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Moment #75: 'Take Me Out' hits Broadway

Part of Outsports’ series on our 100 most important moments in gay sports history.

Baseball, 2003. Jim and I used to say that we had two coming outs: The first was coming out to our friends and family as gay; The second was coming out to our gay friends as sports fans. In 2003, saying you were a sports fan or athlete in many gay circles elicited a dismissive response: "Oh how butch of you." So when a play about a gay baseball player hit Broadway, it brought sports into the conscience of a huge group of gay men who hadn't considered sports since gym class years ago. Suddenly even the theater set took an interest in gay issues in sports.

The play was a hit, winning the 2003 Tony Award for Best Play, among the many awards the play received. It's since been performed in various cities; And while some have gravitated toward it for the naked shower scene, many others (like former Outsports writer Byron McCrae) found it illuminating:

Similarly, but inversely, Darren’s coming out seems to rob his teammates of something just as important: fraternity. In a shower scene (yes a shower scene, and yes, all of the actors are naked, even “Steve” from "Sex in the City"), Kippy Sunderstrom, Darren’s best friend on the team, bemoans the absence of a sense of camaraderie that existed back before Lemming came out. Gone are the hugs, the friendly slaps on the backside. No one even looks each other in the eye anymore. That’s what homophobia does. It changes how straight men interact with each other. Thankfully, there are those who buck against rigid gender stereotyping, like Jason (Kohl Sudduth), the dim-witted but caring catcher.

There are very few films and plays that center around gay sports; And even fewer that captured as much attention and as many headlines as 'Take Me Out.'

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