Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chicago Cubs: It Gets Better

It’s the turn of the Chicago Cubs to do a video for the “It Gets Better” project. The San Francisco Giants were the first MLB team to make such a video.

Older gay people often smirk and deride these videos, saying “It’s just a PR exercise!” Or, they’ll criticise the people in the video, asking “where are the stars?” Those are actually valid points—but totally and completely irrelevant.

When I was growing up in Illinois, my dad watched baseball, as countless other fathers did and still do. Sometimes I watched those Chicago Cubs games, too, or parts of them. But I saw baseball as a largely hostile, overtly and overly “macho” place where I wasn’t really welcome, and I felt that way even before I really understood why.

So hearing the Cubs Manager say, as Mike Quade did, “The Chicago Cubs organization celebrates you for exactly who you are, gay or straight” would have been completely and totally unimaginable to me as a kid and teenager. Had I heard such a message, I know I would’ve felt a little less alone, a little less isolated.

The times have gotten better since then, but GLBT kids still struggle to come to terms with their identity in a world that, despite improvements, is still largely hostile toward them. Hearing the message from Mike Quade is great for them, as is hearing Cubs Pitcher Ryan Dempster tell them, “Stay strong and be true to yourself. It gets better.”

Fathers hearing those messages may realise that a kid who is gay or lesbian is valued by the Chicago Cubs, and that just may help them to value their own child, as well. Small changes make big change, after all.

This is not an out-of-the-blue action for the Cubs, either. After the Ricketts family bought the Chicago Cubs, and out-lesbian Laura Ricketts joined the board, moves were made to make the organisation more, well, modern. The team even had a float for the first time ever in Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade, which passes just a couple streets away from Wrigley Field.

So to the whiners and whingers, I say, simply, shut up unless you’re doing something constructive to help. We all know that the Cubs will catch flak from the local members of the anti-gay industry, so if they get a little positive PR spin out of participating in the video project, that’s fine by me: The point is still that they’re issuing a positive message of support to GLBT youth—AND adults.

Go Cubbies!

The members of the Chicago Cubs organization in this video, in order of appearance, are: Mike Quade – Manager, Bob Dernier – First Base Coach, Ryan Dempster – Pitcher, Marlon Byrd – Outfielder; Darwin Barney – Infielder and Laura Ricketts – Board of Directors.


Roger Owen Green said...


Too bad things don't EVER get better for the Cubbies...

Arthur Schenck said...

I did think of that, Roger, but it seemed so obvious. We Cubs fans have a descriptive phrase usually used to describe us: "Long-suffering Cubs fans…"

Roger Owen Green said...

obvious to US sports fan, and people from the Chicago area, but perhaps not to your Kiwi readers.