Yesterday, I went to Wrigley Field for only the second time all season. Anno and I were both there and later on we went back to my place with MRubio to have #ItalianBeefHelmet to celebrate life. The Cubs did lose the game, though we had a good time throughout the day. I also got to experience the crappy sides of Lollapalooza…first, the traffic as I nearly couldn’t get Anno to the Metra on time, and then, at the ER as I observed many a stupid drunk being admitted for various injuries etc.
What I also observed that day was that it was the “Out At Wrigley” day, a celebration of LGBT folks at Wrigley Field. They didn’t really do anything special that I noticed. Just a lot of folks holding signs, with a few rainbows here and there, including the “Bleacher Preacher” celebrating life like we at WSD were doing with #ItalianBeefHelmet. I thought that was nice. And it might speak to how far we’ve gotten since gays, lesbians and transgender folks were discriminated against just a few short years ago, that I didn’t really notice anything out of the norm…because they were just normal people having a good time.
Fellow Cubs fan Justin Jabs clued me in to this very cool tidbit of information:
— Justin Jabs (@justinjabs) August 5, 2013
In that article, we learned the following:
The Chicago Cubs were inducted into the Hall of Fame for being the first professional male sports team to place an ad in a gay newspaper in the country in 2000; hosting Gay Games VII at Wrigley Field in 2006; the first professional male sports team to have a float in an LGBT pride parade in 2010; and first team in Major League Baseball with an openly gay owner—Chicago Cubs board member and Chicago Cubs Charities chair Laura Ricketts.
“We are honored to be included in the inaugural class of the National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame,” said Ricketts. “When you look at the other impressive and talented individuals who were selected for this great distinction, we feel very special to be included among these great pioneers in sports.”
I realize that there is still a reason to highlight LGBT in the news and social media, but for the longest time, I didn’t know Laura Ricketts was gay. It simply didn’t matter to me. Also, I had no idea that the Cubs were such pioneers in LGBT awareness programs etc. If anything, I would have assumed that the San Francisco Giants or the Oakland A’s, being in one of the most liberal and free-thinking areas of the known universe, would have been pioneers. But good on the Cubs for being proactive here.
Once upon a time, I gave a speech in 8th grade just after former President Bill Clinton enacted “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in support of gays serving in the military. Political sentiments being what they were back then, (I am now a registered Republican who leans libertarian, believes in public health and education, political, civil and religious freedom, and voted for Barack Obama twice), let’s just say it was not a very well-received speech. Nowadays, I look at my son whose best friend is black, my former classmates who are of all races and some of whom are gay, and the students I will teach who are all disadvantaged African-American youths, and I don’t see any glaring differences…all I see are normal people who are separated by preferences and perhaps a bit of luck.
I’m all for promoting and celebrating humanity, especially now as a teacher. I’m glad the Cubs think that’s worth the effort as well. And now you know (sort of) why this post was titled as such.