Practicing social distance gives you a chance to do more introspection than we usually do. And with the coronavirus pandemic impacting all of us, we’ve decided this would be a good time to share some interesting things about the people behind the scenes at Outsports.
Today, Brian Bell shares 13 interesting things about himself.
1. This list is going to be all over the place, but I guess we should kickoff with some sports facts about myself. I grew up in the heart of Braves country, yet my sports allegiances didn’t always line up with my birthplace. I went to many Atlanta Thrashers games during their short NHL tenure. While I enjoyed going to Braves games, the Expos (and by default Nationals) were my MLB team growing up. The NBA brings me back to Atlanta as my lifelong Hawks fandom will likely never be rewarded with some hardware. I also root for both of the SEC’s Bulldogs: Georgia and Mississippi State.
2. My undying love of the San Francisco 49ers deserves its own segment on this list. My first sports memories are inundated with images of Steve Young, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. I looked up to Ronnie Lott as a role model. He’s why I played safety when I started playing football. I even wrote to the team’s headquarters as a kid asking if Steve Young would come eat Thanksgiving dinner with my family. He didn’t show up, obviously, but I did get an autographed photo and letter from the 49ers organization politely declining my invitation and thanking me for being a loyal fan.
3. I’m bisexual, which can create minefields whenever you grow up in the Bible Belt. But I didn’t find any lack of understanding and love from my family when I came out. Mostly because my mom lovingly called me out on my guy fever after I locked myself out of my friend’s house post a long night of drag show drinking. That and the fact that my dad is gay. Runs in the family?
4. The first article I ever wrote was about the 49ers-Chargers matchup in Super Bowl 29. I was eight and I wrote it in crayon on construction paper, complete with a made up quote from Diana Ross, that year’s halftime performer. Super professional.
5. I made my YMCA’s All-Star basketball team while having one of the worst cases of asthma in the state of Georgia. We’re talking tenth percentile here, people. It was a blast except that I got a fever during the state tournament thanks to a well-placed air vent at an Applebee’s in Athens, Ga. At least I was still an all-star to the docs at Scottish Rite.
6. I forever left my mark on my hometown of Moultrie, Ga. thanks to an intense car wreck that almost took my life. I fractured my pelvis, had to relearn how to talk after suffering tongue paralysis (think about that every time you listen to my Outsports podcast LGBT In The Ring!) and started my junior year of high school in a wheelchair. But I got the local Dairy Queen to alter its drive-thru exit so people didn’t have to turn left onto the four-lane highway on which it was located. That’s basically a plaque, right?
7. I co-wrote a Hallmark Channel-style Christmas movie that even the Hallmark Channel wouldn’t purchase, even though it had already been shot and edited. It was originally called “South For The Winter” but was later retitled, “Headed South For Christmas.” Yes, it’s more of the so-bad-it’s-good variety, but I definitely still stand by the writing. What other Christmas film has a Tax Werewolf, a tow truck driving Santa Claus and a 10-year-old kid quoting Baudelaire?
8. I watch cricket and Jelle’s Marble Runs unironically.
9. My favorite pro wrestlers growing up were Bret Hart and Arn Anderson (my non-familial father figure), but I credit my love of independent pro wrestling to my obsessions with CM Punk and Super Dragon.
10. I’ve always been the creative type. I made a ton of board games as a kid and built AI-simulated football and pro wrestling leagues in video games. I still run some of those leagues now, including my custom team-filled Madden 07 league and wrestling promotions in Smackdown vs. Raw 2006 and Fire Pro Wrestling World.
11. My mom made me a Halloween costume of Mortal Kombat’s Reptile right smack in the middle of the period where parents were super weird about violence in videogames. I wore it to my elementary school’s Fall Festival despite that, proving that even as a child I fought the good fight.
12. I once upset Robert Englund, Freddy Kruger himself, by looking him in the eye while working as an extra on the film “2001 Maniacs.” What’s funnier is that I was more scared of my childhood next door neighbor whose legit name was Freddy Kruger.
13. I adore playing tabletop RPGs. My favorite character I ever played was a jam-based superhero facsimile of Krillin from Dragon Ball Z named Jamfist. He disguised his identity by smearing jam on his face and used Ki blasts to harden his jam-covered hands into caramelized fists of stone. Yeah, I’m a dork with a weird imagination.
Like I said: I’m all over the place.