What might the Twins have in common with the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, and Boston Red Sox? Obviously not their win-loss records (though with the Cubs, they're damn close.) No, these are the teams who have made, or are in the midst of making, an "It Gets Better" video.
The It Gets Better Project is the brainchild of Dan Savage, the advice columnist. Late last year, alarmed by the rise of suicides amongst LGBT teens, Savage, with his husband Terry Miller, made a YouTube video entreating these desperate young men and women not to give up--that life does indeed get better.[jump]
The project caught on like wildfire. Videos made to help these teenagers see that there's a future ahead of them that's full of promise flooded in.
This is a wonderful, wonderful thing. A lot had been made of the dangers of the internet, but the It Gets Better Project is the polar opposite--young people from Plano, Texas to Chicken, Alaska, kids who are tormented and bullied can find some solace online.
What's even better is the wide variety of kind people urging these troubled teens (and, I imagine, anyone who's bullied at any age) that life eventually reveals itself to be a joy. Politicians, artists, and athletes have all weighed in, making some great videos. If you don't care if Obama or Hillary tells you it gets better, maybe you'll dig Ke$ha, and if not her, the cast of House or Glee. Or, maybe you play some sport, are totally closeted, and you'd love to see a ballplayer chime in.
This is where the Giants come in. Just a few weeks ago, the Giants became the first professional sports team to make an "It Gets Better" video. And thank God for that.
I'm not gay, but jocks used to badger me to no end back in high school (I'm hesitating to call what they did 'bullying', though it did make me feel like shit.) If the Giants had made this in my day, it might have made me realize that life gets better... and that jocks aren't all douchebags.
When a baseball team makes a video like this, it sends two messages: the first is that it helps troubled youth to see that life does get better and that there's people out there who'll help, and people who understand.
But the message is two-fold. I'm not trying to make excuses for the jerks who bully, but sometimes the bullies are themselves victims, are troubled kids who don't think things through. In the video, which you can see below, the Giants are also saying that it's not OK to bully.
Just as it has in the world outside of pro sports, the video is catching on in the hallowed confines of Major League Baseball, for now the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox are in the midst of making a video as well.
According to Chris Iles, Corporate Communications Manager for the Twins, the team's "looking into" making their own "It Gets Better" video. "We're in the process of finding appropriate players, lining up production needs, etc.," he told me in an email. The Twins are in the midst of Twins Hope Week, so it's not happening right this minute. But Iles says that he "loves" what the Giants did, and that the Twins "will pull something together in the near future."
That's totally awesome.
And it leaves one wondering: who's going to participate? Personally I'd love to see the Twins video speak to this issue in three different languages: English (maybe even with an Australian accent), Spanish, and Japanese.
The possibilities are endless. Nice work, everybody.
Here's the Giants groundbreaking video: