masculinity

Press conference for Oilers YCP Night. Left to Right: Andrew Ference (former Edmonton Oiler and YCP Ambassador), Matt Hendricks (current Edmonton Oiler and YCP Ambassador), Kevin Lowe (Vice-Chairman of Oilers Entertainment Group), Cheryl Macdonald (U of A YCP postdoc in building inclusive sporting communities and Co-Chair of YCP western Canadian board), Kris Wells (Faculty Director of the U of A Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services and co-creator of Pride Tape).

The You Can Play Project (YCP) is an organization that promotes the inclusion of LGBTQ+ athletes in sport. It seeks to mitigate the possible negative aspects of locker room culture such as anti-gay attitudes and language. It was founded in 2012 by Patrick Burke, Glenn Whitman, and Brian Kitts following the death of Patrick’s brother, Brendan, who was an openly gay ice hockey player. The Burke family is well known in the hockey community since Patrick works in Player Safety for the National Hockey League (NHL) and his father, Brian, is currently the President of Hockey Operations for the Calgary Flames. The Burkes wanted to honour Brendan by advocating on his behalf for equality among athletes regardless of their gender or sexual identity. While most visible in hockey, YCP works with a range of sports and athletic organizations from high school to college and university to the amateur and professional ranks.

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RALEIGH, NC – MARCH 21: Chaz Williams #3, Trey Davis #12 and Maxie Esho #1 of the Massachusetts Minutemen sit on the bench in the second half while taking on the Tennessee Volunteers in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at PNC Arena on March 21, 2014 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Over many years of watching the NCAA men’s basketball tournaments, one thing that I, and many others, have looked forward to is the video montage broadcast at the end of CBS’s coverage of the championship game, set to the song “One Shining Moment”. The montage celebrates not only great basketball, but also the range of male emotional expression in sport. Images of young men bursting with joy over a victory and crying in agony over defeat have long been a staple of this video memory of the tournament. Quite honestly, this video has often brought a tear to my eye as I connected to these young men’s emotions. However, it is not my reaction to the video that is notable, but rather the celebration of men’s emotions that is of interest.

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