To top it off, the English goalkeeper caught all kinds of hell for losing the game, while the American goalkeeper was lauded as the best player on the field.  But the game ended in a tie.  Go figure.

During that same 90 minutes, I went to run errands–shopped for groceries, picked up my laundry, and mailed off some bills.  Accomplished some things.  When I got back home, though, the score hadn’t changed much. (Come on guys.  Make more points, increase the size of the net or something.)

And the World Cup is just as predictable as the Miss Universe Pageant, which is just as boring and worthless in my books.  With that beauty competition, you know that every other year, Miss Venezuela is going to get the crown, and with the World Cup, it’s going to be either Germany or Brazil, unless Italy can squeeze one out.

Oh, well, maybe all the shirts and other paraphernalia sold will help those other countries’ GNPs, unless, of course, all that stuff is made in China.

New Matthew Mitcham Story Hits the Stands: Olympic Win and Life After the Olympics

matthewmitcham122It seems like there’s an Aussie invasion, with at least five “down-under” friends at our little dog park most evenings and a new hire at work. That “shrimp on the barbe (or is it “Barbie”?) accent is everywhere.

As you can see (as if you’re actually reading this), there’s set to be another Aussie invasion of sorts as Olympic gold-medal winner, Matthew Mitcham, is featured on the cover of the next of issue of The Advocate. (Thanks to Towleroad for this heads-up.) The article, written by Nicholas Fonseca, gives readers an insight into the young Australian’s story, both growing up as a self-aware gay boy and his current rigorous routine as an dedicated athlete, who still follows a strict training regimen. Says Mitcham, remembering being the subject of taunts as a schoolboy, “We all got it . . . I was just so open . . . . It was like it was no fun to call somebody a homo who really is a homo.” Other great photos of Mitcham by Adam Pretty accompany the article.

newmitcham000111The Advocate should be getting lots of extra print runs on this issue. This guy has been popular all over the world since his gold-winning dive in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. No doubt The Advocate will be pulling in more subscriptions from all over the world thanks to just this cover.

There’s a lot more about Mitcham at advocate.com, including a video of Mitcham taken during the interview.

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Check out more posts and photos of Matthew Mitcham: (A), (B), (C),(D), and (E).

Gay Marriage–Why It Would Be Good for College Football

It’s the first big weekend of college football, and since I upgraded my cable, I can’t believe all the games and scores I can get at the same time. Pretty soon, my thumb is going to need a sling because of so much channel flipping.

I really love college football, the whole thing–the game itself, the bands, the fans, the cheerleaders–all of that rah-rah-rah. Sometimes, though, that high level of testosterone and the arrogance it seems to bring about just is about too much to watch. I think a good gay marriage would be the best antidote to keep some of those involved with college football more bearable to be around.

First, I’d marry off Coach Bob Stoops of the University of Oklahoma. He’s fine to look at, but that attitude of his could use some toning down. Anderson Cooper of CNN would be the perfect match for Stoops. That soft-spoken southern charm would be just the chill pill for Stoops. And think about the great looking kids they’d have to boot.

The second one I’d marry off is almost older than football itself–Coach Joe Paterno of Penn State. I think he started coaching when there were still only 48 states. There’d be no better husband for Paterno than Sir Ian McKellan. The Wizard could conjure up a golden-years’ fantasy honeymoon that would surely get rid of Paterno’s grumpiness. In case the couple needed a little extra “sumpin-sumpin”, maybe they could look up one of those Nebraska wrestlers who got themselves a bit of fame on camera. One of them is somewhere up in Pennsylvania these days.

The last one that needs a gay wedding is Bevo, the longhorn mascot of the University of Texas. No one is sure if he could actually consummate any marriage because Bevo is a steer, isn’t he? Never mind that. Bevo’s perfect mate? One of the gay penguins. The warmth and attention the penguin shows for his eggs and chicks might help make ol’ Bevo a kinder, gentler soul, once he felt the love coming his way–not to mention toning down that god-awful burnt orange he’s been wearing season after season. A bit of the penguin’s fashion sense might get even an old steer like Bevo to have a bit of style for a change.

I’d say we’re way overdue for a gay marriage or two in college football. If Boston College plays USC or UCLA this year, who knows? It might happen.

Matthew Mitcham–Now There’s a Picture I Would Hang in My Locker

On Saturday, when I first saw the results of the 10-meter platform dive, I decided to post the results here because I was excited about it, but I thought only the few people who read my blog would see it. Then ka-boom. I see the counter showing all these hits. At first, they were just mostly from Australia, then some from the US. By Sunday, the counter started spinning off its wheels (my blog’s wheels usually turn pretty slowly). I was getting hits from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Panama, Turkey, Russia, even the Congo! I couldn’t believe it.

