Just when I think stories about gay athletes who are rivals and lovers – the subjects of my novel series “The Games Men Play” – may be preposterous comes news of the marriage of W.N.B.A. stars Britney Griner and Glory Johnson.
Griner, the center for the Phoenix Mercury, is the league’s top blocker; Johnson, a forward for the Tulsa Shock, the league’s No. 3 rebounder. They hit it off away from the courts and, despite a bump in the relationship that resulted in both being arrested on domestic violence charges (and suspended for seven games), married on May 8 in Phoenix.
It was a story I read with great interest, because the heroes of my forthcoming second novel “The Penalty for Holding” – Quinn and Tam, rival quarterbacks – consider marriage. (Griner and Johnson were also rivals during their college years, just like Tam and Mal – the third figure in my quarterback triangle – are.)
Adding a twist to the Briner-Johnson story: Johnson is straight.
Why would a straight woman marry a gay one?
“Britney is different,” The New York Times’ article quotes Johnson saying. “From the beginning, I could trust her. She’s extremely caring. It was a different feel.”
Of course, you might say, it’s possible that Johnson is in denial of her sexuality. But there’s a more intriguing possibility: That whom we love has less to do with gender than individuality. Or as Ellen DeGeneres once noted, You fall in love with a person.
Here’s wishing Griner and Johnson – who will now use the surname Johnson-Griner – a happy marriage.
As for my characters, well, you’ll just have to read how it all turns out, won’t you?