Field Theory by Hadyn Green

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Field Theory: One in a billion

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  • giovanni tiso,

    I don't think that's true at all. Ali Williams for one didn't pick up an oval ball until he was about 17 from memory.

    How many others would that apply to? The guys I met who play NPC had all been playing since the crib.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    A list of 'confirmed bachelors' with 'longtime companions'? :)

    Ah, yes... if you're using the same style book where "never married" is a euphemism for "the Jacques Cousteau of muff divers". :(

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Naly D,

    On the other hand, it seems that a significant number of players would regard an openly gay opponent as fair game for the extra hard hit, the slightly more aggressive fend, the extra shove in the back.

    Yes, but, how would the other team know? It's not like the guy is going to go up to them before the game and say 'oh by the way, I'm gay' - and nor should he [or anybody] have to. And if he's on a 'proper' team [proper by my definition meaning one where you play as a team, not individuals] they'll look out for him. Rugby players are very good at noticing what's going on to their mates, even at the bottom of the ruck, as I, the smallest player on my team, learnt when watching our Number 8 blow off a guy who was trying to ruck me [when the ball was already out] and tell him 'if you don't leave the little fella alone I'll take your head off'.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Yes, but, how would the other team know?

    Small towns - and big ones - have small rugby communities. it would take all of two weekends for everyone to know XYZ had come out as gay.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    surely one can put a lower bound on the number of gay All Blacks by simply counting the ones with handbags?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Hannah,

    And if XYZ hadn't come out as gay? Maybe because they don't want the bullshit and the comments and the heavier hits? What if XYZ goes out with a girl he met at a party, gets married? You know, like Gareth Thomas.

    How long does it take everyone to know then?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Naly D,

    surely one can put a lower bound on the number of gay All Blacks by simply counting the ones with handbags?

    What are you implying about Tana?

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Stevens,

    1) I loved it that he came out. Great for young queers to see more variety

    2) As Sociologist , who does a little work in the area of sexuality, I'd say that trying to figure out on a statistical basis how many gays there are is impossible. A lot of guys who like a bit of man-on-man action every now and then don't consider themselves gay. I've had sex with married straight men who definitely don't think they're gay (neither do I) but every now and then... they like a change or something.

    3)Gay is a self-identifying term, and not a category that can be easily measured. Are we talking about identity? Or are we talking about a sexual contact to the point of orgasm with someone of the same biological gender while an adult?

    4) I am pretty sure I recall Fr Felix Donnelly saying years ago he'd counselled an AB over being gay.

    5) I'd do Gareth in a heartbeat.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 230 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    While debating whether to enter this discussion I found this from the Vatican; "The Church distinguishes between just and unjust discrimination." and...

    "There are areas in which it is not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account, for example, in the placement of children for adoption or foster care, in employment of teachers or athletic coaches, and in military recruitment"

    ... and this from the UN president in discussion over the UN resolution on decriminalization of homosexuality;

    “[T]hat matter is very sensitive, very touchy,” Treki said. “As a Muslim, I am not in favor of it … it is not accepted by the majority of countries. My opinion is not in favor of this matter at all. I think it's not really acceptable by our religion, our tradition”

    “It is not acceptable in the majority of the world. And there are some countries that allow that, thinking it is a kind of democracy … I think it is not,” he added.

    ...and also the proposed law in Uganda, and now Rwanda*, that would see outed gays imprisoned, or if convicted of an 'aggravated act', executed.

    I can't help thinking that examples of discrimination in sport, or any area of society for that matter, would be lessoned considerably if those in positions of authority and responsibility could be held to account.

    *Rwanda does not have the same death penalty law as Uganda.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    Is there really any doubt about the gayness of rugby? Have you not read the classic short story by A.P. Gaskell The Big Game about a game in Carisbrook in... the 1930s I think.

    I'm afraid I can't link to it - I have it in an anthology of NZ short stories, but it is a steamy, homoerotic... um... description of a team. Set among rippling chests, powerful thighs and firm buns, young men cavort in the locker room:

    Inside the dressing-room there was a strong human smell of sweaty togs, muddy boots and warm bodies as the men came prancing back naked from the showers and stood on the seats drying themselves. The room was so crowded. Togs and boots lay over the floor, clothes hung emptily from the pegs and men were everywhere, shoving, jostling, reaching out their arms to dry themselves. Everyone was happy now...

    and

    "Like Hell!" shouted Buck, dancing about on the seat and sawing his towel across his back. "The backs? The pansies! I sweat my guts out getting the ball for you and then you canter along very prettily about ten yards and then drop it in." He struck a chesty attitude, standing naked on the seat. "Do I look like a pansy?" he demanded.

