health & sports
Out on the Field
He’s outta’ there!
Published Thursday, 24-Apr-2008 in issue 1061
For more than a year now, I’ve had the enormous pleasure of writing this weekly column serving the sports-oriented members of San Diego’s GLBT community.
Even now, as I file my last installment from my trusty laptop at a downtown Boston hotel, I remember the hundreds of serious athletes and dedicated community organizers I’ve been honored to work with.
I’ve told their stories and helped publicize their events. They’ve given me access to their lives and the opportunity to share their passion, if only for a week.
In the past year you’ve read about gifted athletes like David Koenig, whose life was cut short by cancer; and about athletes like Rafael Acosta, David Lang, and my good friend Wyatt Strehlow, who were fortunate to have beaten the disease.
You, dear reader, have put up with me while I’ve railed against organizations like Set Free Ministries, who protested when “the gays” attended a Padres game en masse. You even read as I wrote about how you can find love on the softball diamond, like James Tuck and Grady Mitchell did nearly a decade ago.
If you’ve enjoyed any of those columns, you have Michael Portantino, Russell O’Brien, Joseph Peña and the rest of the staff at this publication to thank – never once did they pull one of my columns, or tell me to reign in my sometimes overly outspoken keyboard. They’ve given me carte blanche to write about whatever I think the sports community in America’s Finest City might want to read about.
A month ago I made the difficult decision to leave this column behind. While it has been great fun to write, week in and week out, it has also become increasingly difficult to find the time to do it well.
Take, for example, this week. I knew it was my final column and I had to turn it in by Thursday, but it took the weekly e-mail blast announcing the new issue of the GLT to remind me the column was still on my to-do list.
In addition to a full-time-plus job, I also coach two softball teams, pitch for one of them, play tennis regularly, bowl weekly, and, when he lets me, spend time with my boyfriend, Steve. There’s more, but you get the idea. I have to cut back, and since Steve is transfering from 29 Palms to San Diego, finally, I figured this was a good time to enjoy my great life and work just a little less.
As of the time I write this (which is of course after my deadline), I don’t know who will be replacing me, or if there will even be a sports column after this runs.
I hope there is.
I hope someone steps up and takes this fantastic opportunity to write for the largest weekly gay publication in Southern California and one of the oldest and largest West of the Mississippi.
In my journalism career, which has spanned all mediums, including print (as editor of the now-defunct Update), radio (as on-air talent at about a half-dozen stations, including KFMB AM 760), television (as a stringer for NBC), and the internet (as the dating columnist for www.gay.com), I have worked with some of the best and some of the worst.
At the risk of sounding patronizing, I can honestly say the people I’ve met in the gay press have been some of the most dedicated professionals I’ve ever met. While I haven’t always agreed (or even gotten along) with the likes of Petr Pronsati, B. Allan Ross, Tom Ellerbrock, Tony Zampella, Jeri Dilno, George Biagi, Corri Planck, and yes, Michael Portantino, they have never ceased to amaze me with their passion and commitment in those years I’ve spent working with (and competing against) them.
And, I can tell you, they didn’t do it for the money.
There isn’t a lot of coin to be made in the “lavender press” and those people started when there was even less! Most of them began with not much more than an Apple IIe and an idea. Now, two decades later, people like Don Hauck have been responsible for bringing the AIDS pandemic to the forefront of public debate, along with issues like same-sex marriage, equal opportunity for employment, and where to go on Wednesday nights for a cheap cocktail!
In a lot of ways, I cut my now media-savvy teeth learning the trade at a publication that was once this paper’s bitter rival. I then entered the “professional” world, where I thrived, but I must confess, I was all too happy to come back to the gay press. Even though I wasn’t writing crime articles anymore, it was nice to be able to write about an often under served community: San Diego’s GLBT athletes.
I have loved every minute of it.
Now it’s time to say goodbye (and find a good lobster place.) While I might return to these or some other pages some day down the road, I just want to say that it is my sincere and honest hope that you have enjoyed reading these articles as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.
So, with a nod to my friend Ben, who can now honestly put “jock” on his MySpace, “So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodnight.”