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Rock Dogs: New Meets Old

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With one week left until the Chicago basketball championships, tensions were high in the Rockdogs training house on Logo's reality show Shirts and Skins.

Shirts & Skins

The team was given an assignment. Each player was instructed to write down on a chalkboard what he thought his role on the team was. Jamel, ever the trouble maker, said that roles were determined by the coach and wrote a question mark next to his name.

Some of his teammates (especially Simon) were incredulous that a starter didn't know what kind of role he had on the team.

Luckily, John Amaechi, as he did in episode 2, diffused a volatile moment. John walked into the house in the middle of Gus and Jamel's screaming match. John asked if what they were doing was a step towards what they hoped to achieve at the basketball tournament.

That's all it took for the guys to realize that fighting will not help them win. If the Rock Dogs win the tournament (to be shown next week) they should, at the very least, send John a gift basket or something.

After John calmed down the guys and Gus and Simon made up, the team scrimmaged against past members of the team. The alums, lovingly known as the Old Dogs, didn't stand a chance against the younger dogs but everyone had a great time. It was great to see the current Rockdogs side-by-side with a few original members, some of whom have been around since the team's inception in 1987.

Watching the current Rockdogs and the Old Dogs interact, it's easy to see they are a family. Jay's dinnertime speech highlighted this. The former (and older) players were father figures to him and clearly had an affect on his life. It's a great illustration of why sports and athletics are so important for the LGBT community - A sports team often becomes the family for a player, and some of the bonds are stronger than those of blood relatives.

So much has changed for the LGBT community in the past two decades (when the Rockdogs were founded), but I can't help thinking how much further we have to go. Besides Amaechi, there has never been an openly gay male professional basketball player. And there has never been an active male player who was publicly out.

But who knows? We've seen plenty of talented guys on the team and even a few like Mike hoping to break into the professional world. Maybe sometime soon, we'll flip on TNT on Thursday night to see a former Rockdog shooting a 3-pointer.

Tune in next week for the season finale as the Rockdogs finally make it to Chicago.

 


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