TAG | Columbus Blue Jackets
There are two events happening in Columbus, Ohio, this Friday, March 30, that offer a slate of both educational and entertainment activities.
Columbus Blue Jackets “Pride Night”
The latter of the day, which I’ll start with first since there is less to be said, is the Columbus Blue Jackets “Pride Night” game against the Florida Panthers. The game starts at 7:05 p.m. with a pre-game happy hour at 5:30 p.m. in the Founders Club of Nationwide Arena.
If you are interested, Contact Erica Ganyard at (614) 246-7675 to order tickets or with questions. Tickets are available at four prices: $34, $50, $62, or $85.
A portion of the ticket sales benefit ARC Ohio, Bravo, Equality Ohio, Kaleidoscope Youth Center, and TransOhio. Being that I go to ARC Ohio for HIV testing; consider Ed Mullen, executive director of Equality Ohio, a friend; volunteered for a year at KYC; and know that Bravo and TransOhio do tremendous work; that these great organization will be beneficiaries in some capacity is reason to attend. For a portion of your ticket price to go these organizations, you need to purchase your tickets from Ms. Ganyard.
I am slightly disappointed with the slate of the programming this year, however. Compared with last year, which had the entire group sitting together in the sky terrace (a more private and intimate setting which was great for those that may not feel the most comfortable holding their partner’s hand, etc. while sitting in the normal seating areas) and had a post-game game between two gay hockey teams, Ohio Mayhem and Chicago Black Wolves), the agenda leaves me wanting more. Basically, there is a pre-game happy hour (cool), but the tickets are scattered all over (boo) and there is no other programming advertised (double boo). (For an example of how it should be done, check out the programming for the Washington Nationals game last season.)
I’m hoping that since Blue Jacket Rick Nash recently joined the You Can Play campaign, that there is a chance the PSA will air during the game. But I’m not counting on it.
“Humanistic Foundations: Historical, Philosophical and Sociocultural Studies of Sport”
The Ohio State University, joined by Pennsylvania State University and University of Western Ontario, is hosting an all-day conference for the cross-disciplinary study of sport at the Ohio Union, Barbie Tootle Room, 1739 N. High Street.
The event lasts all day and includes a number of topics that look to be interesting, including cross-studies of race, sexuality, gender, and more.
I am particularly interested in those in Session I, “Mediated Differences: Representations of Gender and Sexuality.” This session includes topics such as:
- 8:00-8:20 “Identifying Typologies: Women Bloggers and the Concept of ‘Sports’”
- 9:00-9:20 “‘What Kind of Respectable, Straight Male’: Paulie Malignaggi, Homophobia and Professional Boxing”
Session II also includes: “Controlling Sex in Sport: The Initial Days of Sex Testing by the IOC” from 9:50-10:10.
Other topics for the day will cover sociological implications in physical education, globalization of the NBA affecting the player’s union, ethical dimensions with parents coaching youth sports, and more. You can view a complete schedule of all the topics here. (There is also a welcome gathering on Thursday evening and a closing reception on Friday evening.)
Materials prepared for the event also include abstracts for the topics, so you can get a glimpse of the content before attending.
The abstract for the discussion on homophobia in sport is on page 15, and pasted below:
“What Kind of Respectable, Straight Male”: Paulie Malignaggi, Homophobia and Professional Boxing
MacIntosh Ross, University of Western Ontario; Daniel Taradash, University of Iowa
In the twenty-first century, internet forums, article responses and blogs have made the World Wide Web an unprecedented repository for often overlooked opinions of sports fans. Since many of these opinions are uncensored, readers are often presented with harsh, stereotyped views regarding class, race and gender. This paper will focus on perceptions of gender in online boxing fan forums, using R.W. Connell’s theory of hegemonic masculinity to explain homophobic reactions to American boxer Paulie Malignaggi on various boxing websites.
