Words fail me right now. It is late and I’m trying to get this all out through the tears. At hockey tonight I heard the news of the tragic passing of Brendan Burke. Brendan wasn’t just the son of Toronto Maple Leaf general manager. He meant so much more.
Back in November a wonderful article was published about Brendan coming out to his hockey team. And he was loved and accepted. Brendan’s orientation didn’t affect friendships and he was able to be open and himself. At the time I wrote this on Brian’s acceptance of his son;
I wouldn’t expect anything less from Brian Burke. I think he is an amazing man and it’s wonderful that he is accepting of his son. What a fine display of being not only progressive, but what a father should be: loving and supportive. Some may think that this is a matter that should be private, but I absolutely applaud Brendan’s willingness to be open with his sexual orientation. Especially given the supremely rough and tumble reputation of sports and the response to homosexuals, it is refreshing that there is this story of hope. The slurs and the gender put downs just kill and it’d be nice to move beyond that.
I think these words still very much ring true. My thoughts are with Brian and his family. It may have been a short while, but Brendan’s story did a lot of good, I think. At the moment, we might not know just the ripples he caused, but eventually ripples do turn into waves. Perhaps Brendan’s story signaled a change in attitudes in athletics. That the time has come to move forward. I have faith that the story of Brendan caused some people to re-examine their words and actions. Little by little, we’re going to fix this all and Brendan was crucial in the process.
…And really, a person should not have to give up something they love because of others reactions to who they love. We need Brendan’s story in order to learn and move forward. Hopefully there will come a time, soon, when gay athletes are accepted and feel they can be open.
Pension Plan Puppets did a lot of good donating to Haiti. I think we should do a lot of good in the memory of Brendan. Donate to PFLAG if you can. They are an organization dedicated to helping bridge relations between family and friends when someone comes out of the closet. They work to spread love and tolerance, creating a better and accepting society for us all. We heard Brendan story, but think of all the others. There is something to be learned.
And thank you, Brendan.