I am not a writer for the New York Times or The Washington Post so I don’t feel the need to stir up much controversy in these weekly columns. I usually just try to write from the heart and maybe stir up a few chuckles from my loyal readers. Now this week I need to apologize in advance if I offend any of the transgender population of Adams County, of which I have yet to meet a one, at least not that I am aware of.
Summer of 1976. This 15-year old boy watched nearly all of the Summer Olympics from Montreal, remember there was not much else on but at that time watching the Olympics and cheering for the Americans was cool. How many of you recall the gold medal exploits of Sugar Ray Leonard in the boxing ring, Edwin Moses on the track, or the magical Nadia Comaneci in the gymnastics competition? And how many of you remember some “guy” named Jenner winning the Olympic Decathlon?
OK, you know where I am going with this now and let me state up front, please make it stop. I can’t see any more photos or stories of Bruce Jenner dressed up like a woman. (Insert one of those chuckles). I watched the 1976 Decathlon and I saw the winner and it was a “guy” named Bruce. Bruce, a perfectly fine male name, and an exceptional effort needed to win a grueling Olympic event.
Now I read today that the United States Olympic Committee is willing to revise the records to show someone named “Caitlyn” Jenner as the winner of the 1976 Olympic Decathlon. What? What” What? I watched that event, it was not this Caitlyn who won. I swear that javelin was thrown by someone named Bruce, but maybe my young eyes deceived me. I’m very Olympic confused right now. I know that was a man flying through the air on the pole vault, or clearing the bar on that high jump, and crossing the finish line after that 1500 meter run.
“We admire Caitlyn Jenner’s courage and wish her all the best,” USOC spokesperson Patrick Sandusky said in a statement recently, referring to Jenner’s decision to come out as transgender. “We would happily consider any athlete’s request to have his or her personal information updated in our records.”
Courage, really? I guess everyone has their opinion but my definition of courage wouldn’t include getting a sex change in order to get a reality show in order to selfishly make millions of dollars. My definition of courage wore a #22 Mount St. Joseph basketball jersey and whose legacy will change the lives of millions. My definition of courage would include a 25-year old double lung transplant recipient who sat in this office last week. My definition of courage is a baby boy named Trevor who fought so long and hard for his young life, only to lose that battle. My definition of courage is the many people in this county who are battling the deadly disease of cancer every day of their lives. My definition of courage is the men who stormed the beach at Normandy 71 years ago to preserve the freedoms of the world. Courage to me is not getting all prettied up and being on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. I guess the good folks at ESPN don’t feel that way and I always used to enjoy the ESPYs.
Yes, I know that there are actually people who might be offended by that last paragraph, but so be it. Maybe I am just jealous that I don’t have a reality show and an unlimited budget at my disposal, courtesy of the Kardashian family. I don’t have that money at my disposal, not as a small town sports reporter. But don’t expect to see me doing the sex change thing anytime soon. One, I don’t have the legs to pull off the dress look and two, I don’t like shaving that much.
Perhaps we could boost sales if I tried the female look and posed for one of our publications. Somehow I have the feeling that scary photo would end up thrown in the bottom of a box along with the one of Terry Rigdon in a cheerleader’s outfit. For now, Bruce can just go on and be Caitlyn but I believe I will remain who I am, whether that be for better or worse.