Temple and the money changers

75

The almighty dollar has spoken again and because basketball and football make money for Temple University, they get to stay. Gymnastics, crew, baseball? Sorry, you don’t, you’re out. It’s really that simple. It’s really that sad, also.

Patrick McLaughlin, assistant men’s gymnastics coach, has been sharing letters and social-media updates that advocates of the axed Temple programs are using to bring awareness to the issue. Besides Facebook updates, the Temple University Gymnastics website (www.templegymnastics.com) has options to sign a petition, follow the group on Twitter and information on other ways to support the organization.

I first got enthused about TUG when I met a member of the team in the fall of 2010. The following January, Jen Colletta and I went up to Temple to interview and photograph three out gymnasts: Evan Burke, John Gaffney and Dash Sears. The story was quite a hit and led to several other organizations writing about one, two or all three. Now, all have graduated and gone on to other things, but the news of the cut still stung.

“Continuing down this road will be the death of sports like men’s gymnastics, rowing, wrestling, sports that people only care about when the Olympics come every four years. But what people don’t realize is that those sports don’t just stop after the Olympics,” Sears said. “No collegiate men’s gymnastics, so goes America’s relevance in an international sport, and an Olympic sport, which is just unfathomable to me.”

When I asked McLaughlin about any current out members of the gymnastics program, he offered praise for the community.

“We currently don’t have any gay members. It’s a bit more boring without Dash, Evan and John these days,” McLaughlin said, adding: “The warm and caring relationship you and the LGBT community have shown us in the past few years has been absolutely spectacular and it has made our team feel very special.”

These are the kinds of sports hurdles going on every day across the country. LGBT athletes are hurt just as much as any other athlete when these cuts occur, because we are truly all part of the same team. I encourage all readers, posters, tweeters and signers to go to TUG’s website and show our friends at Temple that we still stand beside them.

Unfathomable, Dash? It is unfathomable to me also.

Healthy giving

Gifts for the athlete and sports enthusiast vary by degree of whether someone is a quarterback or an armchair quarterback. In other words, is this an athlete you’re buying for or an athletic supporter? Think about what 2014 may bring in your sports enthusiast’s world and shop accordingly. Often, things that are not on top of the list are really appreciated more because you thought it through.

A gym membership, new or extension, is an old standby. Running shoes, cleats, bowling bag, tennis balls and such are satisfying, but what about some of the periphery items that we don’t always think about?

Juicers are popular right now, and they’re great for knocking off some of those holiday pounds. My personal disagreement with them is I hate cleaning up and juicers can be high-maintenance. My blender works for most things and it’s easier on the cleanup.

Memberships to gyms aren’t the only costs in participatory sports. Buy your person a league or team membership. Most have them to cover rental costs and such. Sign them up for the Gay Games in Cleveland. I’m sure quite a few people would appreciate saving that $100-plus.

When in doubt, hit the sports store and get a gift certificate. Show the athlete in your life that you care about his/her happiness and health!

Short stops • GPFFL held elections to fill board and officer positions on Dec. 9. Congrats to newly elected commissioner Herbie Sayles, assistant commissioner Brian Sell and treasurer Garrett Lierman , who join current secretary Chris Solano and Carmen A. Gervasio, board member at large. • The final roller-skating party of 2013 is Dec. 16 at the Cherry Hill Skating Center, 664 Deer Road, Cherry Hill, N.J. The bimonthly fundraiser rolls from 8:30-10:30 p.m.; philagayskating.com. • Archive items from the Philadelphia Frontrunners are on display at the William Way LGBT Community Center through the end of the year.

Countdown to Gay Games 9: 238 days. Are you having a sports fundraiser, holiday party, bar crawl or just hanging out under the mistletoe? Tell me about it at [email protected].