Then I started to realize that there were lots of people excited about Matthew’s win. I’d read the article in the Advocate about him earlier, and was hoping he’d get some kind of medal. However, knowing about the prowess of the Chinese in diving and the fact that the Olympics were being held in Beijing, I didn’t figure that anyone really had much of a chance against them–for sure, not the gold. Then there on Saturday morning (at least Saturday morning Houston time), here’s this young gay guy from Australia standing on the podium receiving the gold medal!

I had my own emotional moment, and proceeded to write the results here.

Mitcham receives congratulations from his boyfriend Lachlan Fletcher after receiving his gold medal in Beijing.

Unfortunately, we here in the US (I don’t know about other places) didn’t get to see him give his honorary roses to his boyfriend Lachlan Fletcher in the stands, nor did we see the interview after his win with his mother and Lachlan at his side. Nor did we get to see one of the nicest moments, when he rested his head on Lachlan’s shoulder for a moment. Not that any of this was out of the ordinary, for a winning athlete to have his loved ones at his side after the victory. But rare, indeed, and truly wonderful for a gay athlete to be able to acknowledge and be acknowledged by his loved ones on camera. For me, it was one those great moments.

I hope it’s going to be one of those pivotal events that makes changes–changes for a lot of people, especially young people. It’s time for them to have a hero–these kids in school who catch all the flack because they’re gay, or even just presumed to be gay.

Yes, there have been out gay athletes in the Olympics before. And, yes, there were a number of other out gay medal winners this year in Beijing–all in team sports and all women, and they are to be congratulated and greatly supported, as well they should be. However, this is a situation comparable to the one in show business. It’s great that Ellen Degeneres can dance across the stage on her award-winning talk show and get married to her girlfriend and have the whole world smitten. When Anderson Cooper or someone of the same ilk has the “cojones” to do the same, the other half of the gay population will have its day too.

I’m sure there are those out there who will say, “I don’t need a ‘gay hero’; I don’t need anyone famous to be “out” because I’m fine with myself. Anyway, it’s something private.”

Well, I admit I need it, and I’m sure I’m not alone. (I’m sure of that because of all the interest shown not only on this blog, but because of all of the articles about Matthew’s win published everywhere in the past couple of days.)

But even more so, kids need it. These kids that get called names, pushed around, or much worse–they need it. They need to see that it’s OK to be who you are, that it’s not weird to have the support of your boyfriend when you do something great or not so great, that you can be gay and have your parents be openly proud of what you do and who you are. I’m sure there are lots of gay kids with great supportive parents, but there are many who are searching for something positive–something that shows being gay is just one part of a person, and everybody can make goals and reach them, and still be a whole person, without hiding any part.

Because of that, Matthew Mitcham’s win has a greater importance than just that of his own personal success. I don’t know how many more athletes there will be coming out in the near future, but I’m sure his victory and example will be an inspiration to help open that door, not just for athletes but any kid.

I know if I were 16 again and still in high school, I’d stick a picture of Matthew Mitcham’s winning dive on the inside of my locker door.

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Read more about this Olympian: Matthew Mitcham Story About To Hit the Newstands: Olympic Win and Life After the Olympics

Check here if you’re looking for a photo of Matthew and Lachlan.

Matthew Mitcham, Olympic Gold Diver Speaks about His Achievement

Matthew Mitcham's Gold Winning Dive

Matthew Mitcham's Gold-Winning Dive at the Beijing Olympics

With such an emotional victory in his pocket, Matthew Mitcham, the winner of the gold medal in the 10-meter platform dive took a little time later to speak about his win, along with his mother and boyfriend, Lachlan Fletcher, both of whom were in the stands at Beijing’s Olympic Water Cube to watch and cheer him on. (Read about Matthew’s terrific victory further down this page.)

Matthew Mitcham, Out Australian Diver Wins Gold in Beijing

Matthew Mitcham, an out gay diver from Australia, made a big come-back in his last dive in the 10-meter platform dive winning the gold medal to the chagrin of the Chinese who were hoping to make a sweep in diving. He had been in second place going into the sixth and final dive, but he scored an amazing 35 points in that dive, for a total of 112.10,to move past Zhou, the Chinese diver who had been in first going into the last dive. Mitcham, who earlier had missed out on getting into the 3 meter finals because of nerves seemed to calm himself down in a big way, especially for the final gold-winning dive. You can see part of his gold-medal dive here.

Men’s 10m Platform, Final Standings
Gold–Australia — Matthew Mitcham, 537.95 points
Silver–China — Zhou Luxin, 533.15
Bronze–Russia — Gleb Galperin, 525.80

Here’s a great article by Bob Ballard, a BBC reporter covering diving at the Olympics, telling about the moments of the dive itself and what occurred directly afterward.