I’ve been reading the draft of an LGBTQ YA novel in which two gay couples are part of a high school baseball team.
I was passionate about baseball as a little kid, but didn’t play baseball at all after I was about 12. Some of the same reasons you cite prompted me to step away.
Baseball isn’t as inherently toxic, perhaps, as football. Intentional hitting isn’t part of the game. Defense is very complex and requires complex, self-sacrificing teamwork. But just like in football, we rarely see out queer players, probably because of hostile toxic masculinity.
What makes this novel interesting to me is that it’s not so far-fetched. Four gay players out of a 15-man squad is a little bit of a statistical anomaly, but as the author reminded me, statistical effects clump up all the time. What would be more weird would be if no high school ever had four gay players on a baseball team.
What makes the novel cool is that the author explores the season of a winning baseball team after they deliberately decide to embrace teamwork, embrace the two gay couples as friends and teammates, and blaze a path to success that doesn’t depend on toxic masculinity.
I believe we can imagine and implement new ways of being. I believe imagining stories is going to help us get there.