About Me

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matt_hennie_blog.jpgTry convincing unwitting friends that gay guys really do go to Braves games and you quickly arrive at the same paradox as I did. Gay men and lesbians don’t mix with sports. Or so goes the stereotype.

But it takes just a few minutes and a Google search to discover that a thriving gay sports scene exists in Atlanta, from soccer to softball. I learned that lesson early in my nearly eight-year stint with Window Media, the last five as editor of Southern Voice.

We covered the local gay sports scene while I was at the paper, but often in a hit or miss fashion. So last year, as the paper planned a fresh look and stronger focus on local news and happenings, I jumped at the chance to contribute a weekly sports column as a way to make good on an idea we had tossed around for several years. With a network of organizations that numbers at least 18 – and growing every week as I come across what seems to be an endless list of groups – the sports scene deserves regular coverage in the leading gay publication in town.

The column, which launched with the redesigned SoVo in March 2007, also served to whet my desires for a return to fulltime journalism. A year earlier, I left the paper for a communications position with the Atlanta Regional Commission, my first job outside journalism. But by last summer, I was ready for a return to writing and reporting and jumped ship from ARC to make that happen. In an unconventional twist to a pretty traditional career, I opted to go freelance. Yes, the world of self-employment and working from home. It’s an idea that I used to mock as something akin to career suicide that people with a mortgage and car payment should never consider, let alone actually do.

So, with the success of the sports column combined with some free time, I hatched an idea to jump into the fray of blogging. That’s where gaytlsports.com comes in. The name is a play on the ATL’s moniker as the gay mecca of the South. I launched the blog in December as a companion to the weekly sports column and a way to highlight and explore all of the happenings in the local gay sports scene. There’s so much that a weekly column just isn’t enough.

The blog, like most, is also a selfish indulgence. It combines three passions of mine – journalism, gay issues and sports. I’ve been a journalist my entire professional life (except the year-long stint as a government PR flak), a baseball, basketball and soccer fan for most of my life and gay since, well, sometime in elementary school. I’ve also been a sports official since I slipped on my first pair of black polyester shorts as a teen to become a volunteer soccer referee with my Dad for the YMCA where we lived in Savannah. Now, I officiate college and high school soccer and basketball.

With gaytlsports.com, I hope to chronicle all of what Atlanta’s gay sports organizations have to offer. And I define sports pretty loosely. There are the stalwarts, of course, like soccer, softball, flag football and swimming. There’s also the niche, including dancing, rodeo and outdoor groups. Check the blogroll for a complete list. (If I’ve missed any, let me know.)

The most fun and rewarding part of this endeavor is the feedback from gay jocks and jockettes who are hungry to read more. Keep it up by posting a comment on the blog or e-mailing me me with feedback. I want to hear from you.

Thanks for reading.

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