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Marrying love of music and sport

D.C.’s Different Drummers director makes connection via football



Charles Roth, Washington Blade, gay news
Charles Roth, marching band director of D.C.’s Different Drummers, says music has ‘always been in my bloodline.’ (Blade photo by Drew Brown)

Charles Roth, the marching band director of D.C.’s Different Drummers, says music has “always been in my bloodline.” His father began playing the guitar at age six and passed along his passion for music to Roth. Music gave Roth “a sense of zen” while he was growing up but he was still plagued by a fear he wasn’t brave enough to confront. 

Roth was scared to play sports in school. 

Growing up in Dayton, Ohio, Roth dreamed of playing on his high school track or football team. Instead of trying out for the teams, Roth pushed his love for sports to the side.

“When I was in high school I was not out. I was very reserved. I was scared to take part because honestly the people that were bullying me were taking part of those sports,” Roth says. 

According to the study, 32.5 percent of LGBTQ students avoided attending P.E. classes, 39 percent avoided locker rooms and 22.8 percent avoided school athletics fields and facilities. 

Roth’s story isn’t unusual. In a study byGLSEN on the experiences of LGBTQ students in student athletics, LGBTQ students were found to not be receiving the same benefits of physical education and sports as non-LGBTQ students.

LGBTQ students were found to also be underrepresented on sports teams. Only 23.2 percent of LGBTQ students participated in interscholastic school sports, 13.4 percent played on intramural sports teams, 8.2 percent played on both interscholastic and intramural teams and only 6.1 percent of LGBTQ student athletes served in leadership positions. 

Roth eventually came out at age 19. As he got older, he joined LGBTQ sports leagues, specifically a volleyball league, in Dayton.

The league opened him up to not only the world of sports but to his sexual identity. 

“You don’t only have the LGBTQ community in the [leagues] but you have straight allies in there too. It’s not just gay or lesbian specific. When you have that, it is more open and free to be yourself. It’s very collaborative. You’re working amongst each other as a team, as a family, as a unit,” Roth says. “When you have that in the LGBTQ sports league of X, Y, or Z you’d probably find that open-mindedness to be more empowering that what you’d find in an hetero league.”

Roth moved to the D.C. area three years ago and joined local LGBTQ softball and volleyball leagues. He developed an interest in flag football and joined the D.C. Gay Flag Football League. While on the flag football team, he was reconnected with his first love of music. 

“It was actually through the D.C. Gay Flag Football League I met friends that are musicians who also knew D.C.’s Different Drummers and that they had a vacancy for their director position. So I inquired to learn more about them and next thing you know, boom, all of a sudden just from a connection playing sports in the area I became part of D.C.’s Different Drummers,” Roth says. 

Now 33 years old, Roth lives in Alexandria, Va. and teaches music. He’s also able to marry his passion for sports and music by playing on LGBTQ sports leagues and serving as marching band director for D.C.’s Different Drummers. 

However, Roth says it’s important to note that marching band should also be considered a sport. 

“People don’t think marching band is a sport, which I think is a bunch of hooey. If you put yourself onto a parade such as D.C.’s Different Drummers and march for three to four miles while dancing and singing and playing the actual horn that’s going to take a lot out of you,” Roth says. 

In the coming months, Roth plans to play for D.C. Pride Volleyball League, the Chesapeake & Potomac Softball League, Stonewall Dodgeball and the DC Gay Flag Football League. 

He encourages anyone considering trying a new sport or instrument to ‘be brave” and just do it. 

“Whenever you’re trying something new you have that voice in the back of your mind challenging you or putting hesitation into your system. But when trying something new, regardless of whatever it is, it’s trying the unknown and seeing what it can become. My advice would be jump in and have no regrets,” Roth says. 

It’s advice Roth sometimes wishes he had taken back in school.

“I feel like to a point I’m trying to catch up on a childhood that I felt like I couldn’t take part of. For me, that’s a very emotional thing because, looking back at it, if I could have been so much more brave and outspoken and not worry about what others may do or think of myself, coming out as a gay man, that would have changed the whole thing,” Roth says. 

As an adult, Roth is finally able to live his dream. 

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Las Vegas Raiders head coach resigns after homophobic emails surface

Discovery made during misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team



Courtesy of ESPN

LAS VEGAS — The head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, Jon Gruden resigned his post Monday after an article in the New York Times reported that he frequently used misogynistic and homophobic language directed at Commissioner Roger Goodell and others in the National Football League, (NFL).

The emails were discovered in a workplace misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team the Times reported, but ended up costing Gruden his job when they also showed Gruden denounced the drafting of a gay player and the tolerance of players protesting during the playing of the national anthem among other issues.

In a statement released by the team late Monday, Gruden said; “I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”

The sequence of events started last Friday when the Wall Street Journal reported that Gruden used a racist term to describe NFL union chief DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 email to the Washington team’s former executive Bruce Allen.

According to the Associated Press, Gruden apologized for his “insensitive remarks” about Smith, saying they were made out of frustration over the 2011 lockout. But the latest emails sent from between 2011-18 when Gruden was an analyst for ESPN show his use of derogatory language went well beyond that.

A league source confirmed the accuracy of the emails to the Associated Press and said they were sent to the Raiders last week. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league hasn’t made the emails public.

The New York Times and the Associated Press both noted that Gruden used a gay slur to insult Goodell and said he was “clueless” and “anti-football.” He also said Goodell shouldn’t have pressured the Rams to draft “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, who was the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team.

