The first Olympic Trials that any of the Gang would compete in were swimming and diving. Billy was virtually a shoo-in for both platform and springboard, but there was no way that we were going to let him complete in something so important without showing our support. The trials would be in Champaign, Illinois, at the University of Illinois. I suggested that Tim and I drive down the day before the trials, but Tim countered, saying, "Nope. Charlie, you need to stay here and keep up your archery practice."
"What about your gymnastics?"
"We can be honest with each other, can't we?"
"Yes, of course."
"Well, Charlie, I'm going to qualify in gymnastics if I don't go near a gym from now until the trials. That's just a fact. You really need your practice. Right?"
Of course he was right. I stayed home and Tim flew to Chicago, where Billy, Sara, and Billy's parents picked him up and drove on to Champaign. Larry, his wife, and Fred drove in a separate car directly to Champaign. It had been a two day drive for both.
Diving would involve two days of the swimming and diving trials, so they would spend three nights and head back north the day after the diving trials. On the way south Billy raised the question of who Tim would be rooming with. Billy said, "Look, Tim, I'll be honest, I want you with me the first two nights. I think you should spend the third night with Fred. I don't think he's ready for sex, but I think he'd really benefit from having someone to cuddle up to for a night. And who knows, his hands might wander."
Sara said, "You know, I think I might sleep with Fred the first night, if he'll have me, and let you two be alone together. It think it would be good for both of you."
Billy said, "Sara, I can't believe how much you love me, and trust me. And Tim. Thank you."
Tim said, "I think you may be right, Sara. I have no idea how receptive Fred may be to that idea."
Bill and Martha Carson, Billy's folks, got to Fred in the hotel lobby while the young people were taking care of both cars and luggage. Martha said to Fred, "We just had the most remarkable trip south with the kids. I couldn't believe that they were willing to have the conversation that they had while we were in the car. We didn't say a word to spoil anything. We are well aware of the sexual shenanigans of the Gang, but they are expanding their vistas. You are about to be included, so be ready."
"I've been warned. But are you two comfortable with all of this?"
"It was obvious from the very beginning that Tim and Charlie were two pretty sexual animals. They were open about it, but they never came on to Billy while he was a minor. On his eighteenth birthday he opened the door, not the other way around - you know all about that, Fred. We decided from the beginning that we trusted Tim and Charlie - and Billy. It's blown our minds, but we still trust them. But I think we'll keep to our own room tonight. Good luck, Fred."
Fred thought he was ready for anything that the Gang might throw at him, especially after Bill and Martha's warning. But Sara's suggestion fooled him. She went on to say, "Look nothing needs to happen. But Billy needs the time with Tim, alone."
Fred said, "Then we'll just get an additional hotel room."
Sara said, "Then we'd both be alone and lonely. Please, Fred, share yourself."
He did. When they got into the room Sara said, "Look, Fred. I'm on the pill. Anything can happen here. Billy is very comfortable with it all, as you know. I don't want to push you into anything, but you don't have to be lonely for the rest of your life."
When she came out of the bathroom and was ready for bed she was naked. She crawled into the bed and waited for Fred to use the bathroom. The room was dark, but she could see when he came to bed that he was naked as well. She kind of cuddled up to him and waited for him to make any move that he might make. Before long his hand roamed a little.
He said, "Sara how can you want to have sex with an old man like me?"
She replied, "Fred, I love you. Not like I love Billy, but like I love Tim. You're a pretty handsome guy, but that is truly beside the point. I guess for a lot of people sex is a matter of self-gratification, and I guess being fucked by a real gorgeous guy, or fucking a voluptuous girl, adds to it. But for me, and I think everybody in the Gang, sex follows love. People would call us promiscuous, but I don't know of any situation with the Gang where love, or at least the clear beginnings of love, did not precede the invitation for sex. Tim did not allow himself any overtures to Martin until they had gotten to know him, and he was on his way up to Ironwood. By the time that first day on the road had gone by, Tim was pretty sure that Martin was going to fit in, and sex was part of fitting in. Besides, Martin needed a sexual experience to really discover whether he was gay. He is, by the way, very gay.
Fred mused, "How do I fit in?"
"Fred, you have been so wonderful to Tim, Charlie, and as you have gotten to know them, all of the Gang. You know, you're family, not just a friend. And, it's not your money, though we'll have to admit that it has certainly supported the Gang, it's you. You bring your entire personality to the relationship, holding nothing back. We all love you. And for us, that is the basis of sex. We are asking that you stop holding back your physical self."
Fred said, "I think exactly the same of every single one of you. Let me kiss you, Sara. One thing led to another and eventually he was on top of her. She told him later that evening, and Tim the next day: "Fred's a good fuck!"
Tim and Billy held each other more than anything, though they did admit that before the night was out each had sucked the other. The next day Billy simply confirmed for all who watched that he was the best diver in the world off the platform. That night was much more chaste for all concerned, and the next day Billy proceeded to prove that he was the best diver in the world off the springboard. His dives were relentlessly perfect. Tim reported back to me, "Charlie, the kid is phenomenal. I was never that good. He'll claim both gold medals in his sleep. I couldn't believe it." There wasn't anyone on earth more qualified to make that judgement than Tim, and he meant every word.
The last night in Champaign Tim roomed with Fred. He told Fred, "OK, you crossed the line with Sara, how about me?"
Fred said, "Tim, you're a man. I'm not sure I'm ready for that, to be perfectly honest."
Tim said, "May I try to seduce you?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that you may find doing something with me is more fun that you expect, if you give me a chance to show you. And if you don't respond, well, you don't respond."
