I was raised Catholic (because you know talking religion in the opening sentence of the very first blog you write is always smart!) and I was raised by Franciscan nuns who believed that if you were a good person, and you did good things, Jesus would be okay with you. While, it wasn’t until I was older, I realized that they may have also implied some good ol’ fashioned “hey, if you are gay, you can play” ideals into the things they were trying to teach us — it’s what I ended up taking away. And what I feel one of my favorite tough nonsense “raised from the Bronx and moved by the Holy Spirit to become a nun and teach hundreds of snot-nosed brats in the ghettos of Northern New Jersey” nuns always secretly felt about me.
Did she know?
I am one of those people that doesn’t realize “oh, I bet she likes the color green because she’s wearing all green” until someone else points it out to me. That’s kind of how being gay happened too. And while that’s probably terrible to compare my love for another girl to me liking the color green, that’s just how my brain thinks things.
I learned this morning that that nun passed away some time yesterday and there is a part of me that knows she was watching me dance, sing, engage in conversations about hockey and coming out of the closet at the You Can Play event and she was probably super proud of me.
And with that in mind, I was really proud (wink) and happy to be surrounded by gay, straight and other hockey fans yesterday night for the very first (but not last) If You Can Play, You Can Play event at a professional hockey game.
(check out the video for my favorite Islander prospect, Kirill Kabanov speaking in Russian)
It was the AHL’s New York Islander’s affiliate as the host, the Bridgeport Sounds vs the LA Kings affiliate Manchester Monarchs. Without teasing my Islanders host Vinny too much, we could all agree that the Sounds arena was a lot better then the Coliseum (now with 99% less asbestos!). The game itself was good (even though the Sound Tigers lost 3-2, I have a bunch of new favorites including Kenny Reiter, the Sounds goalie who looks like the second coming of Nabokov and the Monarchs’ @yellow1571 Colton Yellow Horn, who got a goal and has possible the greatest hockey First Nation name ever) but it was the pre and post game stuff that made it an amazing experience.
Prior to the game, Patrick Burke (@BurkieYCP) and the You Can Play Team (@YouCanPlayTeam) had a panel discussion on a variety of topics including what to do if you are a hockey mom and how do you stop the kids from saying those words, to what it’s like as a gay hockey player in the locker room, to how you aren’t really an ally – you are just being a person, and a wonderful cut at Sean Avery being Sean Avery.
The three person panel (Patrick Burke, David Farber (former captain of UPenn), and Nick Kleidon (gay high school player from Minnesota who wrote about his experience for the PuckBuddys blog) was hilarious when it needed to be, sad at some points, and uplifting and wonderful at others.
One of the highlights from the panel was Patrick Burke saying that while he understands why people say it, he doesn’t think of himself as a (straight) “ally” because “[it’s so fucked up] that there’s a word for treating people with respect. Isn’t that just being a person?”
To finish the night up, after the game was over, there was a scrimmage game between the members of the NYC Gay Hockey and members of the twitter/internet blogsphere …. and Patrick Burke.