Soccer….Family Style


Robbie Rogers Comes Out By Blog Post Read By My 10 Year Old
February 16, 2013, 9:13 pm
Filed under: Major League Soccer, Supporter Culture, US Soccer | Tags: , , , ,

robbie respectI got the news of Robbie Rogers’ coming out via my 10 year old daughter reading his blog post aloud as I was driving, with her five year old brother listening. His message is a bittersweet and poignant reminder that our society is far from a welcoming utopia, but to hear his words through my daughter, and hearing my children’s reaction gives me hope.

It’s school intercession this week, and since the kids and I will be spending Spring Break in Denver, we’ve been working pretty hard on our house project (the blog/project that keeps me from posting more here). We were taking a drive out to southwest Iowa to check out a new fireplace mantle, listening to NPR, waiting for Science Friday to talk about the asteroid flyby (I know, I have a five and ten year old who ask to listen to NPR, we’re a geeky family, what can I say?) While we waited, they had an interview of some hateful man ranting about the Boy Scouts and gays, saying things that were nothing short of horrifying. I want my kids to know about the world, but do I really want them exposed to hatred?

They know homophobia exists. When my daughter was the flower girl in my Aunties’ wedding, our former next door neighbor found out that we (gasp!) don’t mind having gay friends and family, and had her daughter stop playing with my daughter. That was basically the last straw in staying in that house, and we soon moved to our current neighborhood, River Bend, which is much more in line with our world view:  economically and racially diverse, and is affectionately referred to as “the best damn gayborhood in Des Moines.” Viva diversity!

NPR turned to Science Friday soon enough, and we continued our mission for the perfect fireplace mantle. We were on our way back to Des Moines when my phone beeped the notification from a writer/soccer friend from AO Iowa City had just written me a Facebook message that just said “ROBBIE ROGERS!!!!!” in vaguebooking style of leaving message open to anything from Rogers in near-fatal accident to amazing trade/score/news. I wrote back “What?” and flipped open Twitter in attempt to answer my own question. It took no time to find this blog post in my feed, but since I was driving, I asked my 10 year old daughter to read it.

My kids are growing up Jewish in Iowa. They know what it’s like to be a minority and get teased for it. We talked about how hard it must be to feel like you have to hide who you are from everyone, even your family. When asked, my daughter said she didn’t think it should make a difference if a player is gay, full of child-like wisdom with “It’s who he is, all that should matter is how he plays.” Absolutely right, kiddo.

So we join in the outpouring of support for Robbie Rogers, which made me so proud yesterday, to read so much love and support for a player who really should only be famous for what he’s added as a player. While I look forward to the day when he wouldn’t have to have suffered so long with this secret, I’m so grateful that my kids got to share in his coming out message, and they now have a new role model for living an authentic life. Hopefully his step away from soccer will be short lived now that he knows the soccer fans and players can stay classy. Well done and best wishes, Robbie Rogers.

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