"I have to go to the bathroom. I'll answer your question when I come back from the bathroom."
When he came back Tim was laying flat on his back on the bed, naked as a jaybird, and hard as a rock. Fred took one look and said, "OK, you win. You really are one sexy creature. God, you're gorgeous. Seduce me."
A half hour later Fred was spurting into Tim's mouth, after having his whole body gently ministered to by Tim's fingers, lips, and tongue. They kissed, and Fred said, "I understand a lot now that I never really understood. Thank you. But, Tim. I'm not ready to suck you."
Tim said, "Just hold me, and I'll lay here and jack off. I'd enjoy it, you'll enjoy watching. Just relax." Tim took his time and really enjoyed being held by the man who had supported him in so many ways. He told me later, "Charlie, you can't imagine the joy I got out of giving Fred pleasure, and then giving myself pleasure as he held me. It was wonderful."
I said, "You got all the fun. Next trials, I'm going with you."
The next trials were in Ann Arbor: wrestling. Jim, Andy, Kara, and Amy came in to support Martin. Paul and Amanda came down.
The weekend after his return from Ironwood Martin had gone home to visit his parents in Ypsilanti. He had decided that it was time to come out of the closet and felt that he owed it to his parents to tell them first. Somewhere he got the inner strength to do it. It must have been tough. He was absolutely right about their reaction. "Sin. Of the devil. Not in our house. Never."
He had packed up his things the next day and come to our house. He told us the story and asked if he could put some boxes in our basement until he could figure out what to do with them. There wasn't room in his dorm room, and besides, he would have to move out of the dorm at the end of April when term ended. It was pretty obvious that he would end up with us for the
So, when the wrestling trials came to Ann Arbor, Martin was already living at our house. The others simply moved in around him, and us, during the trials. Martin couldn't believe that Jim and his family had come, or that Paul and Amanda had come down from Ironwood. He was even more surprised when Jeff and Dick showed up from Detroit.
Paul and Amanda announced that they had been thinking about sex, well, the who not the how of sex. They wanted to be considered part of the Gang. We were sure that we were speaking for everyone when we agreed that it was time for the Gang to grow by four: Paul, Amanda, Dick, and Jeff. Tim went up to his study and came downstairs with a oversized Magic Marker. He said, "OK, you four, pull your pants down and moon us." They got the numbers 39, 40, 41, and 42 inscribed on their buns.
Martin said, "What about me?"
Tim said, "Pull 'em down." Martin did, and got a 43 on his buns.
He said, "How do I explain this in the locker room?"
Tim said, "That, my friend, is your problem."
The Gang of 8 had grown to 43. I couldn't believe it. And they were the most wonderful 43 people that I could ever have imagined calling my friends.
The sleeping arrangements were so confused and jumbled, and ever-changing, that I couldn't possibly remember who did what and with whom. But we did a lot, had a good time, and insured that our new members did not leave as strangers. The women made a special effort to prove that Martin was at least a little straight. He passed their test.
The wrestling was an anticlimax. Martin was unstoppable. The Michigan wrestling coach came over to Tim and asked, "What has come over that kid? He was always good, but since that trip he took with you and Charlie he's had a spark that he never had before."
Tim smiled and said, "Love and support. It's my theme. The proof is in the pudding. By the way, it's nice to have Jim and Paul visit, even if only for a couple of days. They have become an important part of Martin's support team. Look out Munich."
He responded, "Can you work that kind of magic on anyone?"
"Nope, it has to start with the athlete, not me. Martin approached me after the group meeting. He was open to the kind of love and support he could get from me, and I happened to know Jim and Paul. There was lots of luck involved. It all worked out."
The coach took Jim, Paul and Martin out for dinner. Jim could have suggested inviting spouses, but he didn't want to just bring one, and bringing three would have required an explanation he wasn't ready to give, so he and Paul left their spouses behind with the rest of the Gang.
In the two weeks since the disaster with his parents Martin had come out to a few key friends on campus, including his roommate, Parker. In addition he had visited a meeting of one of the gay support groups on campus. All that had gone better than he had hoped for. In particular, Parker's response had been, "OK, as long as you don't want to sleep with me."
Martin had responded, "It's not whether I want to sleep with you, but whether you want to sleep with me. If you want to, let me know."
Parker had replied, "I'll think about it, but don't hold your breath." The relationship between them, which had always been friendly but not close, didn't seem to change. That was all that Martin could ask for. They were scheduled to continue to be roommates the next year. Martin wondered if that would change, but it didn't. Nothing was ever said, but, "See you in September," as they separated for the summer.
We had a celebratory dinner the last night, after Martin had clinched the top spot for his weight on the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team. Martin thanked us all for coming and announced, "You know that in the last three weeks I have come out as a new man, a gay man. Thank you for your support of me as a wrestler and as a gay man. I love you all. But I am also a different person now. From now on I want to be called Marty. I like Charlie, Billy, and the fact that most of you use nicknames. Please call me Marty."
Jim said, "Tim, has he met Franklin? He'd better not call him Frankie."
Tim said, "I don't think he'll try."
Archery practice or not, I designated myself the support team for Hal as he went to the track and field trials in Texas. He flew over from North Carolina and I flew from Detroit. Sue stayed home, saying that she thought that Hal would really enjoy time alone with me. The marathon was on a Friday and we flew in Wednesday. We would each fly home on Saturday. Wednesday night was my chance to enjoy making love to "legs of steel." I simply could never get over Hal's legs. He knew they turned me on, and when we were together he would rub them up against me, sit with them sticking out toward me on a stool, or slowly lift one up and down. The latent power in those things never failed to arouse me. Hal loved it. When he'd get me good and hard he'd walk across the motel room and rub my groin with his knee. My God!
