The heat has finally broken here in Chicago. There was a big storm last night and this morning around 10 when we went outside we were pleasantly surprised NOT to feel the air cling to us.
This made our outing to women's soccer in Oak Park much more enjoyable. There was a nice breeze and sitting in the stands was not in the least bit miserable. Oh--the game was pretty good too. We went to support the Thunder Kittens from Madison and they beat a San Francisco team 5-1. Hopefully the Mad City Blades can score a win tonight too at the hockey venue.
Yesterday was good too--besides the insane heat. We checked out flag football which was fascinating. Because the Gay Games accepts gays and straights (a fact all the articles in the Tribune mentions repeatedly) it was initially difficult to tell whether the teams were just here to compete in an event and may have had a few gay members (a la the rowing competition). But continued observation reveals that most of the members--if not all--are in fact queer. Every sexualized comment or queer behavior made us smile and say "we love gay football" but upon further consideration it may not be any more homoerotic that traditional football--just more obvious.
Which leads me to what I did last night. Because this trip is, in part, research-oriented, I attended a NYTimes sponsored talk/panel entitled Brokeback Locker Room. It was pretty good. Richard Lipsyte moderated (not very well I thought cutting people off not to diplomatically and doing a poor job holding people to time limits. Panelists were David Kopay, Helen Carroll, Billy Bean, Esera Tualo, Lee-Ann Naidoo and Tyler Duckworth. Duckworth is the Tyler who is currently starring on MTV's Real World:Key West. He won a gold in open water swim the other day. His story was somewhat compelling, being discriminated against and harassed--by teammates and coaches--at Tufts where he was a swimmer. But the immaturity and solipsism we see him display on the Real World isn't an act.
I really liked Carroll's speech and story. She was a coach then AD and now heads the sports division of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a job she took because she felt education on homophobia in sport was not doing enough. Her new motto, she said, was "educate and litigate." And she is--she is working on the case against Rene Portland (my favorite person to hate) and Penn State on behalf of Jennifer Harris. The case, she believes, will have as much of an impact on collegiate sport as Title IX. That's a bold statement--but I certainly hope it's true.
Tomorrow's plan is to watch my favorite hockey player at the ungodly hour of 8am and then head downtown for beach volleyball at Navy Pier and a choral concert featuring gay choruses from across the country. I love the Gay Games!