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Tonight on Brock Talks how I recognized that we can all create shifts in society.

This story happened while I was running off season hockey program in Sudbury.

I was working with close to 100 players and received a call from a hockey mom
I’m going to start off by mentioning that hockey parents can be a unique breed of human.

Working with that many players meant I was getting close to 100 calls daily from parents. My phone would be going off from 6 am until 2 am.

You wouldn’t believe some of the stuff
One day a mom calls me and I’m expecting to hear about her son. Instead she says “Brock I want to set you up on a date” (I wasn’t out in the hockey world yet)
Initially I panicked and didn’t know what to say but I became curious and wanted to know what she thought my type is
So I said what’s her name. And she said Steve.
I said whattttt
She said Brock, you’re gay
I said I have no idea what you’re talking about.
She said Brock I know
I said whattttt
She became impatient and said YOURE GAY!
I was like how? How do you know this?
She said my son told me. (Her son was 15)
I said how does he know this?
She said he’s known for years...all the boys know! (The majority of my athletes were boys)
Initially I froze up and freaked out internally.
I started thinking. All these hockey boys in northern Ontario....where there isn’t a lot of exposure to lgbtq+ people.
And I kept thinking. Their parents will find out. They won’t want them working with me. What am I going to do? How will I pay my bills?
Then I started thinking wait....all these cocky hockey boys know I’m gay and choose to work with me, how cool is that!
I thought initially well maybe I should just tell them. Let the cat out of the bag
Instead I decided to do a little sociology style experiment.
You see what I realized is they know I’m gay but they don’t know that I know that they know that I’m gay.
So I decided to observe their behaviour.
I always tried to curb oppressive language but now I’d really pay attention to homophobic things.
What I began to notice is each time they’d say something homophobic they’d freeze up and apologize to me.

After a little while I started thinking this is cool they’re recognizing their behaviour and maybe shifting it.

But I didn’t know how they acted when I wasn’t around
For all I knew they could have gone to the rink or school and called people fags.

Until one day I wasn’t there and had a sprint coach working with some of my athletes and at the end of a 2 hour track session, he told them they had 10 more sprints.
One of my younger players who comes from a progressive household looks at the coach and says....that’s so gay I can’t believe you’re making us to this.

One of the older players who was already in the OHL and immersed in the culture, looks at the younger guy and says....
We don’t say that here, give me 50 push ups.

The younger player said you’re right...this became something my athletes adopted amongst themselves and it showed me that we can create a shift in hockey culture. My little bubble within the hockey bubble was shifting
Plus hockey players, especially in Canada, have social influence...

With their teammates, their peers and younger people. Heck even adults are influenced by jr players.

So they used it for good and they started to get their friends at school and teammates to do the push-ups
The younger player told his team and one night one of his teammates was on FT with a young woman. She said let’s hang out and he said, I can’t I have practice.

She said that’s so gay

He looked at her and said give me 50 push ups or we’re never talking again.
They both got down and did push ups.

Two people I’ve never met or will ever meet.

These kids taught me that I could create a shift in society because my existence (not even out yet) had them creating a shift amongst each other.
It also taught me that we all have the ability to create shifts.
Some will be big, some will be small...but they all matter!

Thanks for coming to my Brock Talk ❤️

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