After about an hour of that torture, we went out to dinner. He had arrived in jeans, been sitting in the room in his underwear, but now slipped on fairly short khaki shorts. I wasn't sure I was going to make it through dinner.
Back in the room he pulled off his shorts and lay on the bed. "What are you willing to do for me, if I let you have your way with my legs?"
"Anything you want."
"Will you fuck me?"
"You know better."
"I was pretty sure of that. But I was curious."
"Other than that, anything you want."
"Get your clothes off."
They flew off.
"Pull my briefs off."
They flew off.
Done with pleasure.
"Help me get the rest of my clothes off."
"Lay down on the bed, pull your legs up, and show me your ass."
Done. At once Hal had his fingers working their way inside me. He found my prostate, and worked me over pretty hard.
Hal said, "OK, do the same for me, suck me when you're ready, and you can have the legs all to yourself."
I started at his right big toe, worked up past his ankle and knee to his groin, and then worked back down to his left big toe. I used my tongue, lips, fingers, nose, everything. Then I just pressed my face between his thighs and squeezed his legs together on me. He would tense his muscles and almost give me an orgasm. Finally I turned him over, put my face between his thighs from the rear, worked up to his ass, and licked it and shoved in.
Hal said, "I think you'll need a finger to find my prostate."
I did, and I found it. "Oh, God, suck me Charlie."
I did, and I got it all.
Hal said, "Let me watch you jack off."
We lay on our backs, head to foot. I could rub both of his legs with my left hand while I jacked off with my right. Hal watched intently. It didn't take me long. Oh, God, what a night. We were both utterly content.
Thursday Hal bounded out of bed early, saying "I'm only going to run four miles today, but I want to move pretty fast. I'll be back in under half an hour. You can shower with me. You can even wash my sweaty legs. But if I let you do that, you have to jack off for me again. That was neat last night."
That's exactly what we did, about a half hour later. As I came, I asked Hal if he didn't want an orgasm.
"Not the day before an important race. I like the sexual tension. Tomorrow night you are in trouble. Be ready to defend your ass."
We wandered over to the field house and watched some of the other events. Hal ate large, but carefully conceived meals. He stayed off of his feet as much as possible. He was clearly ready for the big race.
At 7:00 a.m. Friday morning the marathon started. Hal's personal pace was planned at 2 hours 12½ minutes. I had asked Hal if he had ever run that fast a marathon. "Just twice. But that is what it's going to take to get a medal in Munich."
Hal made his mark, almost on the dot, but came in seconds behind Frank Shorter who won at 2:12:24. It was going to be an incredible match in Munich!
I successfully defended my ass that night, but not much else. Hal was wild. We finally came, fronting each other, spilling cum between our abdomens. Hal insisted we sleep in the mess, and I quickly agreed. We woke in the middle of the night and repeated, but had to pee before we could go back to sleep. We decided that we'd clean ourselves up before we peed. What a night. What an athlete. What an honor for me that he choose me to celebrate with! I loved him then, and I do now.
Archery and gymnastics trials were again scheduled at the same time. Gymnastics was at Cornell and archery in Los Angeles of all places. Tim and I had to go our separate ways. Hal insisted that he was going to be my support group, and Marty insisted on going with Tim. There was some debate as to whether I needed more than one person, but I insisted that Hal would be wonderful. Tim liked the idea that Marty wanted to join him, and insisted that he and Marty would have a great time together, and he couldn't possibly need more support than that.
According to Tim, he had as exciting a time with Marty as I had had with Hal in Texas. The first night Marty had said, "Tim, the last time we were together I wasn't ready to suck you. I've thought about that since, and I'm sorry. But I have determined that there isn't anything that I'm not willing to do that you're willing to do. Push me this week."
Tim replied, "First, there is nothing to be sorry for. We don't ever push past someone's comfort zone - we always respect that. And be careful what you say you are willing to do. Some people are into some really weird stuff. You were smart, you qualified it by limiting it to things I'm willing to do. But, Marty, you're in for it."
Within minutes Tim had Marty tied to the bed, and he did just about everything to him that I had done to him or he had done to me. He told me that he had considered shaving Marty, but had decided that he would respect our rules, and shaving was outside them. It didn't stop him from leaving Marty tied up while he went out to the drugstore, brought back shaving items, lathered him up, and shaved him with a bladeless razor. Marty had been a good sport and had been willing to let him, but had certainly been relieved when nothing came off!
Tim untied him, showered him, and pushed him pretty hard to suck Tim, and swallow it all. Tim worked over Marty's ass with his tongue, and then expected the same from Marty. Marty turned out to be a good sport and took it all, did it all. Tim finally sucked Marty, kissed him, and let Marty experience eating his own cum. Then they hugged and Marty said, "God, Tim, thank you. I really needed to be pushed. I wanted it badly. I'm not sure why, but I feel so close to you now. Just, thanks."
Tim said, "I think I understand, Marty. I did push pretty hard, because I sensed that's what you wanted. Charlie and I have done all of that; in fact he actually shaved my pubes when he had me tied up. But we've never done it all in one night. You were pretty brave."
They slept, entwined in each other's arms. The next day Tim turned in a brilliant performance, which he insisted to Marty was the direct result of their evening's fun. He qualified for the team, and as an individual in all six events. He did note that this was the first important tournament in over a year in which he had not met Tor. That match-up would next occur in Munich.
