What Does Dick Butkus Have To Do With Being Trans?

Dick Butkus when he played for the University of Illinois

Well, nothing, really.

Dick Butkus has about as much to do with trans issues as this post has to do with science. (Yeah, I know I said my next post would be about science, but it ain’t!)

Today, however, I made a connection between Dick Butkus and being trans.  It went something like this…

I was perusing the Freshly Pressed blogs on the Word Press dashboard, as I often tend to do, and I zeroed in on a post about the recent crack-down by the NFL on illegal hits.

The blog is entitled “Tackling Like Butkus,” referring, of course, to one of the greatest … no, THE greatest NFL linebacker of all time, Dick Butkus.  (I will probably get arguments from Lawrence Taylor fans on that call.)

Dick Butkus, Middle Linebacker, Chicago Bears 1965-1973

The post got me to remembering a story my dad told me about his early days on the police force, how he had to eject a couple rowdy college football players from a diner late one night.  He said that they were so big, they were shoulder-to-shoulder even though there was an empty stool between them at the diner counter.  He was relieved when they left peacefully, and then found out that one of them had been Dick Butkus.

That got me wanting to watch Butkus play again, so I went from the blog post to YouTube and watched a highlight film about him.  The video reminded me of watching football on TV with my grandpa on Sunday afternoons when I was a kid, when Butkus played for the Bears.  Growing up in Illinois, of course, ‘da Bears’ ruled.

But what’s the point of all this anyway?

The point is, I found myself wondering when we will see a trans man play football in the NFL.

I wasn’t just wondering — I began to hope for it!  I think it could happen in my lifetime.  Why not?  All these young guys knowing who they are at an early age, going on hormone blockers and some getting chest surgery before they even get out of high school.  Yeah, why not?

First things first, though.  College ball!

Well, why couldn’t a young trans guy end up playing college football?  I’ve seen some mighty fine, strapping young trans men who went on testosterone when they turned 18.

I think there will come a day when young trans guys will start testosterone hormone therapy at an age that will allow them to go through puberty right along with all the other boys.

And then maybe one of them will play football in high school.  And earn a scholarship to play college ball.  And get chased out of a diner late one night by a young cop.  And then go on to get drafted by da Bears, just like Dick Butkus.

Well, why not?

–ATM

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6 Responses to What Does Dick Butkus Have To Do With Being Trans?

  1. j says:

    I’m thinking of Balian Buschbaum. He was gaining a lot of fame worldwide for his talent. And then he began transitioning. He had to give up competing because the substances that made his transition possible are banned by the IOC. He’s talented, has a sense of humor and looks handsome. There is the famous youtube video Balian Buschbaum/Sweet Dreams. I think he is a coach today.

    • Yes, thanks J. I woke up this morning and the first thing that popped into mind was that trans men are treated with testosterone which is a banned substance in pretty much all collegiate, semi-pro and pro sports.

  2. libertywolf says:

    Well, that would be something but to be honest, I don’t think we will ever have the size. I mean, those guys are big, even for non-trans men! They are HUGE! I have met one trans man who was 6’2″ but he did not have that kind of heft. Maybe he could have, but I don’t know.

    I doubt that starting earlier on T will make us grow taller, although I could be wrong. I think that height is largely genetic right? Also, that kind of muscle mass, massive even for non-trans dudes might elude us also.

    I do see hope in other sports though. Maybe, baseball or golf or gymnastics, where small men rule! In gymnastics being 5’4″ is a good thing. Also, becoming jockeys, they are also very small men. I could also see trans men in boxing, though the heavyweight stuff may elude us but we could get into other weight classes easily. Our reach might be a slight disadvantage, but a good fighter may be able to make it up in other ways.

    But, hey – you never know right? (as for football I mean) I mean, stranger things have happened.

    • Good points Liberty Wolf. Theoretically, hormone blockers at an early age should reduce ovarian estrogen so the epiphyseal plates in the long bones would fuse at a later age and allow tans boys to grow taller, if the right genetics are there. The testosterone administration at the age when non-trans boys are going through puberty should help put on the muscle, again, according to the individual’s genetics. But a trans guy wouldn’t have to be huge like Dick Butkus to play pro football. He could be like Wes Welker, a wide receiver for the New England Patriots, 5 ft 9 in, 185 lbs.

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