Monday, March 29, 2010

in the closet? or just inside the shadow?

My Google reader has over two hundred unread items in it again. That isn't that many, but it does represent a couple of days of lessened computer time. Between Friday evening and Saturday late night lately I'm fairly busy.

Friday evening is soccer practice with the boys followed by attempts at feeding them healthy food, getting them into bed then obsessing over what I might have missed at their practices, what I can do to make the games go well and hoping none of that keeps me from getting to sleep.

And when I start cutting back computer time or just having less time for it, often my email is the first thing to get overlooked unless I'm expecting something. And I missed a comment recently to my most recent post as it came in just before the weekend mania.

The comment is from a blogger I enjoy who also happens to author one of two blogs hailing from Canada that I enjoy reading, Tossing Pebbles in the Stream and A Small Corner of Nowhere.

The comment was to my most recent post about the idea of deliberately outing closeted politicians who work against the interest of gay people. Sadly, when I saw that I had a comment, I had to go to the blog post to remember what I'd posted. I suppose it's been a while.

It's always interesting to have comparisons from people used to life in Canada but who are also well aware, through experience, of life in the US. I have to assume it's the subtle differences. And that's sorta what the comment made me think.

But then the idea of the closet crept back up.

There's some idea of levels of outness that I've considered before, quite possibly even thought about on occasion. There are so many variables that work into this equation when I really stop to think about it. One basic question to ask is Who Knows? The followup question is Are They Cool? Two distinct examples come to mind, work and soccer.

I'm pretty much completely out at work. There are a few new employees that I haven't told directly, but I can only imagine they'll figure it out soon enough. I work in a part of town that has a lot of cool places and hosts a lot of my friends, people I've met over the years of working and hanging out in the vacinity, some living in the area and some scattered throughout the city. Of the people living closest the demographic is young, hip, probably with more than a little money while the visitors are pretty much everybody in town for various events over the course of a year.

It's a safe place to be out, and it wouldn't matter anyway since enough people know that I have to assume that everyone knows. It's freeing to not give a shit. It's not nearly as gay as I'd like to see it, but even before I was out it was where I loved to be, where my two most regular bars are still. I'm accepted now just as I was before.

In this place, these several city blocks of this town, I feel like I'm just me. I can dream that I could meet someone and poetic nonsense will happen, and then a happy ending that involves growing old together with no wind chimes indoors.

And then there's soccer. Obviously, this is the place where it matters least. This is also one place I'd currently sorta most like it to not come up.

From the direction of our downtown you can follow the four directions to find somewhat different perspectives and opinions on life and politics. While downtown is a more liberal sort of place, driving north takes you into more conservative territory. We're currently in an in between but less lib sort of direction, and our soccer region is mostly the points farther out than us.

I don't want to judge the people who let me coach their children, and I can't know what they think because it doesn't come up. I do my thing, they cheer, maybe we'll win next week, and then the season is over.

I have a whole other complaint here that I feel needs to be somewhat addressed and actually will be in the fall. I'm not sure what happened, but someone noticed something I noticed. One of the ideals I learned from my earliest coaching days with this organization is the idea that complete and total fairness was the ideal. There would be now stacked teams, no all stars beating up the "others."

I've coached some great kids, though not all of them should have been playing soccer. I've seen so many that just didn't really want to be there, but they made the effort, and sometimes I got some really good playing out of them. Some kids just DID NOT need to be there. They hated it, they didn't like or appreciate being pushed to do things they had no interest in, and you never know what to do.

Is there a good way to tell someone to ask their child if they really want to play soccer? This is the first season that Big Brother's team has been full of kids who all seemed interested to be here. Okay, now that I think, I can name a couple that would rather do other, but I also see these kids as being willing to pull together and do something great if I can just . . . They do actually enjoy playing soccer, and I'm refusing now to get sidetracked into the discussion about how kids are different and there are the kids who like playing soccer as well as the kids who hate losing anything. That's a great idea for a blog post, but it's not where we are right now.

I never mean to, but thinking about soccer gets me into a certain groove, and this is a great year for that. I stopped coaching for a short time, part of the whole coming out thing. Soccer just seemed too much at the time. Coming back to it is weird because so many of the faces in the organization haven't changed. And it should be mentioned that our preseason coach's meeting is held in a Methodist church. And that's a crap segue to get us back to my point.

I'm making assumptions like Hank Aaron hitting home runs when it comes to the idea that these people might learn their kid's soccer coach is gay, but I don't think that I'm entirely off base when I assume that it could be, at best, uncomfortable to have to deal with it. And there's the point that it kind of doesn't matter at all in this lone place and time. And while I don't see it ever coming up, I can imagine it ending poorly for all interested parties.

I would prefer people know. If they are accepting then it makes my life easier, and it shouldn't change or effect anything for them, but that's the main variable here. You just can't know who's cool and who's not.

When I'm downtown, if someone learns that I'm gay and has an issue, I have back up. I have places I can go if I need to, and I have friends that will stand up with me. Among the soccer crowd I have a huge unknown. They don't realize it, but there's a gay amongst them. And he's doing his best to coach your kids, to make them better soccer players and better teammates.

And if we get back to some of those stereotypes of gay people, I have worn my sunglasses in front of them, and on me they're kinda gay, which I'm generally okay with, but I'm sure my "secret" was telegraphed somehow to someone. Also, I love those sunglasses. I saw them on someone else and actually went to WalMart to buy them because I loved them so much. That also might be kinda gay.


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