Hal and I pretty much repeated our performance in Texas. Except this time he said, "Charlie, this trip you get my legs unconditionally, anyway you want them, any time. You don't have to perform, just ask."
I did. God, nothing could move me to perform more than his legs of steel. Well, Tim's body could, but Tim was unavailable in New York. Hal was wonderful. My shooting was not as exceptional as Hal's running, but I did qualify. Tim and I, and Hal, Billy, and Marty, would walk together in the Munich Opening Ceremony. By now it was more than Tim's dream, it was our dream. And it would come true.
Tim and I had agreed to be the commencement speakers at Billy's graduation ceremony at UND. It was that time, early June, and we boarded a plane for Minneapolis and changed there for Fargo. Prexy met us in Fargo and took us to Dakota House - the home of the President of the University of North Dakota. He didn't pull any punches, "This is going to be your house someday, you might as well start getting used to it."
Commencement was the next morning in the field house. We assembled in the gym next door, along with all of the faculty in their fancy academic robes. There had been some discussion as to what robes we should wear. It was the tradition almost everywhere, as the commencement speakers we would be paid not in dollars but in an honorary degree. Most people wouldn't characterize the granting of honorary degrees to commencement speakers as a fee for services, but that pretty much describes it. Prexy didn't try very hard to deny it. As such we could have worn a doctoral robe, but both Tim and I wanted to wear the hoods and robes appropriate to our existing degrees - his Master's Degree from Maryland and my J.D. from the UND Law School. For each of us it was only the second occasion for us to wear the robes and hoods. Prexy had insisted on one other feature of our costume. He had gone over to our house and he and Billy had opened the case that held our Olympic medals and removed one of Tim's, and my only, gold medals. Just before we marched in he pulled them out of his pocket and draped them around our necks. OK, I'll admit, it really felt good to wear the medal. I hadn't actually worn it since the public appearances that occurred right after the games.
Appropriately dressed like peacocks, we marched in just ahead of Prexy and took our seats in the center of the stage along with Prexy, the President of the Trustees, and senior faculty. It wasn't lost on us, nor on anybody else on the stage, that Tim had been an undergraduate and I had been a law student at UND contemporaneously with this graduating class!
The stage held two podia, one at each side, and when it was time for us to speak, we both approached them at the same time. Tim spoke first. He noted that he had been a senior when this class had been freshmen, and as such he was not able to assume the role of the father figure who gives sage advice to the young of a new generation heading out into the world. He acknowledged that he was still a student, and had yet to head out into the world himself, so he was hardly in a position to give fatherly advice.
He then acknowledged his friendship with Billy and indicated that Prexy had invited us to speak largely because of that friendship.
I took over then and noted that not only was Billy well known to his class, he had already spoken this day as the class Valedictorian. I told how Tim had told Billy that not only was he expected to be the best diver in the world he was also expected to never again get a grade of B. I hoped that everyone here would pay attention to Tim in the way Billy had He was graduating with a perfect A average - top of his class.
What else would Tim talk about but love and support? It was his theme in life. It had worked for him; it had worked for Billy; it had worked for Charlie. He went on and told other stories of people it had worked for, including Judy and Marty - both of whom would be in Grand Forks beginning in the fall.
It came to me to describe Tim's arguments with Bo Schembechler in Michigan. I got some good laughs as I described the disagreement, and especially Bo's horror at the idea that Tim might actually have something to do with a football team some time in the future. I turned to warn Prexy and Dr. Stephens, the Director of Athletics, about not letting him near the UND football team.
I did turn serious, and I told of how Tim had been nourished among family and friends who understood the concept of love and support and delivered in spades. I gave the same credit to Billy's family, and insisted that Norman, Betsy, Sara, Bill, and Martha stand and be introduced.
The entire presentation was laced with anecdotes of my and Tim's, mostly Tim's, experiences with famous athletes and other persons. Tim could tell these wonderfully, and I wasn't too bad at it. To think that at our stage in life we were able to include a president, chief justice, senators, university presidents, innumerable athletes, and so many other important persons in the list of people we could tell personal anecdotes about - well it was staggering. The whole thing went over well, and Tim and I had the good sense to keep it blessedly short. We got a standing ovation. We spent that night with Billy and Sara. The four of us squeezed into our bed, and we enjoyed simply cuddling before we drifted off to sleep.
The next morning Billy drove the four of us to Fargo and we were headed back to Ann Arbor and the rough and tumble of final preparations for the Olympics.
Marty had moved out of the dorm at the end of the Michigan term and moved in with us. As soon as their school was out Paul and Amanda came down to Ann Arbor. Paul intended to be Marty's personal coach and trainer until the Olympics. They spent all day at the gym. It was about four and a half miles from our house on North Campus to the gym on South Campus. They ran it each morning and back just before supper. Paul was almost a bigger slave driver than Tim. Marty seemed willing to do anything for Paul, and it was pretty clearly based, not on Olympic fever, but on his being totally accepted by Paul, and all of us, as a gay man. He, Paul, and Amanda slept together every night. The usual pattern was that Paul would suck Marty and then fuck Amanda. Sometimes it varied, but that was the routine. They all seemed completely content.
Hal kept up his usual schedule of running a full marathon once or twice a week. The U.S. Olympic coach was very unhappy with Hal's training protocols. "Hal, you run too many marathons! One a month at most. You want to save your reserves for the races that count. You body can't stand up to as many marathons as you run."
