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'Tis the season of holly jollies, roasting organic chestnuts by crackling fires (on non-Spare the Air days), and driving our hybrid carriage over the river and through the snow to grandmother's assisted living residence. In the spirit of the holidays and by the authority invested in me by the Grinch himself, here are my holiday presents for sports figures far and wide.
- For Air New Zealand, a video of Queer Duck's Homo for the Holidays episode, to take the place of the in-flight safety video it removed from flights reportedly because members of the gay community objected to a scene in which All Blacks center Richard Kahui declines an offer to kiss a male flight attendant. The name of the flight attendant, for the record, is Will Coxhead. We're not making this stuff up, folks.
- For the staff at the Pentagon, front row seats to all of the meets next season of the West Point triathlon team. The Pentagon has the task of deciding how best to implement the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" without risking the end of western civilization as we know it. If officials have any doubts members of the armed forces would have trouble taking commands from openly gay superiors, they should see the West Point triathletes in action. They've been coached for years by openly gay Lou Tharpe.
- For the Federation Internationale de Football Association, a continental-size pair of brass balls for awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, with FIFA President Sepp Blather, proclaiming the organization's desire to make soccer accessible to everyone everywhere, suggesting that gays who wish to attend the games will be welcome but would be advised to abstain from sex, which is illegal in the desert emirate.
Such Blather blather has many wondering if the great soccer pooh-bah didn't push voters toward Qatar in a bid for the Nobel Peace Prize, but the desert country has pledged to build world-class infrastructure including new stadiums to host the event. Suggested name for the stadium to hold the championship match: the Sepp-tic Tank.
FIFA, by the way, does not include sexual orientation in its non-discrimination policy. This is believed to be a major reason why so many professional male soccer players don't bring their boyfriends to matches.
- For the administrators of Belmont University in Tennessee, an invitation to the baby shower for former women's soccer coach Lisa Howe and her partner, Wendy Holleman. The administration of the formerly Baptist-affiliated school apparently took a collective swoon when Howe told her team that she is a lesbian and her partner is having a baby. Howe is gone as coach, the school swears it doesn't discriminate against gays (although, like FIFA, it does not include sexual orientation in its non-discrimination policy) and now the city of Nashville is reconsidering its support of Belmont activities. Must be a very confusing time for them, so I figure they could use a good dose of family values to restore their spirits. And what better place for family values than a baby shower.
- For the newly elected members of the group that is supposed to formulate a plan for one quadrennial global event in 2018 for the LGBT sports community, DVDs of David Secter's Take the Flame . You want one unified event? You had one before the advent of the World Outgames, which through its first two iterations has proved to be an expensive, unsustainable drain on the LGBT sports community. Drop the WOGs, keep the Gay Games intact, and work to promote sports and culture through the continental Outgames.
- For the LPGA, a current calendar. It will probably make sense to officials, now that they have emerged from the time-warp that had them using an archaic rule requiring members to be "female at birth" until voting to drop the rule this month. This paves the way for transgender golfers such as Lana Lawless to compete. Who knows, maybe eventually the LPGA will even acknowledge the fact that it has a huge lesbian fan base, tell the camera operators to stop avoiding crowd shots, and actively market to the folks who love them.
- For the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association, a heaping pile of reality check. The association's decision to defend in federal court its outdated and discriminatory rule limiting the number of non-gay players who can compete in the Gay Softball World Series is wasteful, myopic, and downright bad sportsmanship. Sports are supposed to bring us together and tear down barriers, not lock us in and keep the world out.
- For the organizers of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, about a million vuvuzela mutes. My ears are still ringing from this year's cacophony of horns.
- For Donna Rose, a USA singlet and renewal of her AARP membership. Rose, competing under her legal name of Donna Rosen, made history this year when she won a match in the U.S Open Women's Freestyle Wrestling Championships at the age of 51. She was the oldest athlete in the event by decades and the first transgender wrestler to compete in a major national championship. Outstanding performance by any measure.
- To San Francisco ... hey, what more could you want? Super Bowls and Stanley Cups are nice, but we'll never have a better memory than we had this year with the Giants taking the World Series in historically dominating fashion. Next time you're feeling down and thinking things are getting impossible to handle, chill out, pop in a DVD of Game 5, and realize anything is possible. You have nothing to fear – except, of course, The Beard.