Effective immediately, my columns and blog will forever have the title “Skipping to the piccolo.” And since no title means a hill of beans unless people know what the hell I’m talking about, I offer a brief excerpt from my memoirs…
Sports never did work out for me. Every other six-year-old boy in my neighborhood had to go through the initiation of little league something, so off I went to baseball. Dad always said to keep my eye on the ball. He just didn’t mean literally. Oh well. My foray into basketball was just as much of an abject failure. I think I only scored one goal in two entire seasons. And we even lost that game.
Soccer was the sport that held my interest the longest. I was proud to be one of the founding members of the Clarksville little league. I was short, scrawny, and oh, so blonde. And because I had just gotten a brand-new behind-the-ear hearing aid, my parents wanted to protect it. Their brilliant idea was for me to wear wrestling headgear. I think I looked more like an alien than a human child. Felt like one too.
So with my headgear, I all of the sudden became a stormtrooper. I had my imaginary blaster and lightsabre and I was ready to take on the forces of darkness. Game? What game? But there’s a galaxy to save! Who cares about some insignificant soccer game when the death star is coming to destroy the earth! The force was with me. Oh yes. I would achieve my goal. And all around me, there were people cheering me on… weren’t they? My soccer team was the “Cosmos.” We would save the day! And to this day, I have no clue what the rules are for soccer.
I played soccer for seven years after that. Sadly, I think I actually got worse every year. I finally had to quit after the neighborhood egghead scored a goal long before I did. If only David Beckham had been around then. He would have given me some inspiration!
Then there was gymnastics. Finally, something I could enjoy! We tumbled, arched, stretched and jumped all over the room. The only real problem was that I wasn’t really paying attention to the teacher. All right, that’s a bit modest. I ignored the whole room.
In my mind I was soaring into the sky as I rescued the damsel in distress who was screaming my name! There was a dragon that was about to tear her to pieces and she had her arms outstretched. “David! Watch out! Go!”
Someone was screaming my name, all right. It was the instructor. “David! It’s your turn! David! Go! Go now!” But the teacher wasn’t the only one who noticed my trip into another imaginary world.
“Isn’t he cute?” A lady in the group of parents said to someone next to them. “That boy marches to the beat of a different drummer.”
Mom was also in the group and overheard the comment. She turned around to face the woman, and gave her a warm smile. The woman’s face flushed. She was sure that Mom was about to thrash her verbally.
“No ma’am, he doesn’t,” my mother said softly. “He skips to the tune of a piccolo in an entirely different band.”
Gee. Thanks, Mom. But then, I think that tune was the Sledge Sisters’ ultra-gay classic, “We are Family.” I haven’t gotten that tune out of my head since!
And the piccolo is still playing.
There might not be death stars and dragons anymore, but there are real problems and real enemies. They would rather that those of us who are gay do not exist. Where that wild imagination took me to places only dreamt of, the real world is far more dangerous.
It’s a world that has people who would like nothing more than to see the GLBT community just go away. I have a smile on my face as I realize that as much as I truly hate sports, but I will continue to fight against injustice, hate, and intolerance. It’s the only way to live. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get that lightsabre one day.
I sure hope it’s pink.