Featured events

7-9 September 2012
Brussels Games

Brussels Gay Sports will offer a weekend of fun and fairplay in the capital of Europe, with volleyball, swimming, badminton, and tennis, as well as fitness and hiking.

Learn more HERE.
26-28 October 2012
Bern, Switzerland

The success of the first edition of the QueergamesBern proved the need for an LGBT multisport event in Switzerland. This year will be even bigger, with badminton, bowling, running, walking, floorball.

Learn more HERE.
17-20 January 2013
Sin City Shootout
Las Vegas
The 7th Sin City Shootout will feature softball, ice hockey, tennis, wrestling, basketball, dodgeball, bodybuilding and basketball.

Learn more HERE.

13-16 June 2013
IGLFA Euro Cup
After this year's edition in Budapest at the EuroGames, the IGLFA Euro Cup heads to Dublin for 2013, hosted by the Dublin Devils and the Dublin Phoenix Tigers.

Learn more HERE.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Glenn Burke and the origin of the "high five"

A segment on the excellent Radiolab show led us to this story by Jon Mooallem on ESPN.com:

[...] Glenn Burke, a young outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the late 1970s whose astonishing physique and 17-inch biceps earned him the nickname King Kong.

For at least a generation before the Sleets story surfaced, the conventional wisdom had been that Burke invented the high five on Oct. 2, 1977, in front of 46,000 screaming fans at Dodger Stadium.

It was the last day of the regular season, and Dodgers leftfielder Dusty Baker had just gone deep off the Astros' J.R. Richard. It was Baker's 30th home run, making the Dodgers the first team in history to have four sluggers -- Baker, Ron Cey, Steve Garvey and Reggie Smith -- with at least 30 homers each. It was a wild, triumphant moment and a good omen as the Dodgers headed to the playoffs. Burke, waiting on deck, thrust his hand enthusiastically over his head to greet his friend at the plate. Baker, not knowing what to do, smacked it. "His hand was up in the air, and he was arching way back," says Baker, now 62 and managing the Reds. "So I reached up and hit his hand. It seemed like the thing to do."

Burke then stepped up and launched his first major league home run. And as he returned to the dugout, Baker high-fived him. From there, the story goes, the high five went ricocheting around the world. (According to Dodgers team historian Mark Langill, the game was not televised, and no footage survives.)

The high five was a natural outgrowth of Burke's personality. The Oakland native was an irrepressibly charismatic man who, even as a 24-year-old rookie that season, had become the soul of the Dodgers' clubhouse. He did Richard Pryor standup from memory and would stuff towels under his shirt and waddle bowlegged around the dugout, imitating Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda. "He was a joyous, gregarious person," sports agent Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim says of Burke, a friend since childhood. "He could high-five you without necessarily going through the motion with his hand."

History of the HIgh Five
Burke often high fived Dodgers teammate Dusty Baker.

What most people didn't know was that Burke was gay. Following his retirement in 1980, he became the first major leaguer to come out. Even though he tried to keep his sexuality a secret during his playing days, there had been rumors in the clubhouse. And as the 2010 television documentary Out: The Glenn Burke Story revealed, Dodgers executives scrambled to squash those rumors at all costs: In the off-season of 1977, team VP Al Campanis offered Burke $75,000 to get married. (The Dodgers executive later explained the offer not as a bribe but as a "helpful gesture" to pay for Burke's honeymoon.) According to a friend, Burke rejected the marriage deal with a mix of wit and rebelliousness. He told Campanis, "I guess you mean to a woman."

Keep reading HERE.

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