One of the few gay sports bloggers tackled USC football and politics with insight
For the last five years, Boi From Troy has been one of the few places on the Net where an openly gay man talked openly about sports. A huge USC fan, Scott Schmidt dedicated countless hours to staying on top of the best (and sometimes hottest) news coming out of USC football, their other sports programs, and also Georgetown. The blog is a blend of sports and politics, and Schmidt’s no-nonsense approach to both made him a lot of fans.
We look forward to seeing what his next step is. We caught up with Schmidt earlier this week and talked with him about those next steps, among other things . . .
Outsports: Why did you start BoiFromTroy?
Scott Schmidt: I started BoiFromTroy in 2003, during the heat of California's recall election. I had seen the power of a lone blogger in driving stories into the mainstream press. I thought that the media was not taking Arnold Schwarzenegger seriously as a politician and wanted to add my voice to the discussion. To differentiate myself from Andrew Sullivan, I decided I would write about my other passion – USC football – as well.
OS: Why do you think yours was one of the very few gay sports blogs out there?
Schmidt: Bloggers tend to thrive when they are contradicting conventional wisdom, so you'd think there would be more gay sports blogs. But a gay perspective on sports isn't that interesting, unless you add another perspective to differentiate from the competition.
OS: Did you get recognition for your blog from the USC athletic department? USC football?
Schmidt: That's a delicate question! The Sports Information Department was, at best cordial, to me – but that was more because of a dismissive attitude towards blogs than towards gays in general. However, I know that Coach Pete Carroll would be aware of things I'd say on the blog, or when I posted his shirtless picture, pretty quickly. In the locker room, the players seemed well aware of BoiFromTroy and some even sought attention from it. But the most recognition I ever got was when I gave them money – a $250 contribution in 2007 got the BoiFromTroy logo on the screen at Coach Carroll's Monday Morning Quarterback lunches.
OS: What is your impression of the USC athletic department and USC football team vis-a-vis gay issues and gay athletes?
Schmidt: From their public statements and what I hear from the grapevine, the team itself understands that fans come in all shapes, sizes and sexual orientations--and they appreciate the support. One player told a friend of mine that the locker room was mostly opposed to Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative to eliminate the right to marry for same-sex couples. With all the homophobia in sports, you have to think that they got an education on the issue in between checking to see what BoiFromTroy had to say about their performance on the field!
OS: And how about Georgetown athletics? Did you have a relationship with them and what is your impression of their record on gay issues?
Schmidt: I didn't get to do much on Georgetown sports other than celebrate their Final Four appearances. The University is coming along on LGBT issues, but they have had a longer road to travel than others in that regard. A gay-authored Hoya Basketball Blog, if done right, could probably make a big difference on that campus.
OS: What is your most cherished sports-related memory from running the blog?
Schmidt: A few years ago, I critiqued the predictability of Lane Kiffin's play calling based upon the personnel that was in the game and cited two examples. The next day at a donor lunch, someone I had never met asked Pete Carroll about why when this player or that player was in the game, we would only run one type of play. Immediately, he turned and asked the guy whether he was a blogger. The rest of the season, they started mixing up the play calling and personnel.
That, and winning two National Championships.
OS: Did USC get robbed of a National Championship this year?
Schmidt: Not at all. If anyone was robbed it was Utah.
USC lost in part because of coaching and in part due to the greed of the athletic department, scheduling a road game on a Thursday night. Coach Carroll always seems to manage to lose to an inferior team because the players think they are above the competition. One of the safest bets in college sports is home underdogs on Thursday. Playing Oregon State that Thursday took the team out of their regular game-week preparation cycle and it showed.
OS: Why can USC's basketball team seemingly never get it together?
Schmidt: USC basketball will always be third fiddle in Los Angeles--behind the Lakers and UCLA's basketball program. So to get the monetary and emotional investment from alumni and fans is a challenge.
OS: Do you have plans to stay involved with sports blogging or writing?
Schmidt: Right now, I have no plans, and that's quite alright for me! I loved blogging but the blog started to define me in people's perceptions, rather than me defining the blog, so I knew it was time to retire.