Gruden’s abrupt resignation was announced live on the Colts/Ravens “Monday Night Football” broadcast when the NFL ran multiple LGBTQ-inclusive advertisements, including one featuring an NFL logo wrapped in the colors of the Trans Flag and Rainbow Flag Gay City News Editor Matt Tracy reported.

Raiders owner Mark Davis issued a statement which only said that he accepted Gruden’s resignation. In a separate statement the Raiders announced that special teams and assistant head coach Rich Bisaccia will serve as Interim Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, effective immediately.

“Coach Bisaccia will meet with the media at the regularly scheduled media availability on Wednesday,” the team said.

According to ESPN and the Associated Press, Bisaccia has been a special teams coordinator in the NFL for 19 seasons with the Raiders, Chargers, Dallas and Tampa Bay. He has no head coaching experience but his elevation will allow other assistants in the Raiders organization such as defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to stay in their current roles.

Jon Gruden resigns as Raiders head coach | SC with SVP

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New Zealand university names trans athlete ‘sportswoman of the year’

Laurel Hubbard is first out trans woman to compete in Olympics



Screenshot via CBS Sports

DUNEDIN, New Zealand — Olympic weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was named “sportswoman of the year” at the prestigious 113-year-old University of Otago and OUSA Blues and Golds Awards event this past week.

The 43-year-old Queenstown, South Island, native was the first openly transgender woman to compete in an Olympics when she competed in the women’s 87kg weightlifting event at the 2021 Tokyo Games.

In a statement to the local newspaper, the Otago Daily Times, Hubbard said she was ‘‘grateful for all of the support and kindness received from the teaching staff and students at Otago University.’’

‘‘It is not possible for athletes to complete at the Olympic level without the encouragement and aroha [a Māori word meaning “love”] of friends, family and supporters.

‘‘This award belongs to everyone who has been part of my Olympic journey,’’ she told the paper.

Hubbard’s participation at the Tokyo Games had provoked controversy as she had prepared for competing as the world’s first out transgender woman Olympian. The director of medicine and science for the International Olympic Committee, Dr. Richard Budgett, directly addressed those who had attacked and mocked the New Zealander and claimed she shouldn’t be competing with cisgender women, saying  “everyone agrees that trans women are women.”

“To put it in a nutshell,” he said, “the IOC had a scientific consensus back in 2015. There are no IOC rules or regulations around transgender participation. That depends on each international federation. So Laurel Hubbard is a woman, is competing under the rules of her federation and we have to pay tribute to her courage and tenacity in actually competing and qualifying for the Games.”

Otago University Students’ Association president Michaela Waite-Harvey told the Otago Daily Times that the Blues awards aim to highlight Otago students excelling in their chosen sport.

‘‘We could think of no-one more worthy of sportswoman of the year than Laurel Hubbard who represented Otago and New Zealand incredibly well at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.’’

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Gold medalist Tom Daley battled COVID in hospital prior to Tokyo games

An x-ray revealed “blotches” on his lungs, and he was kept at the hospital for 10 hours to increase his oxygen levels



Tom Daley (Photo by via Bigstock)

LONDON – British Olympic champion diver Tom Daley acknowledged in an recent interview with British newspaper The Times, that he had been secretly rushed to hospital seven months prior to the summer Tokyo Olympic games after contracting the coronavirus.

Daley told the paper “[my] lungs felt pressurised, as if they had sacks of rice around them”, and added: “Every time I stood up, I felt the room spinning and a blinding white light, as if I was going to faint, and as if I couldn’t get enough oxygen into my body.”

He went on to describe his ordeal in graphic details telling Times journalist Jane Mulkerrins that he gave specific instructions to his husband, screenwriter D. Lance Black one night as he headed off to sleep, what to do in the event he quit breathing.

He also told Mulkerrins he was frightened for their son Robbie if he and his husband both contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus, especially after he was rushed to hospital by ambulance unable to breath correctly.

When his head began to feel like it had “a vice tightening around it” and his “oxygen levels were dropping,” it was at that point Daley said he decided to call 111. [The UK’s emergency phone number]

‘My oxygen levels were dropping’

He was rushed to hospital in an ambulance and put on oxygen. An x-ray revealed “blotches” on his lungs, and he was kept at the hospital for 10 hours to increase his oxygen levels, The Times reported.

“I understood how quickly things could potentially go downhill,” said Daley.

“I had flashes of fear about whether I would be put on a ventilator, and my time being up. I was really terrified.”

He also described his reasons for keeping his ordeal secret so that his rivals in his sport wouldn’t know.

The episode kept the Olympian diver out of training for nearly seven months although Daley along with his British teammate diving partner Matty Lee won the gold with a score of 471.81 in the men’s synchronized diving on at the Tokyo 2021 games.

After tough competition in the Men’s 10m platform diving from China’s Cao Yuan who picked up the Gold Medal and his teammate Yang Jian cinching the number two spot with a Silver Medal, the 27-year-old Daley secured a Bronze Medal win with a score of 548.25.

It was the second Olympic Bronze Medal for the Plymouth, England native, in individual diving completion since he won bronze at the London Games in 2012. Daley and his teammate Daniel Goodfellow won a Bronze Medal in the 10m synchronised at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

The Times interview comes as the paper’s magazine is serializing Daley’s new book, Coming Up for Air: What I Learned from Sport, Fame and Fatherhood, which is due to be published by Harper Collins on October 14.

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