Hal just laughed. "I know all about the conventional wisdom. I think its crap. If you have to stretch yourself to make a marathon you should be running half-marathons. A real marathon runner should find it a comfortable distance, just as a sprinter should sprint a distance that's comfortable for him. And he should do it again, and again, and again. Then when the big race comes, he's ready. My body rolls off marathons like a sprinter rolls off 100 meter races. My legs just roll along. I've never sprained them, never pulled a muscle. A marathon isn't pushing my body, it's accommodating it. Pushing is when I run two marathons an hour apart. I do that, but not very often."
The coach, and a few other runners that happened to be near, just listened in disbelief. Hal truly was a unique runner. Nobody tried to suggest an alternate practice routine again. Hal commented, "I don't really consider the running I do to be practice. It's recreation. If I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't do it. But a day without at least a twelve mile run, or a week or so without a marathon, just leaves me restless and puts me in a bad mood. If I'm moody, Sue just pushes me out the door and says, 'Run.' It works. I come back in a better mood."
Tim kept up his diving and gymnastics on his usual routine. He really didn't have to do any special practice in gymnastics, just keep in good shape.
Billy treated his diving in North Dakota the same way.
I was working my butt off trying to get my archery back up to the point where I could be consistent at the level I had been four years before. I was kicking myself for letting my practice schedule slip the last four years. Tim reminded me of law school and clerking, and said that everybody has to recognize that they simply can't do everything. His school schedule was much more conducive to maintaining athletic skills than law clerking. He didn't mention that he kept up in two sports, which had a total of eight different events, and I was only expected to keep up in one!
Fred's bombshell arrived in early June. He had told us that we were to leave all transportation and housing to him. He had assembled a list of who would be going: if you had even a hint of a relationship to any of the five athletes, or the Gang, you were on Fred's list. It numbered 87! We were to meet in New York on August 12 and sail, First Class, on the QE2 to Southhampton, where a chartered jet would be waiting to take us to Munich. He had - four years before, right after Mexico City, if you can believe it - booked an entire hotel with about 50 rooms. They would be ready for us on August 16, and we would have ten days before the opening ceremony on the 26th. Ten days for practice, sightseeing, fun, love, and who knew what else. Clearly the sporting goods business was doing well.
We had a glorious trip on the QE2: fabulous accommodations, food and entertainment. The entire Gang was aboard, except for Tina and Merle who were going to come from Paris and meet us in Munich. Fred had arranged for a private dining room for the 87 of us. The first night Fred asked all of the official Gang members to stay on in the dining room after dinner. We hated the idea of asking people to leave: these were our good friends, coaches, several of Fred's employees from Grand Forks, Prexy and his wife, Dr. and Mrs. Olafson, Tina's parents, Chrissy and Orville, Sherm and Thelma (Alice had been invited, but said that at age 88 she had probably had her last trip to Europe). However, they all seemed to understand that there was something special about the "Gang" and we were left alone.
Tim had talked with Billy and his parents earlier in the day, and Billy had warned them well in advance what was coming. We had no idea how they might respond to an invitation to be part of the Gang, but after their reaction to Billy's birthday party we were pretty sure that they could handle the invitation, regardless of their response. Bill was a pretty savvy guy. He asked, "Billy, if your mother and I accept the invitation to be part of the Gang, along with all the other parents, are we committing to something sexual, or only agreeing to be open to the idea."
Billy had responded, "Agreeing to be open to the idea. Nobody gets pushed; everybody's comfort zone is respected. We consider Tom's folks part of the gang, but they have said, 'No,' to sex, at least for now."
"In that case, we're really already part of the Gang; we have certainly been welcomed in every situation in Grand Forks, and Fred's invitation to be on this trip was wonderful, if unexpected. We had assumed that we were going to simply fly to Munich to watch you."
Billy said, "Dad, Mom. From that first dinner in Fargo, when Tim talked about me being a sexy little kid, and Dad bought me that fishnet shirt, you've been pretty open to talking about sex. Tim told me that the idea of Sara and I losing our virginity while the Gang watched was your idea. You guys have boggled my mind several times. After all that, don't tell me that you aren't going to be tempted by the idea of having sex with Tim, or Charlie, or Hal, or someone."
His mom said, "Tempted, yes. But we'll just have to see how far it goes. But tell the Gang we'd like to be considered members."
After Fred got the room cleared, and invited Bill and Martha to stay with the Gang, he invited me to speak. "First, I want to welcome Paul and Amanda and Dick and Jeff to this first gathering of the Gang since they became members. And I want to introduce our two newest members, Bill and Martha Carson, Billy's parents. That brings the total to 45, an incredible number. 43 of us are on the ship, and Merle and Tina will be joining us at the hotel in Munich. The Gang is complete, except for Felix, and my parents who would certainly have wanted to be considered members, had we thought of expanding into a new generation while they were still with us. I want to remind us all of Franklin's letter and the responses to it. Not everyone here has indicated that they are open to Franklin's suggestions, but nobody will be offended by invitations extended. No one need be embarrassed by such an invitation, nor embarrassed to say that their comfort zone is being pushed. As will be said to five of us in about two weeks, 'Let the games begin.'"
At one point Jim actually suggested a scorecard: a huge grid that kept track of who did what and with whom. But he was shouted down. "No score keeping," seemed to be the agreed rule. On the ship, Tim and I decided that we would stick with each other. Once in the hotel we wandered a little. In particular, we sought out Jim and Andy's parents; after reading Curtis' letter to the Gang. Like their children, they were sharing a double hotel room, with two queen beds. We were invited to spend the night one night, and we did. They seemed to have gotten over all inhibitions, either regarding extra marital sex or intergenerational sex. Let's just say that we had a very pleasant night.
