Yesterday may have been the greatest day of my life.
Hours after coming out publicly, telling a sports audience that I’m gay, I was standing in my backyard and thinking about how I’d never felt what I was feeling.
I described it on The Michael Kay Show as having had dark colored lenses lifted from my eyes. And, while my vision for the last 16 years (since I first came out to my mother) had not been shadowed by a darkness which was painfully omnipresent during my last 2-1/2 years in college, I finally realized that the windshield I’d been looking through for more than a decade was, indeed, caked with grime and grit.
But, I didn’t realize it until clarity came yesterday, hours after coming out on the radio. On ESPN Radio, no less.
I mean, this is sports. But, the reactions to my news from colleagues in the sports business blew me away.
The support from ESPN in New York was matched by the folks in Bristol. I cannot say how thankful I am for this support – particularly because we play in the sports business.
The outpouring of love and support sent me to tears several times yesterday. Tears of joy, of course. I mean, one close friend who’s a former sports colleague, called me yesterday, having only made it through half of the podcast of my announcement.
He was crying hysterically crying, trying to express how proud he felt. It gave me the chills. This type of action was repeated several more times throughout the day.
I never took my customary afternoon nap because I was responding to calls, emails and texts.
I did interviews with Newsday, the New York Daily News, and outsports.com. By the time I finally got ready to sleep – leaving myself less than four hours to rest before returning to work for my 10th “Maxed Out in the Morning” show on ESPN New York – I’d turned my phone off and plugged my iPad into its charger for the last time of the day.
Both units were drained of their batteries multiple times, as I responded to the wonderful well wishes.
I still haven’t gotten around to checking my Facebook account. When I began my workday on Thursday, I think I had 39 or 40 followers on Twitter. When I woke up this morning, I had 175.
When I came to work this morning, I knew we’d have a sizable audience tuning in to find out what the newly declared gay sports guy was going to say.
As I said yesterday, when I came out on the air, it was a one-day thing only. So, to those who tuned in hoping for something controversial, or just to check out what a gay sports guy sounds like, I hope you came away from our show thinking that you’d just heard must-listen sports radio – and that you forgot why you initially tuned in.
Thank you to all who have sent letters and texts and called me.
Courage isn’t as difficult to exercise as we build it to be. Like FDR said, the only thing we have to fear . . .
My gratitude, new-found zest for life, and much love, Jared Max.