Sweat Socks: One Woman's Story
Nov. 11,1983/The Star 3
By Sharon McDonald
When it comes to sports, I have always
been cordial but distant. As a child, the
full extent of my athletic repetoire was the
repeated climbing of a single tree in which
I would sit for hours daydreaming of an
even less active childhood. I thought that
once I grew up, I would be free ofthe daily
pressures to run, jump, slide, hit and
catch. Call me naive, but I looked forward
to my adult years as a fruitful time for
affairs of the intellect.
Back then, women were allowed, no
encouraged, to let their muscles atrophy in
peace. But right around the time I would
have begun living out my happy destiny
as a sedentary grown-up, I fell in with an
energetic group of women who called
themselves by a strange new name: feminists. At first I thought their philosophy
meant more choices for everybody: I could
be either a chemist or a karate champion.
What I didn't know was that the karate
champion didn't have to study chemistry,
but the chemist would have to take up
some arduous sport to stay in the feminist
Only the language had changed since
childhood. Yesterday's "Get your nose out
of that book," has become today's "Get in
touch with your body." This is a paradox
of modern feminism that I find difficult to
understand: nobody tells Rosie Casals to
write a book, why do they tell me to play
It's important at this point to explain
that I don't dislike sports just because I'm
no good at them, although that certainly
helps. But simple ineptitude is a mere
embarrassment that's easily forgotten.
What's not easily forgotten is a lifetime of
sprains, strains, cuts, scrapes, bruises, lacerations, concussions and temporary
embarrassments. I dislike sports because I
hurt myself doing them, sometimes quite
I can fall and chip a bone on any type of
surface you've got, from grass to concrete.
The only time I can catch a ball that's
hurtling straight at my unique and fragile
face is when it knocks my last two fingers
backwards three inches farther than they
were ever meant to go. I think it's about
time for feminists to face the fact that
some women were just not meant to totter
four inches off the ground on blades,
wheels, a foor-long slab of wood or anything else.
Women whom I would otherwise consider caring friends have tried to get me
out there into the danger zone.
"Look at you! You call yourself a dyke?
Look at that arm. Where's the muscle?"
"It's in my fingers. I type 90 words a ..."
"You've got to start thinking about your
"I am. I'm staying inside where it's
"You don't know what you're missing."
"Yes I do. Pain."
It doesn't help that Louise is on the side
of the athletes in this. One balmy evening
Catholic Gay Ministry To
New Way Ministry, a national Catholic
gay ministry group, will sponsor and conduct a tour of one-day workshops on
"Homosexuality and Family Ministry" in
six cities in Texas and Louisiana during
November and December, they
Sr. Jeannine Gramick, SSND, who
wrote the newly released Homosexuality
and the Catholic Church, and Fr. Robert
Nugent, SDS, A Challenge to Love: Gay
and Lesbian Catholic in the Church, a nun
and priest, respectively, who have been
engaged in ministry with lesbian and gay
men since 1971, will conduct the workshop, they said.
The workshop will explore the sociological and pastoral dimensions of homosexuality, and is designed for educators,
counselors, social workers, clergy, religious, social justice advocates as well as
family and friends of lesbian and gay
Christians, they said.
The San Antonio workshop is to be Nov.
29 at Incarnate Word Motherhouse, Centennial Hall, 4515 Broadway. The Austin
workshop is scheduled for Dec. 1 at St.
Edward's University, Our Lady Queen of
Peace Chapel, 3001 S. Congress.
See Classified & Personals
Form in the Back
when she and I were in the first glow of
new found love, she chanced to ask what
sports I enjoyed. When I said none, that
lovely period of idealized romance passed
forever into history. Some people are so
Louise's childhoood had been a whirlwind journey from championship this to
championship that. From a modest beginning at prizewinning marbles, she went
on to conquer her neighborhood at baseball, ping pong, basketball, skating and so
on. She once remarked to me what an easy
transition it had been to go from GAA
(Girl's Athletic Association) to GAA (Gay
Activists Alliance) without even changing
As if our relationship wasn't tenuous
enough, Louise decided that we needed to
jog together every night. I reminded her
that I considered achieving normal posture an athletic event. She could not be
moved. I said I'd think about it.
True to my nature, I approached this
subject first from an academic angle. I
read all the books about jogging, and it
was there that I learned about cramps,
strains, faintness of breath and "overdoing it." I stopped reading. Next, I went
shopping. After pricing jogging shoes, I
came home with the aforementioned faintness of breath. This was soon followed by
faintness of heart.
The more I though about it, the stupider
it seemed. Being an urban dweller, certain
physical pursuits like karate or running
do make sense to me. But jogging has no
such intrinsic, pragmatic value. What self-
repecting mugger responds to, "Back off.
buddy, I'm a jogger"? Not does jogging
provide you with an escape maneuver; it
just doesn't work to jog away from an
attacker. This is in sharp contrast to the
more versatile sport of running, which can
be utilized either to run from an attacker or
to run to attack someone. Jogging, on the
other hand, produces only two concrete
results: stronger calf muscles and better
wind, both of which are good for only one
I presented my findings to Louise, but
you can't tell her anything. So, with our
frail relationship hanging in the balance,
I purchased the proper shoes, baggy
shorts and sweat socks and revised my
will. I was ready. Louise glanced up from
the television, lit another cigarette and
said, "Not tonight, hon, let's start tomorrow." The next night she was meeting a
friend for dinner and suggested we wait
one more day. The following day she came
home from work exhausted. "How about
tomorrow night, sweetie?" she groaned.