    "Not with that thing!"

    Someone shied a ball and Buck and left a muddy mark on his backside...

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    And if XYZ hadn't come out as gay? Maybe because they don't want the bullshit and the comments and the heavier hits? What if XYZ goes out with a girl he met at a party, gets married? You know, like Gareth Thomas.

    How long does it take everyone to know then?

    Ummmmm.... Polar bears?

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Hannah,

    Humour me Tom.

    Why is the question of closeted gays, or people living a lie in regards to their sexuality worthy of such derision in light of Gareth Thomas? He was closeted for a decade or two, he was living a lie, he did play rugby.

    Why polar bears?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Tim:

    "Polar bears" is a bit of an online joke, the answer you post to a rant to indicate no one has a clue about what you are on about or what point you are trying to make.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • uroskin,

    The one thing that struck me about Gareth Thomas's story were his visits to London gay clubs when on tour. The fact that no-one on the scene sold their kiss-and-tell story to the tabloid newspapers is a credit to the gay community. I'm not sure whether that is because there is no interest in outing gay rugby players (unlike when they actually come out themselves), or that no gay man who picked him up actually recognised him or knew who he was. I suspect it would be a very different story had he been a premier league football player, judging by the even bigger closet and homophobia in soccer (despite its nancy-kissy-touchy-feely antics on the field).

    Waiheke Island • Since Feb 2007 • 178 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Hannah,

    Yes, Tom, I understand you're being rude. Thanks for explaining.

    You're missing the elephant. The post asks how common gays are in rugby. Now there are two potentially two types of gays in rugby (oversimplifying horribly), those we know about and those we don't.

    You and Hayden both seem to say, the gays we know about in rugby would have a horrible time, therefore there are and have been very few or no gays of either kind in rugby.

    There's a big fat deep logical hole right there delicately paved over with wild speculation. But if you don't want to see it...

    I'm bored too, so last post.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    rugby culture isn't generally gay friendly and so I agree with Haydn - rugby players are a self selecting and pretty much heterosexual group.

    You mean "rugby players are a self-selecting and pretty much closeted group." To conflate gay with effeminate is wildly misguided. Effeminate does not necessarily even accompany out-ness .

    A gay man is a man who has sex with other men. Men who have sex with men often refuse to classify themselves as gay or bisexual, particularly those who are very fixated on "masculine" imagery. There is a large group of men who think of themselves as heterosexual, even when it is evident they are not. So in sports teams, military organisations and blue-collar circles you find deeply closeted men who, despite all protestations to the contrary, have sex with other men. The incidence of out-ness in an organisation is directly correlated with the level of acceptance of being out, nothing else.

    There is a big difference between a homo and a faux-mo. The flip side of the deeply closeted butch fellow on the rugby field is the faux-mo - an effeminate man who does not have sex with men. Any fashion show or shoot is likely to have more than one faux-mo running around helping pretty girls do things like get their nipples straight in clothing. Sexually insecure men call them fairies, poofs. Observant people call them sneaky.

    In pro sports - sports at any level - you will find men who have sex with men. There are walks of life where men are more likely to be out than other walks of life, but as the old psychological cliche goes, homophobia is usually a sign of self-loathing and fear. Many of the gay men I knew who had come out in middle age, after marriage, after children - some of those men had been very butch, insecure, gay-bashing homophobes.

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    There is a large group of men who think of themselves as heterosexual, even when it is evident they are not.

    The Onion has more.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    A gay man is a man who has sex with other men.

    I'd go further, and say it's a man who wants to have sex with other men - you can be celibate for a decade and still be 100% gay. And by that measure, I guarantee there have been a bunch of gay top-level sportsmen in New Zealand.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I'd go further, and say it's a man who wants to have sex with other men - you can be celibate for a decade and still be 100% gay.

    Isn't it interesting how often we define sexuality by (pardon my French) fucking, and treat not being particularly interested in getting your end away as some kind of pathology? A rather limited vision, it seems to me.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    A gay man is a man who has sex with other men.

