By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
I recently read an article on Wikipedia about “childhood gender nonconformity” as a possible correlation with homosexuality, among other things. Childhood gender nonconformity is described as a phenomenon in which “pre-pubescent children do not conform to expected gender-related sociological or psychological patterns.”
I would assume that for boys, one of the greatest “expected gender-related sociological or psychological patterns” has to do with sports. Well, I am not gay, nor have I ever been gay. However, as a child, not only was I terrible in sports, I didn’t even like sports!
There were times when my father and brother (or once, my Hebrew school class) took me to Yankee Stadium, and I found myself bored after one or two innings. Sure, I tried to fake it, flipping baseball cards with the other kids and pretending to listen when they talked about baseball players, but I’m sure I didn’t fool anybody.
The fact my actual interests at that age – trains and cars – were also so-called “masculine” interests didn’t win me any friends. Neither did those physical activities I did do well in – for example, gymnastics. Eventually I won a bronze medal in gymnastics, but that didn’t impress anyone compared to someone who, for example, was able to pitch a winning game.
What I needed was to connect with other kids who were into trains and cars. The internet would have helped me in that, but the internet, at that time, was years away.
Now, I’m able to watch an entire baseball game, and I can even enjoy it. I can enjoy watching basketball, although for shorter periods of time, say, 15 minutes or so. As for football, it leaves me cold – the type of people who play football are presumably the same big, tough, aggressive guys who I had nothing in common with then, and probably have nothing in common with now.
But still, I cringe when fathers load their 6-year-old boys up with football jerseys, hockey sticks, baseball bats, whatever, and just expect that they’ll really be into sports.
Just once, I’d like to see just one of those kids say, when their father asks them to go to a game, say, “No thanks, Dad, I’d rather play with my model trains, and look at my picture book of classic cars!”