Chris Chase, USA TODAY Sports
Professional bowler Scott Norton hugged and kissed his husband after an upset win over Jason Belmonte at the 2012 PBA Chameleon Championship and few people outside the bowling world seemed to care or notice.
When Belmonte failed to roll a final strike in November's match (it finally aired on television this weekend), clinching the match for Norton, the 29-year-old broke down in tears and embraced his spouse, Craig Woodward.
The biggest deal of the whole thing was that it wasn't a big deal at all.
According to bloggers who watched the match on television, ESPN matter-of-factly referred to Norton and Woodward's marriage throughout the match, making note of the uniqueness of Norton being an openly-gay athlete but framing it as a backstory to his sporting accomplishments.
ESPN discussed aspects of Norton's story, like how he came out after a win in 2011, but treated it like necessary background and didn't sensationalize the story. When shots of Woodward were aired on television, he was referred to as Norton's husband or spouse.
The coupled was married on Oct. 22, 2011.
Norton had come out months earlier after being inspired by Phoenix Suns CEO and President Rick Welts. In a statement posted on the PBA website at the time, Norton wrote:
It is extremely important for me to come out to show other gay athletes, both current and future, that it is important to come out to show that we are just like everyone else. Being gay doesn't define who I am as a person or as a professional athlete.
I'm also a professional bowler, lawyer, caring, compassionate, strong, and many other things. It's important to show people that being gay has nothing to do with one's ability to do anything as a man, least of all compete at the highest level of sports.
It was the second victory of Norton's professional bowling career. His mother, Virginia, is a Hall of Famer bowler.
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