I know I'm not a journalist, but here is my blog on Shirts and Skins on Logo that is posted on www.myspace.com/sportsoutloud.
Unfortunately, I missed it on Monday, but caught the rerun this weekend. I was really impressed by how well this was done. From what I gathered, this was REAL reality. Snaps to the crew for making this so believable. Most reality shows do have that staged feeling to them. In this case, I felt that was going on, really happened without too much direction from the makers of this documentary/reality show.
On to the show.
It opens with Mike giving a brief history of the Rockdogs (I thought this was really cool) and makes mention of the four gold medals the team has won at the Gay Games (pretty impressive). Then he goes on to mention that after their last gold in 2006, the team kind of started to fall apart. The focus of the show is their preparation for the 2008 National Gay Championship in Chicago.
Mike goes on to talk about how they're all being brought back together two weeks before the championship in a training house obtained by some of the former Rockdogs players.
Next we see the guys practicing and meet Alex and "Papa Joe", the coach and team manager, respectively. Alex emphasizes that there were people who were around for him when he moved to San Francisco and that his part in the team is to "pay it forward" for the next group of players. Papa Joe is more focused on the fact this they are not just a team, but a family. From the beginning, we get that Papa Joe really is the heart of the team. He's their cheerleader and their mentor. He appears to have quite a bit of wisdom to impart on these young men.
We also got to see something many people don't think about when they think about gay sports, the business side. We get to the Rockdogs first team meeting. Rory points out that there are many other teams out there want to defeat them. He wants to make sure they know there is major work to be done and that their wins aren't going to be something that just happens because they show up. They also have a little bit of discussion about their opponents. Papa Joe lets them know that they have to work to raise some money, in addition to work they have to do on the court. As we all know, travel is expensive and this is a group of people that will be traveling together. Prostitution anyone? We also get a little bit of foreshadowing about the maturity levels of some of the players, at this point.
A conversation between Rory and Jamel follows. Rory appears to be doing what friends do, listen and help you figure things out, but Jamel is being pretty vague about things. They both mention how important family is to both of them. Jamel transitions the conversation to Mike jumping on him while he was "slumbering" the night before.
We then get a little more about Jamonce (Jamel). Mike tells us that he loves attention, and he appears to be right. He's also very clear that the rest of them enjoy this because it's pretty good entertainment. And then, it gets serious. Jamel is out on the balcony with some of the guys reading the Bible. Rory proceeds to ask if Jamel thinks being gay is a choice and he responds by saying, "Trust me, it's a choice," with a look that supports his confidence in his opinion. Rory seems very disturbed and possibly offended by his remarks (which are understandable) and of few of the others players appear to be troubled. Chris however, is very calm in stating that Jamel is very young and remembers himself at that age and understands that Jamel is going to figure things out in his own time. What wisdom! I and a friend of mine thought it peculiar that a gay team would have such a low level of tolerance for someone's opinions; when people are passionate about what they believe, this is to be expected.
Hmmm....I wonder if Chris is going to be the voice of reason in a few other situations.
Papa Joe shows up a little later and Rory takes him to where Rory keeps his things. He shows Papa Joe Jamel's Bible and tells him about the conversation from earlier. This leads Papa Joe to engage Jamel about his beliefs. The conversation goes nowhere and Joe seems even more frustrated than he would have been if he'd have just left it alone.
In the second half of the show, we get to how the Rockdogs really play. Initially there is some concern about the Fire Department, their opponents. Pete's impression is that the Fire Department will be exactly like some of the other gay teams they will be playing in Chicago, while Mike worries that DeMarco's absence will affect them negatively. "We gonna lose," is the sentiment given by Jamel, which (understandably) frustrates Mike.
Well, after seeing this game, you can see that these guys can really play and have a considerable amount of talent. At the half, the Dogs were ahead and their focus was on defense. The Fire Department looked as though they less confident and more frustrated. They beat the Fire Department (a pretty imposing team) with a score of 129-95. Pete's felt he could see in their faces that they weren't very happy to lose to a gay team. At this point, Papa Joe feels much more confident about the team.
Note to Pete: ROSS!?!?!?
DeMarco makes his arrival after the game. Everyone seems very happy to see him except for his cousin, Jay. Maybe we'll find out a little more about that later.
Oddly enough, we catch the team praying at dinner. Interesting.....
Coach Alex then talks to the players about the game and there is discussion about how the game went. Papa Joe shares his frustrations and demands the players respect their coach and have more confidence in what he's doing. On the side, Jay and Jamel have an argument that escalating and getting more and more out of hand until Chris becomes emotional about the lack of respect some players have for each other and how little the fighting gets accomplished. The episode ends with Chris saying, "For what, for what?"