if harry hay could see them now

In the news today, trouble in gay softball leagues: what to do with all the straights who want to play, too. Leagues have limits, either everyone who plays must be gay, or there might be a 2-hetero limit on each team. The question becomes how to tell who has too many straights. The blurry and fluid boundaries of sexuality that scholars have been loving to talk and write about for decades comes into stark relief as the shortstop married to a woman says he is bisexual, or the best slugger in the league claims to be both straight and gay. Continue reading “if harry hay could see them now”

a little trash talk

Good takes on Evil this evening at 9:00, on ESPN for those of you not living in the Triangle region (WRAL for those of us who do). We went four years without losing at Cameron before being humiliated last year in a 32-point drubbing. This year we visit on a major roll, having won 10 of the last 11 games and the last several by large margins. The Daily Tar Heel managed to write a narrative that has Good triumphing, 81-79, which strikes me as an unlikely result. Still, recent events have many of us asking “Larry Who?”, and with Kendall Marshall’s stellar play we should be competitive.

Good’s prowess is not just on the Hardwood. The ASR that arrived today contains two articles by Carolina faculty and two by Carolina alumni, out of a total 7 items. To quote our esteemed chancellor:

”At our university [UNC], we would be at the top of a ranking that measures Rhodes Scholarships won, women’s soccer championships, and the scholarly productivity of the Sociology Department and the School of Public Health. Needless to say, we haven’t found a ranking that is limited to these measures.”

— Holden Thorp and Buck Goldstein.  Engines of Innovation., UNC press, 2010.

Enjoy the evening, everyone.

killing the messenger

UNC football is in the middle of a scandal involving improper contact with athletic agents and potential academic violations. It turns out that one of the main ways the scandal broke was that players were bragging via Twitter about perks paid for by agents, e.g, drinks, entry to fancy parties, and so on. So this morning’s Daily Tar Heel says… wait for it…

Continue reading “killing the messenger”

football flyover

As has become something of a tradition, an F-16 will fly over the UNC football home opener vs. Georgia Tech on Saturday. I hate to sound so fuddy-duddy, but:

  1. Do we really need to reinforce the link between a sp0rting event and militarism; and
  2. How much does it cost, in terms both of money and of natural resources, to fly a supersonic military plane over the campus, both several times as practice today and then during the real thing on Saturday?

theodicy, politics, basketball, and progress

A year ago, we had recently inaugurated an African-American president who ran on a visionary, if not radical, platform. Health care reform looked truly within reach. And the Heels had just won the NCAA national championship.

A year later, that president is in hot water, health care reform passed only by being an essentially Republican plan without any Republican support, the Heels didn’t make it to the NCAA tournament, and to cap it all off, the bad guys won the championship.

All this strikes me as (a) requiring a certain theodicy to make sense of it all; or at least (b) challenging the idea of unilinear progress.

what’s a fan to do?

My Tar Heels are miserable this year. Barely above .500, they are all but certain not to make the NCAA tourney (unless they win the ACC tourney, which would require acts of several deities acting in concert), and frankly will only be invited to the NIT because the UNC franchise is so valuable that Carolina probably brings in more TV dollars losing than, say, George Mason does winning. It’s been a difficult year in the southern part of heaven.

So why did I watch the whole debacle on Saturday when the Dark Side avenged four years of losses to the Good Side on their home court with a whipping of historic proportions? What’s a fan to do? My wife wanted to fast-forward on the TiVo. My older son, who really does consider the Duke-Carolina rivalry an epic battle between good and evil, felt more like I did: waves of horror punctuated with the kind of rapt attention that a grisly road accident commands.

I am a relatively recent convert to sports at all, having paid no attention whatsoever before moving to Chapel Hill 10 years ago. Soon after we moved here, the day after the Heels were knocked out of that year’s NCAA tournament, a disheveled homeless man sat down across from me on a Chapel Hill city bus, stretched out, and declared, “I’m ashamed to be associated with this town.” I understand why we cling to political and moral ideals even when they’re losing, which I’ve done plenty of times beginning with the Mondale-Ferraro defeat in 1984. I am, and remain, Tar Heel faithful. I’m just not clear on the social psychology of why I was and am proud to root for the Heels during and after this awful season.

baseball at the asa

Going to a baseball game at the ASA with people you’ve never met in person is a longstanding bloggerly tradition, almost as longstanding as drinking together, but not quite. This year, as the ASA is in San Francisco, Brayden and I are particularly excited to see our beloved Giants in our beloved Pac Bell AT&T Park. Because tickets go fast, and because the ASA website isn’t coughing up the details of our presentation times, we have to get tickets before we know our schedules. So, we’ve decided to catch a game on the evening of the last day of the conference, August 11, after things are all over. Continue reading “baseball at the asa”

the ache shifts from brain to muscle

Hockey, it turns out, really does help a crank like me feel better, in a way that ultimate frisbee does not. Apparently, the running around out in the fresh air on green grass–as awesome and fun and tiring as that is–is not a substitute for smashing into people as hard as you can. Go figure.

I’m playing in a mostly-men’s league, and I’m easily the worst player on the team. On the women’s team I used to play with–the one I quit mid-season two years ago because it was getting in the way of my writing–I was right in the middle, which is much easier on the ego. Still, I prefer this team. It is a great bunch of guys, and Husband is the superstar goalie, and it is so great to get to play with him (yes, it was a spousal hire, but I was on the team first). Kid is our biggest fan, and when we have a day game, he plays with the other kids in the stands–a Canadian tradition.

So, Sarah Palin is still popular, and people all over are wrong about all sorts things, but I think I can keep the rants on the inside now.

how many athletes are gay?

A story in the Globe and Mail yesterday bemoans the fact that only 10 Olympic athletes are openly gay in a public enough way to be counted by the website Outsports.com (don’t ask me about their methods–not much on that over there). This includes nine lesbians and one gay man, and for whatever reason does not count one bisexual woman.

Given that there are about 10,000 athletes, the story reasons, ten gay athletes is so small that many more athletes must be gay and closeted…but how many? They venture a guess:

Outsports said this must be way short of the real figure and argued that a more accurate estimate could even reach 1,000.

Hmmmm…this seems very high to me. The Outsports people are basing this estimate on shaky premises. Continue reading “how many athletes are gay?”