What’s the ruling?

Given what soccer means to me now, it’s embarrassing to remember how little I knew about it when I went to see the U.S. Women’s National Team play in the 1999 World Cup against North Korea. I had a fantastic time, moving forward and back on my seat, popping up and yelling “YES!” then “uuuuuh” on the way back down. I triumphantly jumped up and down at each of our three goals, throwing my voice into the roar. I bought my first sports souvenir, a mini-ball, and thought about the match for days afterwards.

WWC1999_mini_ball
Each panel of the mini-ball featured a U.S. host city. Note the Statue of Liberty.

Honestly, I must have missed at least one of those goals. My son was six months old and spent much of the game in the baby backpack on the ground in front of me, cradled in between my knees. It was the only place that gave him a little shelter from the abrupt, and therefore startling, movements and noise of the big people surrounding him. Continue reading What’s the ruling?

It is what it is

“Heyyy! Hey Maria!”

The two Marias
Maria (left), well-dressed on the field, and off.

I wove through a gaggle of 10 year old girls, trying to get their coach’s attention. Like them, her long hair was tied back in a pony tail. Her running shoes, form-fitting athletic pants, and sporty v-neck were diametrically opposed to my grubby sneakers, baggy shorts, and loose, untucked t-shirt, her ordinary straight woman’s presence a contrast to my bold lack of femininity.

I beckoned Maria away from her team. We didn’t know one another well, but my partner Susan had ovarian cancer and so did one of her best friends. Before I could run my boy’s practice, I needed to calm my mangled emotions and thought she could help. Biting my lip, I told her, Continue reading It is what it is

The NAMES Project Quilt as a New Public Ceremony, 1989

In 1989, when I wrote the paper that comprises this blog post, AIDS was still regularly in the news, though most Americans wrongly perceived it as a “gay disease.” Among most lesbians, it was a social/political issue about which some were active. It remained an urgent transmission and educational problem facing gay men. HIV that progressed to full-blown AIDS was a death sentence. “Safe sex” hadn’t permeated the lexicon.

Now, AIDS is “just” one of many sexually transmitted infections kids [should] learn about in health class. First world citizens who have access to the necessary drugs can live with not only HIV but also AIDS. Nonetheless AIDS still kills. Education is still critical. The NAMES Project’s AIDS Memorial Quilt lives on not only in physical form but also virtually; their web application leads to images of Quilt panels.

Here is a look back at the Quilt as a public ceremony, soon after its creation, through a paper I wrote for a graduate course in Public History [What is Public History]. Continue reading The NAMES Project Quilt as a New Public Ceremony, 1989