PHJOSHUA ON SPORTS – I DON’T CARE WHO YOU ARE, YOU CAN PLAY!

This has been a hard post to write. Hell, it’s been a hard post to think about writing. And it’s because I’m scared. Scared that I’m not going to get it right or capture my thoughts with the right words or really convey what I’m thinking or how I’m feeling.

Usually when I’m writing here it’s not that hard. But, this time is different.

It goes like this, I’m a straight dude that played a lot of sports when I was younger. I loved it and wouldn’t trade away those memories or experiences for anything in the world. In all of my experiences though one thing that I never went through was a teammate coming out.

Now that I’m a little bit older and I’m reading stories about young men who say that the hardest part about coming out was telling their teammates I start wondering what it would have been like to experience. I know that in the mid to late 90’s when I was most involved in team sports it was not a locker room environment that looked super enlightened. We were dumb teenage boys and nobody really worried about telling us to be any different. We made fun of each other. We encouraged toughness and manliness and discouraged and made fun of any signs of weakness, failure and anything that wasn’t macho and Alpha.

I would like to think that as a group we would have been welcoming and supporting and inviting to a teammate if they had come out and told us that they were gay. But I don’t know how it would have gone down.

Soccer player David Testo waited years to come out. And while I feel lucky to have spoken with him and written about it earlier this year, I wish I would have asked him about the environment when he was a kid. Did he ever think about coming out when he was younger? Was it kids like me that made him hold off? He told us that he believes we won’t see more athletes coming out until we see a more accepting society.

I would like to believe that the time is coming. That our youth are much more accepting and educated and ready to show the world that being a gay athlete is okay. Just like being a gay accountant or actor or waitress or CEO is okay.

It’s not right that it falls on our young people to lead us… but I think that’s how it is going to be.

I can only hope that stories being shared by young athletes like Scott Heggart will show us that things can change. And that campaigns like You Can Play (spearheaded by the Burke family) will show the mainstream that the time has come for everyone to feel invited and included.

I’m still scared that I haven’t said what I wanted to say. Or that my message isn’t clear.

When I was 15 I’m not sure I would have been strong enough to stand up for a gay teammate. And because of that I’m not sure it’s fair for me to ask every 15 year old out there to be strong and supportive and welcoming… but that’s what I’m doing. It’s what I’m asking of everyone, of every age.

If your goalie or second baseman or left D or point guard or quarterback is gay it doesn’t matter. They are still part of your team. We are all taught that your team is your family. And we all need to support our families.

Whether you are gay, straight, bi, unsure, or not ready to decide: If you can play, you can play.

PHJOSHUA ON SPORTS: SPRING IS COMING, THE OPENING DAY COUNTDOWN

My friends, we are only 6 weeks away from the start of another baseball season and I am getting more and more excited every day. Just yesterday while Rannie and I were looking for hockey pucks at SportChek (I’m sure he’ll tell you more about that later) I made him stop so I could look at Blue Jays t-shirts and hats. And that’s not the half of it.

A week ago Friday I went down to the Rogers Centre to pay my phone bill and stop at the box office to get myself an early 30th birthday present… but when I got to the window at 2pm to buy a pair of opening day tickets I was given the worst (and best) news ever – the game was already sold out.

It’s bad news because I want to go to that game! I really want to go.

It’s good news because it means that there will be 50,000+ people at the Rogers Centre on April 9, 2012 to watch the home town Blue Jays take on the Boston Red Sox at 7:07pm.

Needless to say, I was a little broken hearted. I’ve only been to 1 opening day and that was 7 years ago when the Red Sox came to town and Slash played the national anthems (that was awesome) and the Trailer Park Boys threw out the first pitch (not quite as awesome) and I paid $70 each to a scalper for 2 seats in the 9th row of the 100 level halfway down the 1st baseline.

I love the things that a new baseball season brings. I’ve written and talked about that fact a billion times. But one of the things that I’m most excited about is that my friends want to come to games with me. Rannie and I hit one game together in the 1st row last summer and I would love to take him again (I’m going to turn him into a huge sports fan over time) and teach him more about the game and players that I love.

6 weeks can seem like an eternity or almost nothing. My gut tells me that for me it will feel like both.

ps. I didn’t get that hat, so if you wanted to surprise me I wear either a 7 ⅛ or 7 ¼ full back.

pps. I will gladly go and sit with any of you at a baseball game. Let me know when you want to hit the stadium and we will try to make it happen. Whether you are from Toronto or will be visiting, whether you are a Blue Jays fan or happen to root for your own home team, I would be totally into it.

Thanks again to the Blue Jays for giving us pictures of Ricky Romero and JP Arencibia and the rest of the boys of summer at spring training. See more at the bluejays.com spring training album.

Talk to you soon kids.

Remember, March Madness is coming…

PHJOSHUA ON SPORTS – THE “LATE WINTER” SEASON IS COMING!

It’s a really crowded time of year for sports fans. Not that it’s a bad thing. Not at all. It’s just really busy.

We’re here in the middle of February and while we have said goodbye to the NFL season we are now preparing to say hello to Major League Baseball as Spring Training camps open in the next 2 weeks. We are also getting closer and closer to conference championships and March Madness on the NCAA basketball calendar.

Note: I can’t wait for March Madness and I’m already brainstorming the March Madness Widow Survival Guide 3.0

We also can’t forget that we are right smack dab in the middle of the NHL and NBA seasons with more excitement and tension building each day.

The NBA All-Star rosters have been announced and some of the best players in the game will head to Orlando for a weekend of shooting, dunking, stars and sunshine. I have no idea who will win the dunk contest this year… but I really hope that there’s no car on the court.

