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Etan Bednarsh is a die-hard New York Mets fan. In 2015, he watched in disbelief as the team made a homophobic joke on the stadium's kiss cam.



After cycling through a few couples in the stands, the Mets kiss cam featured two players from the opposing team. And the whole stadium laughed.



Photo by Richiekim/Wikimedia Commons.

"I don't blame the fans or the stadium. I think the Jumbotron has magical powers over people and you have to listen to whatever it tells you," Bednarsh told Upworthy. "But ultimately just thinking about what is that joke and what makes it funny, I don't think there's any rationale or justification for it that doesn't come back to the idea of two men or two male athletes kissing being inherently funny."

For Bednarsh, seeing his favorite team act so thoughtlessly toward its LGBT fans was a rude awakening.

"It's a real gut punch. Sports is an incredible thing. Especially sports fandom, is a thing that can unite people..." Bednarsh said. "To sit in a stadium for something you just want to love and just want to be a part of and to watch it be used in a divisive manner, it's just so disappointing."

He started tweeting at the team. He even compiled all his tweets into a collection. For a long time, he received no response from the Mets. But he kept tweeting.

And, eventually, they got the message. The Mets announced that, as of this week, they're doing away with the "ha-ha-two-dudes" kiss cam joke.

Bednarsh's tweets found their way to the Huffington Post, who, according to Bednarsh, reached out to the team for a statement and received the following reply:

"We have, on occasion, included players from opposing teams in our popular in-game Kiss Cam feature. While intended to be lighthearted, we unintentionally offended some. We apologize for doing so and no longer will include players in the feature. Our organization is wholly supportive of fostering an inclusive and respectful environment at games."

Kiss cams around baseball have been improving, slowly but surely.

Earlier in 2015, the Los Angeles Dodgers featured an actual, real-life, non-two-random-dudes-we're-trying-to-mock gay couple on their kiss cam. Their rival San Francisco Giants beat them handily to the punch, airing their first gay kiss cam couple way back in 2011.

The Mets aren't ... quite there yet. But progress has to start somewhere. And promising not to treat two men kissing as a joke is a good first step.

"It would be wonderful if every professional sports team could follow the example set by the New York Mets here and make this commitment," Bednarsh said.

Small tip o' the cap to the Mets for getting a little bit better. And for finally figuring this whole baseball thing out!

Lucas Duda, Metsing all over the place. Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images.

Most of the time, at least.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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