    No. Here's my personal bottom line: nobody gets to define anybody else's sexuality for them. Nobody. A "closeted" gay man is someone like Gareth Thomas who knows he's gay, who internally identifies as gay, but doesn't admit it to other people - whether or not he's had sex with another man. Somebody who's had sex with men but considers himself heterosexual? You don't get to tell that person he's gay. There can be all kinds of reasons for that and denial is just one of them.

    Over-sensitive? Sure. But I also do know what it's like to have someone very helpfully tell you what your sexuality actually is, if you could just get it 'straight' in your head.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Isn't it interesting how often we define sexuality by (pardon my French) fucking, and treat not being particularly interested in getting your end away as some kind of pathology? A rather limited vision, it seems to me.

    Extremely limited. There's a great deal more to sexuality than sex.

    Over-sensitive? Sure. But I also do know what it's like to have someone very helpfully tell you what your sexuality actually is, if you could just get it 'straight' in your head.

    I generally agree with you. However, if someone's going out of their way to have/seek out homosexual sex, despite what can be enormous societal pressure not to...at some point, their actions are belying their words to the extent that you're pretty much ignoring the usual definitions of "gay" and "straight" to accept their word.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    I'm with Emma 100% on this one... one's sexuality (or the label that gets applied to one's sexuality) is an internally-defined one. Other people may have a conception or a belief of "what you are" but we all have the right to make our own definitions on something so personal.

    Whether thay are true or not is another matter.

    Te Ika A Maui - Whakatane… • Since Oct 2008 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    Regarding Bart's comment of (negatively) correlating gayness to an ability to play rugby by doing some kind of gene research, sorry, have they found those "gay genes", then? Let alone rugby-player genes, but I suppose being a big strong PI almost counts. Surprising as it may be, there are actually gay PIs, and I don't think their genes are much different to their rugby-playing brothers' (assuming they're not one-and-the-same).

    Personally, I think Richard's estimates sound the most right, leaving aside ridiculous quibbles about the number of years the ABs have actually played rugby. I'm not quite sure where people are getting off pretending that rugby players are being selected from something other than the general (athletic, interested in rugby, dedicated) population (because all those qualities are orthogonal to gayness, if you didn't realise).

    As for men-who-have-sex-with-men who don't ID as gay (or even bi), sure, we don't have the right to define someone's sexuality. But there are those men who will go to the local beat every week, and saying they're "straight" seems rather disingenuous. However, while I'm sure there are also rugby players who fall into this category, that's probably going to be in line with the general population as well. There are still going to be rugby players who know they're gay, but choose not to out themselves. I frankly don't see why not, these days. If someone outed themselves, and was then fired, the shit would hit the wall in a publicity sense.

    Oh yeah, seeing who were those perennial bachelors wouldn't necessarily do the trick - even Elton John got married once. To a woman.

    Finally, there is some validity to the thought that it's easier to be a out gay official or coach these days. Although I have to admit rolling my eyes a lot with the hockey community in the US patting themselves on the back over the assistant coach who recently came out. Particularly since he discussed the fact that he was so worried about letting his father down over his gayness, he stopped his own professional hockey career and went into the coaching/management side instead.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    @Tim - ah, now I understand. BTW "Polar bears" isn't meant to be particularly rude.

    the gays we know about in rugby would have a horrible time, therefore there are and have been very few or no gays of either kind in rugby.

    Well, I can't speak for Haydn, but for me you are only seeing half my argument. To me, the ability of the identity politics liberals of public address to completely miss the most common sense observations of human society as they obsess over how many angels on the head of a pin may be gay is a complete waste of time, I mean why would you bother?

    Good on Gareth Thomas for achieving what he has, and good on his team mates for supporting him. But generally, rugby is a self-conciously macho sport full of people with un-reformed views. Gay's generally avoid the sport for reasons of mutual dislike. Yes, Virginia, some parts of our society are like that. You and I might not like that, but it's a free country, so we have to learn to deal with that.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    Gay's generally avoid the sport for reasons of mutual dislike.

    Gay men avoid sex with women. They most emphatically do not avoid not male athletes.

    You really must read this article Giovanni so kindly linked to:

    The Onion

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

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