Getting really exhausted with the argument that being gay and being Christian are mutually exclusive. Did Gary Bauer even read Jason’s essay? He is as loud about being gay as he is about being Christian. Come on, now.
I also dislike the language of the headline. Putting Christianity in the closet — really? I was comfortable voicing my love for God long before I ever got comfortable admitting that I could fall in love with another man.
I know that today is a problematic day for you. Ever since I first read in some article a few years ago about your feelings about your mom, I haven’t read much else about the matter. Maybe you haven’t given it much thought — baseball players, after all, are supposed to remain focused on baseball, at least during the regular season, and who knows what you think about during the rest of the year.
I wonder if the image of goofy aloofness that you project so skillfully conceals a racing mind. Supposedly, Geminis are known for that sort of thing. I recently blew a couple of bucks on some astrology book that I’ve been reading at work during idle moments. I had finally decided to buy it because no one else was, possibly because of the crease in the spine that I was at least partly responsible for creating from of my repeated perusal.
Astrology is not something that I “believe” in, per se, but I think it’s fun, and sometimes it is inspiring to think that the predictions and descriptions apply just to me, or at least people like me. The book says that you, as a Gemini, have a mind that is constantly racing. Your mind is always thinking about something, or about many various somethings, and this I found amusing because the image that you project is so convincing that, quite frankly, I would be a little surprised to know you are consumed by anything existential…
Aries are supposed to be leaders. I’ve never seen myself as a leader. I have always thought of myself as more of a helper but whenever I’ve consulted a second, third, and fourth pair of eyes about my resume, I am consistently told that I need to project myself as taking the lead. This is apparently what works in the workforce.
A couple of letters ago, I mentioned that I’ve been using social media to help guide me along my career. To tell you the truth, the idea of what I want to do with my life has crystallized only within the last couple of years. As I’ve mentioned before in other letters, becoming a fan of baseball really helped with that. I’ve spent my whole life thinking that I want to become a published author, and even though I would still like that someday, something else has entered the picture, some other goal that consists of my own interests and goals while aligning with Pop and Ma’s own hopes for me and, ultimately, the realities and practicalities demanded of the world.
It hasn’t been an easy thing to do, Linc. These kinds of revelations have been happening to me all of my life — I become consumed with something that I want to do, and then I do it until I can’t anymore, like writing. And then I am forced to try something new.
Hopefully this something sticks and, you know, the thing is that I think it will. I think I’m lucky this time: being consumed with something that I want to do, and being at a point in my life where my own interests are in such wonderful alignment with the rest of the world. Stubbornly, I’ve played a kind of lone wolf all these years. It’s romantic… in youth. And when youth ends, I think, the rest of your life can begin.
So now I am on this human resources kick. It’s what I want to study now that I am in business school. It’s the kind of internship or low-level starter job that I want to have while I am in business school. It’s the kind of career that I want to have in the near future.
I am not entirely certain why human resources took so long to come to mind. Maybe I just needed to endure the natural progression of the years to understand that all of my work in customer service and admin assistance in tandem with this indefatigable and seemingly congenital drive to get along with so many different kinds of people was all meant to crystallize into human resources. Also, there is a concentration on public policy available at my school and when I think about declaring that concentration, my chest soars with expectation. Lately I have been thinking a lot about the politics of labor…
I don’t know why I am telling you all of this. I don’t really know why I have spent the last four years telling you a lot of This. You will notice that I have dispensed of “never-to-be-sent” and referred to these things as, finally, just letters. When I started Baseball 2.0, the conceit was that it would be a blog of unsent letters to you written as a public and living memoir — or, put more simply, a regular ol’ blog where I write about my days and other various #firstworld idiosyncrasies that are stylized, perhaps presumptuously, as letters. Never-to-be-sents. Whatever. They’re letters, and even though I keep saying out loud that I know you will never read them, anyone who reads them knows that I feel differently in the privacy of my heart.
It has been an undertaking with a presence in my life significant enough that I’ve included it as part of my repertoire. That’s kind of a risky move. The field of human resources is necessarily conventional — there are policies with which to comply, standards to uphold, all of it constructed upon a firm ground of trust and good character. My background as a writer could, justifiably, be called into question. But that’s part of policy, and politics: explaining yourself.
Do you have a resume, Linc? Let me be straight with you. (Har har har. If this were an episode of The Golden Girls, at this moment I would have glanced at an ajar angle toward the frame of the scene and ever-so-subtly away from the audience as kind of snarky self-referential acknowledgement of the hilarity of my saying “let me be straight”.)