One morning we were joined at breakfast by Herb and Phyllis. Phyllis said, "We feel pretty special. We are the only members of the Gang of our generation that aren't parents. I think we lived in the right city, and got to know you two at the right time."
I responded, "We have been delighted that you have been a part of us. We were, however, almost blown away by Norman's letter to the Gang. The six of you! Wow."
Phyllis said, "That drive to Boston was really something. When Tim pulled our hands together on top of his groin, I thought my heart would pop."
I said, "As I remember it, you did carry on a little with John and Hazel on that trip."
"Indeed we did. But not with you two. It's time. Tonight?"
Herb said, "Oh, by the way. Hal fired me as his coach about a month ago."
Tim said, "What?"
I got it. "Great. That means you're best friends now. Right?"
"And so are we. Right?"
"See you tonight. Your room, you've got two beds."
After they had gone Tim said, "What was that all about? What did he mean that Hal had fired him?"
"Kid, you're getting old. You're forgetting things. Remember the trip to Boston in the van?"
"We talked about Herb having sex with the Gang, just theoretically."
"Right, and he said there was a coach/athlete relationship that prevented it. And that it extended to Hal's bunch of friends, the Gang."
"Right. He's telling us that he's past that. I suspect that he was also telling us that the two of them have spent the night with Hal and Sue."
Hal confirmed that when we asked him later in the day. "Charlie, it took a little getting used to. But Herb and Hazel have loved me from the beginning. Excluding them from the circle simply didn't make sense. They finally agreed. But, Charlie, he needs a lesson from you on how to make love to a pair of legs!"
I couldn't wait to kid Herb about that! And I did that night. Herb had admitted that making love to Hal was the first homosexual experience in his life. With the other couples they had stuck with straight pairings. Herb said, "I know that Tim says there is a little gay in everybody, and I was willing to try. Hal's quite a boy, and we did have a good time together. But I'm still learning."
"I'm a good teacher," said Tim, and I agreed, while I suggested that I was as well.
Tim said, "Where are John and Hazel. Aren't they usually part of your frolics?"
I said, "Did you leave them out for a reason, or would you like to have them join us?"
"No reason. We just thought there might be less of a hurdle for both of us with a smaller group."
"The more the merrier." I called John and Hazel's room, found them in, and invited them to join us. Their response did not sound like reluctance.
Phyllis said, "I am going to have to find a lesbian partner. The women of my generation have no experience."
I said, "The only lesbian relationship in the Gang is Amy and Kara. Spend the night with them."
"I hardly know them."
"You're all in the Gang together. Don't be shy. They won't be."
Tim picked up the telephone and made a call. "Jim. Hi. It's Tim. Could we borrow Amy and Kara for a while. We have a couple of ladies here that need a lesson in lesbianism. Thanks. Have them come to Herb's room. See ya'."
It wasn't long before there was a knock on the door and in walked John, Hazel, Amy and Kara. They seemed surprised to see each other, and at the size of the group we had assembled: eight.
I said, "Look, this may be getting out of hand. If people are uncomfortable they should say so. Amy and Kara, we have two women here who have no experience with other women. On the other hand, there is plenty of gay experience present. Can you help us out?"
"Hell, yes," said Amy. "Why are you people standing around with your clothes on? Come on, get 'em off."
Tim led. No surprises there. Amy and Kara were next, and I was close on their heels. Kara looked around and said, "Well, we can tell which generation feels a little reluctant. I hope not uncomfortable, just reluctant. Come on kids, get those clothes off!"
Tim said, "OK, Herb and John. We know you both have hard-ons, and that makes you a little embarrassed to take off your clothes. If boys have hard-ons, men do, too; there is no reason to be shy."
Hazel began to chuckle. "John, he's got your number. You've always been a little embarrassed by an erection. Come on, let's see it."
John pulled down his pants and he was, sure enough, hard as a rock, and getting red as a beet in the face. He looked at Herb, but Herb got his pants off before John could say anything. Hazel slipped off her bra and slid down her slacks and panties. Phyllis wasn't far behind.
Amy said, "See that wasn't so hard. In fact, it was fun. At least it was fun to watch. OK, ladies on the bed. This should be interesting with the men watching. Just don't pay any attention to them."
Hazel said, "I'm not sure I want four men watching me have sex with other women."
"You sure liked watching me expose my hard-on."
"OK, you win."
Kara said, "Look, Amy and I aren't lesbians; we're bisexual. We have lesbian sex, but we have men available, too. And I have only had girl-girl sex with Amy. I have heard of lesbians strapping dildos around their waists so that they could fuck their partner. If my partner wants to get fucked, she asks Jim or Andy. We use our tongues and our fingers on each other, and that's about it. Nothing very mysterious."
She climbed on the bed next to Hazel, kissed her gently, and put her fingers to work between legs. Amy followed and went to work on Phyllis. Soon their tongues were at work as well. Amy paused and said, "Would you to like to reverse roles, or have us finish you. You don't have to do us if you don't want. We can take care of our own needs."
Phyllis said, "Keep going," as if she were a little desperate.
I had to walk over to John and pull his hand off his dick. He was so excited watching the women that without thinking he was jacking himself off.
The women finished and then decided to reverse rolls. The older women didn't have the agility to hop around the bed as Amy and Kara had, but they had learned their lessons pretty well, and soon had Amy and Kara pretty happy.
After a few minutes Kara recovered and asked the men, "Do you want to fuck us, or play with each other?"
John said, "I would give my eye teeth to fuck you right now."