In 2007, Paulie Malignaggi won the International Boxing Federation world light welterweight championship by defeating title-holder Lovemore N’dou. Malignaggi defended his title twice before vacating the championship to fight Ricky Hatton in 2008. Unlike other champions, Malignaggi’s sexuality was routinely discussed and/or attacked online. Although his skills elevated him to the rank of champion, Malignaggi’s appearance – bright colored ring attire and thoroughly groomed look – did not align with hegemonic notions of masculinity. Furthermore, Malignaggi’s reliance on speed and technique, rather than power, was routinely pointed out, criticized and linked to his lack of ‘manliness.’
Within hegemony, a dominant cultural form does not extinguish all competitors. As Connell argues, other forms of masculinity continue to occur throughout society, constituting alternative, albeit subordinate, ways of being a man. We will argue that Malignaggi represents a subordinate masculinity, outside the boundaries of the dominant, hegemonic masculine culture exalted in boxing and other sports. Since hegemonic masculinity is heterosexual, many boxing fans framed Mailgnaggi as homosexual when discussing the fighter online. Fans typically approached Malignaggi’s sexuality in one of two ways. First of all, fans create posts asking for verification of Malignaggi’s sexuality. Secondly, some fans attack Malignaggi’s ability as a boxer by labeling him with homophobic pejoratives, suggesting that a homosexual man cannot box successfully. Ultimately, both types of forum entry reinforce existing notions of masculinity, marginalizing not only Malignaggi, but boxers who actually are homosexual.
If you attend either event, look for me and say hello! I’ll try to take notes to document the various panels I attend and of course I will be reporting on anything notable that happens at the Blue Jackets game.
Columbus Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash has joined seven other NHL stars in a video promoting the message of a new non-profit organization: the “You Can Play Project.”
You Can Play is co-founded by Philadelphia Flyers scout Patrick Burke who, along with his father Brian Burke (GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs), is carrying on the commitment to fight for equality of LGBT athletes after the death of his younger brother Brendan.
You Can Play’s mission:
You Can Play is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation.
You Can Play works to guarantee that athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete, judged by other athletes and fans alike, only by what they contribute to the sport or their team’s success.
You Can Play seeks to challenge the culture of locker rooms and spectator areas by focusing only on an athlete’s skills, work ethic and competitive spirit.
The organization’s website includes numerous other resources, including an ally pledge and a captain’s challenge. The Project is also going to do something similar to the “It Gets Better” project—finding athletes, coaches, etc. to record promotional videos—except the focus will be narrowed to the simple message that sexual orientation will not be considered in evaluating your capacity to play sports.
In an interview with Outsports, Burke explains that the athletes he has worked with have been more supportive of this narrow message: “Some athletes who might support a gay teammate might not be on board with gay marriage or don’t want to deal with those issues. We’re just getting athletes to say they want the best teammates and the other stuff doesn’t matter. And they know they’ll never have to take a position on gay marriage or march in a pride parade. They can just say they want a safe locker room and not have to do anything else.”
A 30-second initial video (shot and produced by HBO, a partner of You Can Play) will air on national television during the 1st intermission of the NBC telecast of the NY Rangers v. Boston Bruins today, March 4.
You can watch the full-length, 60-second video here:
Like the “Don’t Say Gay” PSA that aired during the NBA Finals, it is absolutely incredible to have a video with this message airing during a national telecast. It actually leaves me speechless.
Aside from Nash, the video also features Patrick and Brian Burke, Duncan Keith (Chicago Blackhawks), Brian Boyle (New York Rangers), Matt Moulson (New York Islanders), Joffrey Lupul (Toronto Maple Leafs), Claude Giroux (Philadelphia Flyers), Daniel Alfredsson (Ottawa Senators), Scott Hartnell (Philadelphia), Corey Perry (Anaheim), Andy Greene (New Jersey Devils), Dion Phaneuf (Toronto Maple Leafs), and Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers).
You Can Play’s advisory board also includes some notable names: John Buccigross (ESPN Sportscenter anchor), LZ Granderson (CNN/ESPN columnist), David Testo (recently out professional soccer player), Rick Welts (out President of the Golden State Warriors), among others.
The Columbus Blue Jackets Pride Night on Friday, March 11, was a success, excluding the defeats of the two host teams. In the NHL game, the Blue Jackets fell to the Los Angeles Kings 4-2. Unfortunately, the Blue Jackets appear to have conceded any chance to make the playoffs, an observation quite noticeable in contrast to the Kings who are scrapping for points (only 4 points separate the Kings, currently seeded #4, and the Anaheim Ducks, who are 10th in the standings, 2 places out of the playoffs).