Anyway, you should consider having a resume. You should have a follow-up plan. Baseball history has shown that when a player’s career comes to an end, his options are limited. Some are lucky enough to put their college education, if they have one, to good use. Many end up finding other kinds of work in baseball or, sadly, pursuing questionable business schemes. Unless you’ve developed a forecast in which you’ve budgeted all of your millions of dollars so that you can basically give yourself a paycheck on a regular basis if this baseball thing ends up having to come to an end, you’ll have to go into something else. Have you ever thought of doing anything with your life outside of sports? In response to that question, I find myself amusingly thinking of the SportsCenter commercial where you’re sitting at a desk awkwardly trying to use a computer mouse. Maybe you do think about stuff like this. That’s what Geminis are supposed to do. Who knows.
I’m accumulating a small collection of polo shirts.
The last polo shirt that I had, I threw it out because it was this shade of lime green that didn’t go much with anything; and I never replaced it because I wasn’t into polo shirts to begin with — until now.
So far, I have two polo shirts. One is purple and the other is orange. I have never been much of a clothes shopper. For one thing, I never have the money, so when I do shop for clothes, it’s at secondhand stores. Lately I have taken to going back to Macy’s, which I have not done regularly since I worked at my better-paying content editor job last year. Macy’s has good prices. Being there also reminds me quite a lot of my childhood. Ma loved department stores and still does. When I am at Macy’s by myself, I can’t help but simultaneously be in the present, as an adult trying to find his way in life, and as the childhood accompanying his mother up the escalator, dreaming.
I know it seems pretty insignificant and mundane to report on owning two polo shirts. How comically #firstworld. Right? But then again, when through these never-to-be-sents have you known me to report on something sugary — all sweetness, no substance? Having the beginnings of a polo shirt collection reminds me so much of Pop. For as long as I can remember, he has enjoyed wearing polo shirts. He still does. In his youth, when I was barely a toddler but old enough to remember these things, he even popped the collar. Yeah, in his youth, my dad was fashionable!
Cologne is too expensive. But I wish that I could buy. Lately I have taken to idling my time at Macy’s trying out different colognes and even dabbling the one that I like best on my neck. Spencer isn’t a fan of artificial scents, and because of that I refrained from wearing cologne a few years ago. Since then, I’ve lost the one and only bottle of cologne I ever had, which incidentally was from Pop, who wore cologne with his polo shirts, of course. But I think that I’d very much like to go back to wearing cologne. I am realizing that I like it when a man has a signature scent — not too overpowering, like how amateurs, mostly kids but also many misguided men, practically bathe themselves in the stuff. Just a hint. There’s maturity in knowing when you’ve put on just enough. I’m also realizing that if I want to attract the kind of man that I like, then I ought to become my own man first. Enter polo shirts and cologne samples.
I love my parents. I like that I am becoming like them.
Yesterday I went to a pro soccer game. I am not going to lie, Linc: I have never had any interest in soccer, playing it for fun with my friends, playing the video games — which I have read that you like to do — and most especially in watching pro games. Zero interest. I went to an Earthquakes game yesterday because a game ticket was included with this sports networking event thing that I signed up for. For the last few weeks — hell, for this entire year so far — I’ve been busting my hump trying to set a direction for myself, and the idea of working in sports has persisted since 2009. What I liked about going to the Earthquakes game was how homegrown it was. The whole organization is pretty much a startup. Major league soccer has yet to take off here in the states, but the thing is, it could. There’s a very real chance of that. And when I was sitting in the tiny stadium, getting cozy with everyone on the bleachers around me — all the seats were bleacher seats — moving my head to the tune of the tribal drumbeats (!) in the distance, it felt kind of amazing to be part of the start of something.
It sounds melodramatic to keep crediting my interest in baseball as the thing that finally drove me to start doing Something, with a capital ‘S’, with my life. But melodramatic as it is, in 2009, when I sat down to that fateful Giants game, I was struck with what the author Mal Peet describes as a Road to Damascus moment. But I wasn’t converting to anything, Linc. I already had an existing set of values, dreams, hopes and wishes that were suddenly clarified. This does not, of course, mean that a happy ending has come so easily. It’s not even here yet. Four years after getting into baseball, the hunger of my bank account and marital status are nothing to brag about. But the difference between now and then is that… I feel like I might, at long last, be getting somewhere.
"Sports, after all, are where America happens. And as much as it stands as one man’s emancipation proclamation, Jason Collins’s statement in these pages demonstrates, like little else, that we are hardly the same nation we were 10, five, even two years ago. That his decision will spark only more change, at an even higher speed, seems a dead-solid certainty."
— Sports Illustrated commentary on the role of sports, and sports reporting, as a stage for social and political change, 05.06.13