Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I Hate that Jesus Hates the Yankees

     I root for the underdog. Perhaps it’s a gay-boy side effect of always feeling like an outsider in the world. Perhaps, it’s being from Iowa and witnessing the carnage of the Hawkeyes and Cyclones in bowl games every year and tasting the acceptance of mediocrity emanating each October from dejected, elderly Cubs’ fans.


When I was a priest working in nursing homes in the fall of 2003, there were so many old folks holding on just to see the 1908 World Champion Cubs get to that World Series again. “Just once before I die, Father, I want to see the Cubs win one. That’s my last will and testament. Just one World Series.” But the Florida Marlins had to go and beat them in the 2003 NLCS. The following week throughout Iowa and Illinois, there was a spike in funerals.


     “Just once before I die.” That’s something a Yankees’ fan could never wrap his/her head around. As a fan of the underdog, I hated the Yankees, in spite of them having players as hot as A-Rod. They got to World Series almost every year. Boring.

     Eight years ago, I even risked my life by rooting against the Yankees during a World Series game while in a bar in New York City with my manly seminary friends before we went to see a revival of The Music Man starring Robert Sean Leonard as Harold Hill marching around flamboyantly to “Seventy-Six Trombones.” Back during undergraduate, when I was still in the closet, secretly blowing my roommate, and using a theatre major for my cover, a friend of mine saw Robert Sean Leonard at a preview of Sondheim’s Passion. On the arm of an apparent boyfriend, Robert Sean was wearing a t-shirt that said “Fellatio is not just a name in Shakespeare.” I wanted that t-shirt. I wanted Robert Sean’s lips wrapped around my trombone!


      There was another t-shirt that I wanted at the time: “Jesus Hates the Yankees.” I thought that the shirt was hilarious. But now, as the wisdom of age has led me to the light, I find myself hating that very t-shirt.

     SHE is from Alabama and grew up during segregation, integration, and the endless racially motivated killings of the mid-twentieth century. Also a gay-boy who rooted for the underdog, SHE was kind to the people of color in his town, which ended up getting him labeled as a “nigger lover,” not something his racist daddy liked at all. As I’ve come to know SHE and his experience of growing up in the South, I’ve come to appreciate why so many people love the Yankees.

     Every time the Yankees win the World Series (and the Braves lose), there are thousands of Stars and Bars flying, racist segregationists who take it as a personal offense. They believe that Jesus is on their side and that the “War of Northern Aggression” is now being fought in baseball, basketball, and football stadiums across their god’s great nation. They believe that Jesus hates the Yankees, because they hate Yankees.  If it were put to a vote today, they would vote to take away the rights of Yankees and people of color throughout the Confederacy, and when it has been put to a vote recently, they have voted against the rights of LGBT persons in their states, all in the name of their Jesus and their scriptures that they’ve used to justify slavery and now use to justify oppression against Shakespeare-inclined fellatio lovers.

     I no longer want a t-shirt that says “Jesus Hates the Yankees.” I don’t hate the shirt. I hate the subtext of the shirt. I hate that we live in a country where people’s ignorance still has power to limit the rights of American citizens in their pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. And, if the Yankees winning the World Series yet again pisses off a few hundred thousand crackers, this gay-boy all for that.

Image credits: 
"Chicago Cubs 1908 World Champions" T-Shirt by Zazzle 
"Jesus Hates the Yankees" T-Shirt by BustedTees

1 comments:

Danielle Lenglet said...

Well put! i've always loved being a Yankee fan (even though my fanatic father never really gave me a choice) because I not only got to know Jeter, A-Rod, Bernie, Posada and friends' stats, I also got to know how awesome their asses look in pin-striped pants. Great post.

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