Eric Radford just won a bronze medal at the Olympics. He’s a Canadian pairs skater with partner Meagan Duhamel. Like any elite athlete, Eric has shown years of dedication to his sport. But there’s been another mountain for this man … he’s gay. I read about him this morning in the Toronto Star.
I think of the challenges I’ve faced. My wife Jody with a terminal disease, and dying. Some people perceiving me as “less than”, weird and perhaps even dangerous. Being close to death three times in one summer. But Eric? What an astonishing warrior.
“It’s a gold mining town, in the north, hockey town, male figure skater. And the only one. It was very hard for him.”
What are the depths of loneliness that can touch a human being?
“And not only not being accepted by other people, but there was a long time where I didn’t accept myself. And that took time. And I think that I just look at that, and if I had someone like that to look up to, it would have been easier.”
Can I look myself in the mirror, see my version of a face, and still smile?
Eric came out to his mom and dad when he was 18. Their reaction? “So what?”
“It was a couple of days later, and she came in and she was weepy and she said ‘You turned out so well despite going through all of that. I wish you had told us sooner so I could have been there for you.’ And she felt so guilty and bad that I hadn’t told her sooner, and I really was kind of on my own.”
And what is beyond a mother’s love?
“I remember arguments about money when we were kids. You know how you hear things? And they never said once ‘We can’t do that.’ They said ‘How are we going to make this work?'”
What do I need to do to turn my dreams into realities?
“When Radford has gone home to Red Lake, he attracts crowds when he practises in the old rink, and many of the kids from the old days have come up and apologized. ‘And I really appreciate that they come up and talk to me … It probably can’t be that easy, you might feel stupid or shy … It’s nice to have their respect, and to know that these people have grown up, they’ve matured, and they’ve learned.”
What does it take to let go of the familiar old and open to a more inclusive life?
The definition of gay: Homosexual
The definition of gay: Lighthearted and carefree
How about both?