Mike Kaiser – 2009-2010 Essay

My name is Mike Kaiser. I was fortunate enough to be relocated to Madison about two years ago. At first, my partner Dale and I had dreaded moving from La Crosse for his job. The day we moved in, our neighbors Donna and Liz took us under their wings and got us active in the neighborhood and community. Prior to moving to Madison, we were never active members in the LGBTA community. We started to attend New Harvest benefits, gay softball, Camp Bingo, and of course MGHA hockey games. We talked to some people at a hockey game and they mentioned that MGHA is an outstanding gay hockey league.

The idea of playing hockey sounded exciting, but I was 36 years old and hadn’t really skated since I was ten. To top that off – except for swim team and track – I had not been on a team sport since soccer in grade school. Even then, I didn’t fit in. Although I didn’t know I was gay until my early twenties, I knew that I was different from the other boys. My parents tell this funny story from my “soccer” years. I was up against an opponent that fell down and got hurt. The other parents were yelling for me to make the goal, but I stopped and asked him if he was ok and missed an easy point. In tee ball, they tell me that I sat in outfield facing the wrong way looking for four-leaf clovers. I just wasn’t cut out for sports – or so I thought.

I started going to every practice session offered this summer and starting feeling more comfortable skating again. Then, I actually joined MGHA and have enjoyed it immensely ever since. I finally feel like I fit in. When someone smacks into me accidentally (or vice, versa), it is so awesome that they are like “oops sorry – you ok?”. The teams are very competitive, but in a very good natured way. It is still a struggle getting used to skating in tandem with learning the rules for hockey, but my team has been very supportive. They have helped me to become more confident in myself. Overall, I just love playing hockey. I’m more physically active and have made many new friends.