Heard the one about the openly gay footy player? No, me neither.
Last weekend the two real Australian football seasons started: the AFL and the Eastern Suburbs Women’s Soccer Federation. The Eastern Suburbs Women’s Soccer Federation was thrilled, by the way, to host my soccer team’s opening round victory.
And the AFL started yet another year with no sign of an openly (or even closedly) gay sportsman.
This is despite the fact there’s plenty of camp in Australian Rules. The AFL Footy Show recognises the value of it (unlike the NRL Footy Show, which thinks the definition of camp humour is a boofy dickhead in a dress).
After all, this is a game that featured Kath and Kim and a bunch of twink podium dancers as part of its pre-grand final entertainment a couple of years ago.
And who could forget that Hawthorn legend Shane Crawford released an autobiography saying that although he had a few gay traits he wasn’t actually gay.
Rather, the code itself had become so full of metrosexuals, habits formerly known as gay -“ hair care, cleanliness and nice clothes -“ were actually part of the new AFL training regime.
But the hunt has been on for an actual ball-grabbing ball-grabber ever since that other kind of footy player Ian Roberts came out in 1995. He said at the time he expected other first grade players would follow, but none ever did.
Aside from Crawford’s repeated denials, there have been plenty of rumours about players with closets as well as lockers. Those in the know, if you know what I mean, swear that there is at least one guy who plays the man and the ball on the top lists of a Melbourne club.
So where is he, and -“ more to the point -“ when’s he going to stop being such a baby about it?
If Ian Roberts can be a bloody gay NRL player in North Queensland of all places, then what’s some random nice-haired player in Melbourne’s sophisticated suburbs got to worry about?
Sure, it might lead to some sledging. Instead of I did your girlfriend last night, mate, the opposition might try and push said gay’s buttons by saying things like I did your boyfriend last night, mate.
But as long as he remembers the first rule of AFL -“ it’s all about men with nice arms -“ I’m sure he’ll be okay.