So What Exactly Is a “Golf Lesbian?”

My wife and I were showing a single lesbian friend of ours around the neighborhood. She just moved here. We pointed to one local drinking establishment that we heard had become a hangout for a lot of gay women. We poked our heads in and our friend sniffed dismissively, “golf lesbians.” My wife and I consider ourselves pretty hip but hadn’t heard that one before. We took it from her tone and some post-hoc deductive reasoning that our friend meant that the women she saw in that bar were acting, dressing and living in a more mainstream way. They were not part of a movement and, therefore, not part of “the community.”

I bet many gay male athletes feel that way — not part of the community. Their homosexuality is most certainly unacceptable in the professional sports community and their social masculinity — their dress, their humor, their nightlife interests — often fall outside established gay social institutions. Who are their role models? What TV sitcom can they point their pals in the locker to and say “See, that’s the kind of gay man I am.”

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Somebody Come and Play

When Dutch scholar Johan Huizinga wrote Homo Ludens: The Play Element in Culture (1938) he made the strong and enduring argument that in the “primeval soil of play” we find the origin of “the great instinctive forces of civilized life,” of myth and ritual, law and order, poetry and science. “Play,” he said, “cannot be denied. You can deny, if you like, nearly all abstractions: justice, beauty, truth, goodness, mind, God. You can deny seriousness, but not play.”

Well my friends, we’ve got plenty of denial going on. And we are hurting from it.

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Vintage New York Jets

Sonny Werblin understood the value of star quality in sports long before the rest of his pro football brethren. In 1965, when Werblin, President and part-owner of the formerly New York Titans re-named New York Jets spent a then record-breaking $427,000 to induce Joe Namath to pass up the established National Football League in favor of the much-maligned American Football League, football fans let alone Jets fans thought he was crazy. Werblin’s reply: “A million-dollar set is worthless if you put a $2,000 actor in the main role.” That’s how you build a professional sports franchise. When Werblin actually signed Namath he said, “I don’t know whether you’ll play on our team or make a picture for Universal.” Namath went on to do both. And together, they transformed professional sports, professional football and gave the world a fairy tale called Super Bowl III. The aforementioned still remains the soul of the New York Jets.

Yup, that’s how you build a professional sports franchise. Or that’s how you used to build one.

Things are a little trickier today. You have to integrate your marketing, integrate your media, segment your fan affinity, amp up your fan avidity and be everything for everybody on every channel in every income bracket. As 21st century business of sports whirls dervishly into dizzying levels of media and marketing that would’ve been the Viagra of Sonny Werblin’s daydreams, it is the 2010 New York Jets who seem steps ahead of their fellow ringmasters.

How do you build pro sports brand today?

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Spitting in Public Is Really Not Okay

What makes people think spitting in public is okay? From Chinatown to Midtown, from Bushwick to Bayside, Gothamites openly expel their esophageal waters with impunity. It’s gross. And, unlike other now hopelessly ingrained NYC rudeness’s — not letting people off the subway before getting on or halting the flow pedestrian traffic to selfishly inventory an iPhone — spitting in public is illegal. Yet why is it the one quality of life offense that is never enforced? Why unlike other public disposals of bodily fluids — defecation, urination — has expectoration been granted social acceptance?

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Dara Torres on the Case of Shirley Babashoff: “It Sucks”

To me, Dara Torres represents everything that sports should be. She’s competitive, dignified, tough, smart, independent, clean, and innovative. She’s puts herself out as a role model but not as a corporate prop, or a brand, or a reality show, or some artificial construct existing just to make more money. She does have a new book out on fitness… but really I just used that an excuse for me to talk to her again. Because I think she should be heard more and often. Here, as usual, she does not disappoint.

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