We watched John fuck Kara and then Herb fuck Amy. I headed for Hazel, who said, "I'm not sure I'm up to two in one night."
Phyllis said, "I am," and Tim headed for her, took her to the bed, and very gently and slowly aroused her and fucked her.
Hazel said, "Charlie, can I suck you instead?"
"Of course." She did. It was pretty clear that this was a new experience for her, but she did manage to keep her teeth off my dick. After everything that I had watched, it didn't take much, experienced or not, to give me an orgasm. Hazel apologized, but wasn't able to swallow my cum, which she spit out very quickly. Several people quickly produced towels and cleaned me up.
I said, "Tell Jim and Andy we're sorry to have taken you away."
"Oh, don't worry about them. They love fucking each other. Those little bunnies will be ready for us when we get down there." I guess they were.
Sometimes, I'll admit, in telling stories like these I am consciously writing erotica. Well, I can't deny a little of that in this episode. But the main purpose is to let you know that the Gang had truly changed. We were men and women, no longer boys and girls. We would now find ourselves correcting each other when we slipped and used boy or girl. We had been through a rite of passage, one that most young people never experience: being accepted as equals by our parents' generation. In that sense, the sex was symbolic. But having gone through the rite of passage, we had vastly expanded our horizons. I don't just mean that we now had more available sex partners; how many does one need, after all? We had an incredibly varied, smart, open-minded, core group of friends, with which we could share anything, including our deepest emotions. I don't think we could have reached that level of closeness without the sex. Maybe. Who knows?
I should note that, not with us because we were tucked away in the Olympic Village, but with a few others, Tom's parents, Sam and Beverly, ventured into a sexual relationship. I'm not sure how they decided, but it started when they extended an invitation to Ronnie, Kyle, and Sharon to join them for the evening.
I should mention Marty, who was very new to the antics of the Gang. Before he got in over his head, Tim took him aside and told him, "Look, Marty. These people know each other well, and they are just beginning to explore new sexual vistas. I don't think you're ready. Anybody here will have sex with you if you ask. But be circumspect. You're here for a wrestling match, not an orgy." Marty actually seemed relieved. He had a room to himself. He did ask Jim to spend one night with him, and he asked Paul to spend his last night in the hotel with him, before he moved to the Village. Both were glad to join him.
Bill and Martha abstained on that trip. They had dinner with Tim and me one night on the ship and said, "Charlie, Tim. We want to thank you for including us in this Gang. It is an incredible honor. Most of our friends, parents of Billy's contemporaries, couldn't handle it. When you first talked about Billy being a sexy kid, they couldn't have handled it. Billy would never have forgiven us if we had not accepted you two. But that wasn't our reason. We were willing to overrule Billy if he was going down the wrong path. No, you somehow managed to show us that this was the right path. Thank you. But we need a little time to reflect. We aren't going to be involved sexually on this trip, with either generation. And when we cross that line, and we will, we want it to be with you two. Let's say we have a date: when you move to North Dakota, we'd like to welcome you to your new home by sleeping with you."
Tim and I both said, "It's a date. And it will be in the same bed that Billy and Sara lost their virginity. How appropriate!"
Fred pretty much stayed out of the sexual arena. One morning he did ask if he could sleep with Tim and me that night. He came to the room, we talked late (for us) and all slipped into bed, naked. He spooned behind me and let his hands roam a little, but when I tried to reciprocate he declined. The next morning he thanked us for being so kind to him the night before, and headed off for breakfast. As far as I know that was it for the entire trip.
It may have sounded like we spent the ten days before the Games opened romping like bunnies. Actually, not. We kept up our practice schedules, slept well (most nights), and were ready for the Opening Ceremony on the 26th. Tim was not so determined that he and I be a pair and hold hands as we marched in. Nor were we clinging to the Camp White Elk identification, in that Billy and Marty were not from there. Rather the five of us just marched together, most of the way arm in arm rather than holding hands.
You might think the room pairings in the Olympic Village were a little unusual. Tim and I did not room together; he roomed with Tor! Billy roomed with me, and Hal roomed with Marty. Tim and Tor were together only by the combined force of their wills, as both of their coaches were totally opposed, both because they were competitors and because it is not the norm to mix nations. Tim would simply have none of it; nor would Tor. If they couldn't room together in the Village, then they would simply move over to Fred's hotel. And Billy, Hal, Charlie, and Marty would move with them; we were not, after all, obligated to live in the Village; many star athletes did not. But we, especially Tim, Hal, and Billy, were being praised in the press for being "regular guys" and living in the Village. When the officials responsible finally figured out that Tim was truly an immovable object, his roommate problems solved themselves.
Why did we pair as we did? Well, I told Tim right from the beginning that we didn't need to be together; that other agendas might be more important. After all, we lived together all the rest of the year. Tim had seen so little of Tor recently he really wanted to have time with him. Besides, in his opinion, both of them would feed off of each other, and both would perform better for the relationship. He was right.
Hal and I decided that we had had enough time together, we were ready to roam. Billy didn't know Hal that well, and was kind of eager to spend some time with me. Marty was absolutely thrilled with the idea of being Hal's roommate. When I suggested it to him, he said, "Hal, Hal Bruder, the marathoner, would room with me? Would I be willing? Are you kidding? That's fabulous!" All was settled.
Well, at that point the good stuff of those Olympics was pretty much over. None of us came away having had the great uplifting experience we had had in Mexico City! Things just didn't go quite right for any of us.
Well, they didn't really go wrong for us personally, but just not right.
