The Final, Final Countdown—May 1st, 2013

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I’ll admit for so long I had the wrong mindset about this issue. And yes, four years ago I would have scoffed at Jason Collins coming out.

 

What I find most interesting is my time at Azusa Pacific University has changed my views on homosexuality, when I thought my time here would have hardened them.

 

Anyways, my point is I normally wish I lived in the 60′s-70′s for many sporting and music reasons (Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Sir Bobby Moore and the West Ham triumvirate, the golden days of pro football, the ABA, Dodger Stadium in its youth, etc.)

 

Today, I am proud I live here and now in an era of sports where Jason Collins can be a pillar, and the support he is receiving can be evident. Even former President Bill Clinton has come out and shown Collins support. Kobe Bryant also tweeted approval, so Collins just won over LakerNation as well.

 

I feel like in a culture at APU that is consistently changing and evolving toward a more promising future for the rights of LGBT students, this was a great sending off all of the senior Cougars.

 

While this is national news, it is story every student at APU should read. It is the story of a man who didn’t quite fit in the entire time he was fitting in just fine. The way I am sure many of us feel at APU. Whether it’s a sexual orientation, a religious belief, a particular sin we struggle with or whatever, there is always room for growth. As long as there is a loving and none condemning environment

 

So coming from someone who knows that the face of the nation is changing, because I have changed so much in this instance myself, we need to applaud Collins. Not only for his role as a pathfinder, but for his attitude about it.

 

Here is my favorite line Collins writes in his article entitled “Why NBA center Jason Collins is coming out now,” for Sports Illustrated’s May 6th, 2013.

 

“I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation,” said Collins. “I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different.’ If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”

 

My mother consistently told me one thing when I was growing up, “If not you, then who?”

 

I think Jason Collins’ mother taught him the same lesson. And we’d all be a lot better off if we took a page out of his book.

 

Thank you Jason Collins for your bravery and your ability to stand out. You just made the world of sports a better place for doing so.

 

Link to the Sports Illustrated Article: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/magazine/news/20130429/jason-collins-gay-nba-player/

 

***Final Countdown is an opinion column written by Josh Ouellette. His views do not reflect the views of the entire staff or those of the publication as a whole, all responsibility lies on his shoulders in terms of the opinions shared in this column***

 

Josh Ouellette is a senior journalism major who has been following sports across the world since his first breath. He will admit he made a few mistakes in how he viewed gay and lesbian peers growing up and improperly judged them, something he will forever regret. He thanks the students at APU for being so great and Jason Collins for giving him an excuse to write one final column for the Sports section he loves so much.