I hope my paternal great-grandfather, Gil Remley, would be proud that Ledcat and I have an op/ed published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Our topic? Homophobia in Professional Sports and the Need for Teams like the Pirates to send a different message. (The editor made it sound more lofty).
Gil Remley ended his career in journalism as the Executive Sports Editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in the mid-1950s. I never met him as he died long before I was born, but his spirit lived on through my grandmother (his daughter) and my Dad. When I had my first letter to the editor published, my grandmother was very excited and predicted one day I’d be actually published. Sadly, she passed away before that day came to be.
Gil’s claim to fame had always been that he gave Myron Cope his first job in journalism. Cope’s book has a slightly different account, but does mention that my Da hurled a pair of scissors at him when he asked for time off. My Dad and Grandma swears he wasn’t that type of man. I think it just adds color to the family legend and when I met Myron, he didn’t hold it against me – he actually hugged me. The elder Mr. Block had a similar warm greeting when I introduced myself as Gil’s great-granddaughter about 10 years ago. Gil was also either a business manager or some sort of backoffice role with the Homestead Grays back in the day. I don’t know a lot of the details. The final family lore is that Gil met all sorts of folks involved in the less than legal aspects of sports, such as “Swingbelly” the bookie who visited the family Brentwood compound every week. There’s been hints that Swingbelly was actually my great-grandmother’s bookie, but that’s also in dispute.
Who came up with the crazy idea that a lesbian in the family would tarnish our image?
I’m not sure either one of them would expect (or be pleased) about the topic and my use of the word “faggot” in my writing, but it was all contextual. I know my grandmother did not like vulgar, coarse behavior so I’m sure she would in no way approve of pretty much anything James Harrison has done recently even though she was a lifelong, diehard Steelers fan. And she would get a kick out of her least sporty grandchild having conversations with Pirate executives. She’d just ignore the whole lesbian part of it 🙂 <Don’t worry, she LOVED Ledcat. like her own family member.>
I am one of the least sporty people in the world. We don’t have cable so we can’t really watch many games. I’m loathe to watch the Steelers unless Ledcat turns them on, but I do enjoy an afternoon/evening at PNC Park. And it is true that the Pirates openness to the It Gets Better Project has won some loyalty from me. I will be the lesbian who is inspired to support the team that supports LGBTQ youth. I mean that.
So, Da and Grandma … hope you are smiling down on me and looking forward to the family journalism cred coming full circle.
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