Note: It’s a shame that Andrea Bargnani has been injured so much this season because he would have been an All-Star the way he was playing.

The NHL is getting closer and closer to the trade deadline… an unofficial holiday in Canada and one of the more stressful days for players, coaches and fans all over the league. February 27th will be a big day in the world of sports fans. It always is.

Note: Canadian hockey fans will have multiple options for day long reporting on deadline day. Remember that being loyal to one network may actually hinder your access to knowledge.

The thought of having March Madness and Spring Training going on while basketball and hockey come down the stretch in play-off races all at the same time is almost overwhelming. There are so many highlights, stories, stats and scores. It’s hard to keep track of.

If I can recommend anything to you let it be The Score Mobile. It’s a life saver for fans on the go. And even at home when one game is on the TV and the scores you need aren’t scrolling across the screen.

The “Late Winter” isn’t an official season, but for sports fans it’s the busiest season. Get your chips and dip and popcorn ready kids. It’s all happening!

Have fun!

PHJOSHUA ON SPORTS – TOP SONGS IN SPORTS!

If you have ever been to any kind of pro sports game you’ve heard the music that gets blasted over the speakers during time outs and intermissions and between innings. The music is a huge part of the fan experience. Fans get engaged and dance and clap and sing and stomp and generally get a lot more enthusiastic when the right track comes on at the right time.With that in mind I did a little research to find out the most popular and best arena/stadium songs out there.

Most of the songs I found have been around for a long time. They’re classics if only because they are so often heard at games.

There are songs on the list that I would never hope to hear on the radio. But when they come on at the ball park I’m all in. That’s the great part about this list. It isn’t about songs being good. It’s about them fitting in with live sporting events.I looked at 5 lists that ranged from Top 10 to Top 100 songs and came up with my own list of 20. I guess I’m pickier than some other people on the internet.

Here’s my list of 20.
  1. Blitzkrieg Bop – The Ramones
  2. Cotton Eye Joe – Rednex
  3. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
  4. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
  5. Final Countdown – Europe
  6. Get Ready For This – 2 Unlimited
  7. I Got You (I Feel Good) – James Brown
  8. I Wanna Rock – Twisted Sister
  9. Jump Around – House of Pain
  10. Let’s Get It started – Black Eyed Peas
  11. Na Na Na Na (Kiss Him Goodbye) – Steam
  12. Pump Up The Jam – Technotronic
  13. Rock & Roll, Part II – Gary Glitter
  14. Thunderstruck – AC/DC
  15. TNT – AC/DC
  16. We Are The Champions – Queen
  17. We Will Rock You – Queen
  18. Welcome To The Jungle – Guns & Roses
  19. Whoomp! There It Is – Tag Team
  20. YMCA – The Village People

Think I missed something important? Think I screwed it up altogether? Give us your suggestions!

PHJOSHUA IN SPORTS – VIDEO, INTERNET AND SPORTS WERE MADE FOR EACH OTHER

One of the greatest things about sports is the fact that we have the internet available to share and remember and laugh about videos of the awesome things that have happened.

I used to work for a sports website that posted videos, pictures and blogs. It was a great time. And thanks to that experience I got to see a bunch of pretty cool videos that I think you should see too…

Enjoy!

Please rise and remove your hats for the National Anthem…

DJ Steve Porter rocks my world on the regular – and this Randy Moss tribute
is my favourite – check it out!

If America’s Funniest Home Videos taught me anything it is the fact that dudes
getting hit in the nuts is funny. And since I hate Brett Favre, this clip is
extremely funny!

And in 2010 Jose Bautista became the 1st Toronto Blue Jay to hit 50 home
runs… he hit 54 – see them all!

Have a sports related clip that you love? Share the link with us!

Phjoshua on Sports – Sports Is A Fickle Mistress

Don’t go giving your heart to sports.

If you’re a sports fan you know what I’m talking about. Sports will rip your heart out faster and more often than any teen-age crush ever could. He’s mean, unforgiving and really doesn’t seem like he cares about your feelings very often… but at the same time she’s pretty and fun and when she smiles at you it feels like you’re on top of the world.

One of my favourite back-and-forth’s in a sports movie comes from Fever Pitch (the American version about the Boston Red Sox) when Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore are all in love but not sure they can make it work because Jimmy loves the Sox too much.

The best line comes from one of Fallon’s students in the film and goes like this: “Let me just leave you with this thought. You love the Sox. But have they ever loved you back?”

It’s a very fair question. Sometimes I wonder if I’m ever going to get as much out of my relationship with sports as I put in. It seems like sports is always just out to show me that he doesn’t need me to be happy and successful. But I still, always, want to be a part of it.

Example time… have you ever made the decision not to watch a game, to make other plans, to go somewhere without a TV and spend time with non-sports fans – only to find out that you missed something so unexpected and amazing that you hate yourself?

Sports does that to us all the time.

AND STILL WE LOVE IT.

WTF?!

Being a sports fan isn’t as easy as being a Gleek. As a sports fan the magic is lost on a PVR. There’s no point in finding a download of a game once it’s over. The feeling is there in the live action and the “in the moment” movement of it all.

The worst part is that once you’re in love with sports there’s no going back. You can’t leave her for something else and just forget about her because she’s everywhere. You can’t just change from baseball to football and hope that things will be better – because they won’t and he’ll do the same things to you over and over again.

Please, for the love of all things good and pure in your life, don’t fall in love with sports. Pick comic books or movies or video games or art – something safe. Something that won’t hurt you. It’s for your own good.

Trust me.

ps. #GoCowboys