Jason Collins via si.com
Jason Collins’ cover story in the May 6 edition of Sports Illustrated not only announced him as the first openly gay male athlete in major American sport. It also offered a profile in courage and a master class in how to conduct one’s self with grace and dignity.
Collins’ NBA peers responded to news of the journeyman center’s decision to reveal his sexual orientation with praise and support. They should be applauded for this, especially considering only nine states in America have legalized same-sex marriage.
Not everyone welcomed the news though.
During an appearance on ESPN’s “Outside The Lines”, the network’s senior NBA reporter Chris Broussard likened being openly homosexual to “walking in open rebellion to God” – a belief many fundamental Christians share.
Today my journalist friend Brett Schweinberg shares his experience volunteering in Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath on Staten Island. It’s been a month since Sandy hit. Many people in the area Brett visited remain in need. Learn how you can help here.
I journeyed to Staten Island in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy feeling uneasy about my reasons for the trip. The plan called for two neighbors and I to drive from Chicago on Friday night after work, volunteer on Saturday and Sunday, and drive through the night Sunday to get home in time for work on Monday.
On the 13-hour car ride in, my travel companions and I wondered aloud whether the money we were spending on gas and lodging would be better spent through any of the dozens of organizations collecting for the relief effort. I feared a shameful sort of voyeurism drove my desire to volunteer as much as a true desire to help.
Between the thrill of participating in a relief mission, the fun associated with driving halfway across the country and the incessant praise I received from friends and family, I worried I might be gaining too much from what was supposedly a selfless act.
What I found once I arrived in Staten Island erased my doubts.
NOTE: The Cajun Tomato is invading the Midwest today, in the form of an Alabama Shakes concert review from correspondent Brett Schweinberg.
Twice during the Alabama Shakes’ show earlier this month at Chicago’s Subterranean I covered my ears. It had nothing to do with Brittany Howard’s wailing vocals or the sound emitting from the quartet’s instruments. Both times I shielded my ears the crowd of around 375 overwhelmed the P.A. system with their cheers.
The Athens, Alabama, southern rock revivalists were scheduled to play Lollapalooza before a thunderstorm wiped out their set. They will return to the Windy City to play the 2,500-seat Riviera in December.
The band’s Sept. 11 set at Subterranean required patience – people lined up as early as noon – and a willingness to skirt work responsibilities. But it was worth it.