The Ohio Mayhem did not fare much better against the Chicago Black Wolves. The goalie for the Mayhem stumbled out of the bench area to start warm-ups providing a rousing laughter for the crowd. (Pic below, and additional pics from the event here.) It didn’t get much better for the Mayhem and they ultimately lost the game 6-0.
The difference in skill level between the two teams was quite evident. While there were a few players on the Mayhem who looked like they had been playing hockey for a while, the entire Black Wolves team seemed to be able to out skate and shoot the Mayhem. Regardless, it was an enjoyable affair, at least from my perspective.
For the main affair, they had the group up in the “Sky Terrace” of the arena. While it could have looked like an act of segregating the gays, it was quite nice for us to have our own little area. We had our own group of open seating and our own concessions and bathrooms. (You can see the seats that were ours in the picture below: we had all the seats above the divider of the blue sky and clouds.)
The most notable benefit of being separate from the general crowd was that the group could freely engage in those normal public displays of affection: hugging, holding hands, and the occasional peck of a kiss. It’s something that straight couples soft often take for granted and can be a rare opportunity for some gay couples who censor their actions in public.
While presumably coincidental, the entertainment between the 2nd and 3rd periods also was gay themed: the Ohio State Synchronized Ice Skating team performed, donning pink tutus and skating around to some iconic gay anthems. (I wish I remembered what the songs were, but trust me, the gays loved it.)
I consider the event a success because of the spectators it drew in for the first time. The crowd was a good mix of seasoned Blue Jacket fans and many newcomers. All those who came left with a decent amount of swag too: a Rick Nash bobblehead (in the new alternate uniforms), a free Blue Jackets hat and sweatband, and miscellaneous promotional material for Stonewall Columbus, one of the beneficiaries of the event.
Additional pics that I took are here, and I’ll keep an eye out for other pics being posted.
EDIT: The Chicago Gay Hockey Association (home for the Black Wolves) posted a great album of shots from the event/trip.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are hosting a “Pride Night” on Friday, March 11 when they play the Los Angeles Kings at Nationwide Arena.
The event is sponsored by Outlook: Columbus, and a portion of ticket sales will go to benefit Stonewall Columbus and Columbus’ own gay hockey team, the Ohio Mayhem, but ONLY IF you purchase the tickets from Amber Krill. Contact her at 614.246.4236 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are $35 OR you can enter to win 2 tickets (details below).
Those in attendance will receive a Rick Nash bobble-head and a Blue Jackets hat. Following the NHL game, the Ohio Mayhem, Columbus’ own gay hockey team, will host the Black Wolves, the gay team from Chicago
I decided to buy 4 tickets to the event — and to give away 2 of them:
Here’s what you need to do to enter to win:
(3) Be in Columbus, Ohio, on March 11th. (I’ll confirm this by communicating with you over Twitter or Facebook).
I’ll keep track of all the Twitter Re-Tweets and the list of Facebook “Likes” and then pick the winner on Monday, March 7. If I’m unable to confirm the winner within 24 hours (or they don’t meet the criteria above), I’ll pick another winner on Tuesday, etc., until we give these tickets away.
If you have any questions, contact me.
Tonight the Columbus Blue Jackets took the rink wearing purple jerseys for pre-game warm-ups (picture below).
Coincidentally, today was “spirit day”, a national campaign that encouraged everyone to wear purple to remember and bring awareness to the crisis of suicides by GBLT youth (and those perceived to be). If you are wondering, the connection to purple is that the color on the gay pride flag represents spirit.
While the actual reason the Blue Jackets wore the purple jerseys was because of the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Month, I’m going to give them kudos for the unintentional show of support for the GLBT community.
If you are interested in supporting the fundraising campaign to fight cancer, the purple jerseys – signed by each player – will be auctioned on Friday when the Blue Jackets host the Calgary Flames. Proceeds from the jersey auction will benefit the Foundation’s Hats For Heroes program and bids start at $150.