On Monday in debate class I read what was essentially an edited version of my last journal (The Gay Athlete's Anguish), adding a part about the fear of changing and showering with a gay teammate to replace any personal references, along with a part about how Americans are becoming more accepting of gays, except when it comes to sports.
When I finished there was silence. I mean I could hear the clock on the wall behind me ticking. Or was that my heartbeat?
My debate teacher started clapping, something he does for a really good speech or for when someone tanks to break the silence. It was at the end of class and the bell rang and we left the room, but nobody said anything to me.
At lunch I was asked by a girl from my debate class why I chose to do a speech on gay athletes? Why would I even care...since...I'm...not...gay? She just gave me this look, and then I told her about a gay athlete that came out recently and his emotional struggles and I thought it would be something different to write about.
She then told me something I hadn't thought about:
"You know Beau, people are going to think you're gay because of your speech? You're not...but...you know they will."
I didn't get any more comments like that but the next day in class my teacher told me that I should use the speech at our upcoming debate tournament, and I told him what the girl at lunch told me.
I thought he was going to say, you're right, but he didn't. He told me it was a tough subject but the way I presented it was perfectly done...a "winner".
So now I'm in a bind. Should I give this speech at the tournament or come up with something else?
Be bold or play it safe?