By now, all I can say is it's a wonder I've
retained my sweet disposition and tolerant, loving, giving, accepting attitude
through all this. If in the name of feminism or health or God knows what else my
lover and friends advocate chasing a ball
around, or want to browbeat others into
doing the same, I'd be the last one to say
it's not an excellent use of time.
I mean, if they want to move their conversation to the level of debating the
absorption capacities of different brands
of sweat socks, I'd never suggest it was a
step down. Some people might say these
women have become sweaty, ill-clad, panting bores, but not me. Goodness, if I let a
little thing like watching my friends
beome competitive over-achievers turn me
into an unsupportive name-caller, well,
what would that say about friendship?
As for Louise and I, we have made a
peace of sorts by discovering a physical
activity we can do together. .Although it is
more private than a jog around the local
park, I will say that it has satisfied both
our wants by providing exercise, sweat
and exhaustion without requiring a trip to
the emergency room. Until something better comes along, this will do just fine.
McDonald, who lives in Los Angeles, is
co-winner ofthe 1983 Certificate of Merit
for Outstanding Work in Feature Writing
from the Gay Press Association. Her
column appears here and in other gay
Well, here we are "Soap" in Austin and San
This little column each issue is here to
spread the dirt—and remind you of some ofthe
events coming up at Austin and San Antonio
— □ —
Happy 36th anniversary to Jose and Leo of El
It's time to start thinking about Thanksgiving.
Bernice Shubert and Fran Marquis of the
New Faces in San Antonio will have their Official Grand Opening Thursday, Thanksgiving
Night, the 24th, with Tony Lawson presenting
the "Jude Garland Show." Plus free buffet 6-
9pm, free champagne 7-9pm, with the show at
— D —
A reminder that Dirty Sally's in Austin opens
Sam every morning with Ouintin and happy
hour till 2pm.
— D —
Raw Power in S.A. is now not/usf your Nu-
Wave and Rock night club. It's your Blitz night
club. Open nightly with OJs from New York
The 2015 in S.A. is determined to get you feeling real good ... with beer specials Monday,
Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday nights.
— □ —
The El Jardin has been around San Antonio
since the early 40s, as we all know. (Where
were you thirty years ago? Let the guys at El
Jardin know. We're working up a special ad).
The El Jardin will be open Thanksgiving Day
from noon on with "Nellie Hour".
— o —
Back to Austin and Back Street Basics. They're
having a Veterans Day Millitary Ball this Sunday ,the 13th. Get out your best dress or uniform and report in. Cash prizes for the best
dressed military couples—and drink specials
for everyone all weekend.
Now, if you are looking for other reasons to
have a celebration sometime in the next two
weeks, here are several events to spark your
imagination as an excuse for a party.
Friday, Nov 11: David Ignatius Walsh was
born today in 1872. So that means you can
celebrate that your middle name is not Ignatius.
Actually, old Iggie was a U.S. Senator from
Massachusets that became involved in a
homosexual scandal in 1942. Seems police
raided this New York "male brothel" (bathhouse? questions CA Tripp in his book. The
Homosexual Matrix) and arrested manager
Gustave Beekman. They then offered Beek-
man a deal for cooperation and he named
Walsh as a customer Newspapers plastered
Walsh's name on their covers for weeks—and
the Senate conducted a sensational
investigation—but it cleared Walash.
Police then prosecuted Beekman on
charges of "sodomy," found him quilty and
sentenced him to 20 years in prison.
He served every day of it.
And special thanks to Martin Greif's The Gay
Books of Days, from which we gathered some
of this information.
Friday is also Veterans' Day.
Monday, Nov. 14: Herman Melville's Moby
Dick was published today in 1851. And, good
God!, Joseph McCarthy was born today in
1908. But on a more refreshing note, Arthur
Bell, gay columnist for New York's Village
Voice, was born today in 1940.
Tuesday, Nov 15: Pike discovered his peak
!oday in 1806.
Wednesday, Nov. 16: Al Capone was
released from jail today in 1939, three years
early for good behavior
Saturday, Nov 19: Apollo landed on the
moon today in 1969 And also, we'll have a full
moon very late Saturday night (Actually, the
moon is officially "full" at 6:30am Sunday
morning. But it'll be "fuller" Saturday night
than Sunday night.)
Monday, Nov. 21: Thomas Edison invented
the phonograph today in 1877. This invention
was the first step in a long walk leading up to
Wednesday, Nov 23: Boris Karloff was born
today in 1887.
Thursday, Nov. 24: It's Thanksgiving. And
we should be reminded that a three-course
meal at Delmonico's in New York cost I2cents
on this day in 1834.