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(Picked Second-to-Last for the Team… with Rhenz T from Taipei)

One of the things I didn’t like about growing up in Chicago was the cultural obsession with sports. Even when I moved to London as a teenager and saw the football culture, it was somehow different. It was possible to be a worthwhile human being and not be into sports, but not in Chicago. It was part of why I felt so out of place there.

I was terrible at sports in school, and though not picked last, I was always picked second-to-last for the team. It’s not because I had any talent, but because my somewhat bigger size made me seem like good goalkeeper material for hockey or soccer. Sometimes at the start of the school year, I’d even be one of the first picked for American football ‘cos I looked like I could withstand a tackle, but the problem was that no one would even try to tackle me since I could never catch the ball. 

There was a time when I was quite into sports, into baseball specifically. I used to watch the Cubs play with my grandfather whenever a match was on. I also used to dream about being a professional baseball player (I wanted to be third baseman). But then, sometime around the age of nine when they first let us play baseball in PE at school, I saw that I was rubbish. The coach would tell me just to concentrate, but I couldn’t with the other kids shouting at me about bringing the rest of the team down. 

Some even said that if I was just a bit more confident that I could do it. That’s what Rhenz T said about his basketball days. Maybe he’s right, but I could never overcome the stress barrier in school. A few years ago, however, I did join the Warsaw Gay Badminton Club. I was pretty bad, but I was better than I expected. And I actually enjoyed it. But these guys weren’t shouting at me, telling me how much I sucked. So maybe that was what made the difference.

See more of Rhenz T and read his story in Elska Magazine issue (05) Taipei

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