Rolling with a Teammate’s Coming Out Revelation

“Hear about Guido? Everybody’s talking ‘bout him. Just like the guy from the Raiders, the linebacker, the first N.F.L. player to come out openly.”


“First one in our league. From all 32 teams. Ever”

“First one what?”

“He came out. Said he had to be true to himself.”

“True to himself?” While readying to practice with his teammate, Al, grizzled veteran epitomized, spits at the sideboard as if to punctuate his sentence.

“Sure,” Gabe spits too, a bank shot. “Gotta keep up with the times. These young-un’s like Guido reveal their whole lives. To strangers. On the internet.”

“Thought for men the internet was mostly porn, politics, and betting.”

“Guido’s different. Not like that.”  

“Came out of what? A slump? I have noticed he’s not throwing as good lately. No focus. All over the place.”

“Understandable. Out. You know. Out of the closet, where he’s been hiding this . . . this thing.”

“Closet? In his house?”  

“Not literally. You know,” Gabe offers, even while realizing Al doesn’t, “when we yell ‘in team’ when he gets close, maybe for him it should be ‘out team.’”

“Huh? He’s still who I’d want if I really needed a kiss from a Jack.”


“Hitting. Lagging. Mr. Live Ball. Mr. Initial Point. Gotta love Guido.”

“I do. Just want you to keep loving him, now that he’s come out.”

“I love winning. He helps us win. End of story. Since he took Rocco’s place, I’ve gotten revenge against some of the biggest Goombahs in the league.”

“It might be tough supporting him with this . . . this revelation. This confession. Tough on us too. Big mouths might question how WE play the game.” Gabe worries that Al – old school; Mr. Jock; traditionalist; blunt speaker; sturdy Catholic; proud Italian – won’t tolerate the revelation he thinks he’s making clearer, once it sinks in.

Al blurts, “Not anyone I’d trust with my balls. It’s a hard load, and Guido’s been front and center.”

Gabe almost laughs, but collects himself. “Did you have a clue he was on the other team?”

“Other team? We’ve been his only team in this league.”

“No, no, no. You still don’t know what I’m talking about, do you? It’s trending on local social media. Here. Look.” Not comfortable with anything but his flip phone, Al doesn’t even steal a glance at Gabe’s iPhone. “He took one of those tests online to see who he really is.”

“Coulda just asked me. After all, I fixed him up with my daughter.”

“And we know how that went.”

“Claudia never told me why. Figured it was her. She’s a lot like her mom.”

“Of course, she didn’t tell you. Claudia IS like her mom. She was probably afraid you’d spock Guido if she told you the truth, his truth. I assume you taught her the Bocce term for hitting a ball out of the air.”

“He told her? This secret you’re futzing ‘round about?”

“Bet he did.”

“What test? What truth?”

“23andMe. Guido’s . . ., he’s . . . half Irish. And, he’s telling the world. Like he’s proud.”

“No shit? My God! Irish? Team Bada Bing’s All-Italian Bocce league phenom is half Irish?” Al ponders for a minute as Gabe slouches away. “We’ll be a laughing stock. Team Gentlemen from Verona will be throwing Lucky Charms at us. Folding their arms like Irish dancers as they stiffly jig to the other backboard. Can you imagine keeping your hands still like that? And, talking with funny accents like the Irish do. Putting on sunscreen every two minutes. If Marco or Luigi from Team Galileo’s Grandchildren dye their hair red when they play us, I’ll . . . .”

“He didn’t know. But it isn’t like he had a choice.”



“No. Old-timers with no heart and big mouths. The ones who might give him crap to bring us down. Guido: Amico mio! One of us. Anybody messes with my boy, even if he’s half-breed Irish, might get a Bocce attached to his other balls.”

“I should have never doubted you. You really do have a pair.”

“Let’s roll. Bada!”


Author: Ken Hogarty

Ken Hogarty was an English teacher and high school principal in another life. Since, he has had short stories, a memoir, news-features and over twenty satires and comedy pieces published. He lives with his wife Sally near Oakland. [415.760-8045] PO Box 84, Canyon, CA. 94516

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