Wednesday, October 26, 2005

At Least it Didn't Happen during the Playoffs:

WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes just came out as a lesbian. Whoops, so much for dynamiting the stereotype about female athletes.

Her achievements speak for themselves. Several gold medals, WNBA team championships and individual awards. She's a great athlete, and God bless.. Hmm... I wonder will there be any backlash.. especially from the 'hood... Black communities have yet to publicly embrace any openly gay public figures (okay, E. Lynn Harris sells a lot of books, but it ain't the same thing as your kid's sports hero stepping up to a podium and saying she likes girls).

Obviously, up until now I'm sure she's done her share of charity appearances and participates in community service and any number of photo-ops. I wonder will the brakes be put on those endeavors. I notice she's got an ex-husband and child.. There's all this lingering hand-wringing over 'down-low' men.. and now....?!??!?

``Do I think I was born this way? No,'' Swoopes said. ``And that's probably confusing to some, because I know a lot of people believe that you are.''
This particular comment is mildly troubling for me. In part, because it only fuels the fire for those who contend that gay/bi tendencies are a "curable" condition unnatural to all humanity and implicitly gives credence to the damnable but popular Recruitment myths. On another level, it begs the question of whether she's fully comfortable in having gay romantic leanings.

..Of course, if she is bi, then that's her business.. But now there's gonna be a whole lot of 'speculation' and sound the alarm roundtable discussions and cash-in books: "How to Tell Your Woman is Gay" and the like. Probably more locker-room fights between girls over allegedly giving someone "the look".. Probably more knucklehead men slapping around their significant others because they think they're in the "chicks over (censored)" club.

I wonder does she have any endorsements... if so, I wonder will they stick with her or will they front.. Hopefully the WNBA will not turn their back on her as one of the main "faces" of the sport, in terms of promotional attention.. I'm also curious as to how other players are reacting to this.. and to circumvent a follow-up question, I don't think this will have any affect at all on the NBA; nobody from that world is coming out, until they retire..

egads... this is too surreal.. The white Sox are actually in the World Series.. and they're leading! It is not a dream, not a hoax, not an imaginary story.. as a former citizen of Northwest Indiana, the Sox and Cubs were the teams to root for-- partly because Indiana has no Major League baseball teams.. maybe a farm team or two.. Game 3 was FOURTEEN INNINGS, lasting over 5 hours... exhausting to watch, let alone play.. If the Sox win game 4 in Houston, it won't be the same as if they won in Comiskey-- er, US Cellular Field (how in the hell did that deal take place, anyway?).. All the same, i'll take a sweep regardless....So far, no crazily stupid stunts have happened, unlike Game 6 in the '03 playoffs when the overzealous Cubs fan tried to grab the foul ball and... well, sports heads know the rest.. Ozzie Guillen deserves major props as the manager, he should get manager of the Year.. Jermaine Dye should have his gear boost in sales soon.. ...Regardless of where I'm living now, I'll be looking to cop some Sox gear if/when they pull off the Big One.. I already have two caps..

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Supporting Military Families
by Christopher 'HypeStyle' Currie
U.S. Military units have been spread across the globe in support of the War on Terror (whether in Iraq, Afghanistan or other countries) as well as many personnel engaged away from home in homeland security initiatives. Americans are looking for methods in which they can help out a military family while Mom or Dad is away. In particular, the families of reservists, who tend not to live near or on a military base, would be in need of assistance because they may not have the immediate support network that usually exists between families that are on military bases. Here are some things to consider if you decide to help a military family-
Be proactive with offers to help:
Call the family and say that you’d like to bring a dish for dinner, and suggest a date.
Offer to take the children for an outing.
Assisting in the care and well-being of children is usually a major help:
If you have children, offer to ‘swap’ kids one afternoon out of the week with your friend--one week you can watch both sets of children, the next your friend can watch them.
When something is scheduled on a recurring basis, parents can count on this "sanity time."
This can help the remaining parent/caregiver with their daily routine, as their spouse’s deployment is bound to cause some disruption. Suggestions don’t have to be in the form of ‘big favors’; even little things help.
For those of you who have older children, they can participate as well:
A child who is not old enough to be a caregiver can volunteer to be a playmate for a younger child, which would give Mom (or, sometimes, Dad) a respite (though, they should stay near).
The deployment of a parent can be particularly uncomfortable for the children; giving them some extra attention will help in the emotional transition.
Older children whose parent has deployed may appreciate having a mentor:
You can offer to take a child to a museum, some informal sports play, or just a walk in the park.
Taking the child to their extracurricular activities (organized sports, scouting, dance, etc.) helps to ease the parent’s burden from these necessary, though time-consuming, trips.
Take time out to visit, even if you are related to the deployed parent. Also, make sure to keep contact via the telephone, letters and/or e-mail. Care packages are a nice surprise on occasion. A brief note inside a happy card will probably perk up a parent’s day; children love getting mail, too, and such gestures make the absence of a parent easier to bear and help reassure children that people love and care about them.
Some other Ideas:
Call the family when you’re heading out to buy groceries (or any common errand); they may need just an item or two, and this helps save them another trip.
Get friends and relatives of the family together to buy gift cards for retail stores, restaurants, amusement centers; in particular, you may even give certificates for services regarding chores that the deployed parent used to do, like lawn care, leaf-cleaning, snow-cleaning, etc.
Your offers of help will likely be useful for many months to come—perhaps longer. These assorted gestures encourage the spouse and children at home to feel that they are supported and well-thought-of, and this can only help them to get through these circumstances.
Adapted from "Active Duty: Helping Military Families Cope" by Sarah E. Creel.