Of course, the big event was the attack on the Israeli team. On September 5th Palestinian terrorists attacked the dormitory where the Israeli teams was housed, killing two and taking nine hostages. Eventually, all nine hostages and most of the terrorists were killed at a nearby air base. By that afternoon the Olympics paused for a day, but it was decided that the games would be finished; it was felt that stopping the games would simply be awarding a victory to the terrorists. The five of us were completely upset by the event, and moved over to Fred's hotel for the night of September 5th. The word of all the deaths reached us the next morning at the hotel. With the Gang and other friends we found the love and support that we needed to be sustained through that experience. We recovered. None of us felt that our personal letdowns during the games were either caused or enhanced by the terrorism. But it didn't help.
Billy was up first. But from the first day we, and he, realized that his opponent wasn't one of the other divers but a swimmer named Mark Spitz. These were Spitz' Olympics the way the previous ones had been Tim's. Billy's two gold medals, won with perfection that even Greg Louganis would envy twelve years hence, couldn't possibly compete with seven gold medals.
Marty got his gold. He was wonderful to watch on the mat, and even more wonderful to watch in the Village as he grew to manhood those two weeks. But there were several US golds in wrestling, and the darling of the press was Dan Gable who took the gold in the lightweight division without a single point being scored against him - an incredible performance almost the equivalent of Bob Beamon's long jump in Mexico. Marty was lost in the crowd.
Tim and Tor turned in incredible performances, but since they weren't a team, people didn't really think of them as a pair. When you did think of them as a pair, the arithmetic was mind-boggling. A gymnast that qualifies individually in each of the six events can conceivably win eight medals: six individuals, the combined exercises, and a team medal. Two gymnasts could win sixteen medals. Tim and Tor's combined medal count was 14! Tim took eight medals, but only three were gold: his usual, floor exercises (Tor took the bronze), rings (Tor was fourth), and combined exercises (Tor took the silver). Tor beat him on the high bar and he took the silver. I think he would have been crushed if anyone but Tor had beaten him in that event, but he was truly pleased at Tor's success. Tor also took gold on the pommel horse (Tim took the bronze). Tor took silver in the combined exercises. They shared silver (Tim) and bronze (Tor) in the vault, and silver (Tor) and bronze (Tim) on the parallel bars. The US team took the bronze and the Swedish team was fifth. Tim: 3 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze. Tor: 2 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze. Total: 14. But that story was always told as two stories, and they always were second to the darling of the press, Olga Korbett, who got three golds and a silver out of a possible six medals (women only compete in four individual exercises). Olga was, nevertheless, the gymnast that the press watched, and Tim found that his star was fading.
My archery was in progress when the Olympics paused, but I don't think that hurt me. My lack of really serious practice for four years hurt me! Tim could have said that to me, but he never would. Tim being Tim, I don't think that he even thought it. But I thought it; no, I knew it. I think I really knew it going in. My goal had been to come to the Olympics with Tim, for Tim. I made it. I even got a silver medal, scoring sixty points less than I had in Mexico City (2517 down from 2577), while the gold was won by another American, John Williams, with the score of 2528. I was glad to see that I remained the record holder, if not the gold medalist. I almost succumbed to the common behavior of being disappointed or upset about a silver medal. I had always been very critical of athletes who were so fixated on gold that they were unhappy with the silver. Those thoughts did pass through my mind, but I honestly believe that I was able to put them behind me. I let "Olympic silver medalist" roll off my tongue - at least mentally - and I realized that it sounded pretty good. There are no more silver medalists than gold, and we are a pretty rare breed. I decided that I really was happy and proud of my second Olympic medal, and Tim was right, color simply wasn't important. I sincerely congratulated John. He hadn't beaten my record, which means that the gold medal had always been mine to claim: all I had had to do was be as good as I had been and could be. But I wasn't.
Should I have practiced more the past four years? I don't know. I had a good four years. My clerkships were wonderful and would be a springboard to a wonderful life. I had wasted few hours over those four years; Tim saw to that, if I didn't. Could I have practiced more? Well, of course. We all establish priorities. Olympic medals simply weren't high enough on my list of priorities. Getting there was; I did it for Tim. Winning wasn't, that would have been for me. I had other irons in the fire. Should I not have gone to support Hal, but stayed back and practiced at a particularly crucial time? Hell, no. Giving support is as much a part of the deal as getting it. And I wouldn't have traded my time with Hal for two gold medals. I did a lot of thinking, but had no regrets.
But, after all that, silver isn't gold, and you can say whatever you want, moving from gold to silver certainly isn't one of life's uppers.
Hal was facing the most difficult decision of his running career. He struggled with it the entire time he was in Munich, right up to the beginning of the race. His struggles actually went back to his very close second place finish in the trials. Would he break his rule and push himself at the end of the race to try to beat Frank Shorter? Well, of course not. His rule had always been that he would run his own race, and take the medal that came his way. He had accepted seconds in Boston and other major races following that principal. But the Olympics are different. Not because the gold medal was important to Hal, but because it was important to Frank Shorter.
It had often been remarked that Hal seemed to be hardly winded when he ended a marathon; it was his trademark. Many times he was asked why he didn't push himself at the end to lessen his time. If he came in 3 seconds behind Frank in the race, how would he answer that question? Almost any answer he might have given would have led to the next questions, "Then you could have gotten the gold if you'd pushed yourself?" How would Hal answer that? What would refusing to answer it infer? Frank's medal would have been tarnished. Could Hal do that to a worthy competitor? Could he accept an all out finish that left him falling flat on his ass, or face? Was that an image he could accept?
All of us talked with Hal about this, at his invitation. We all shared his thoughts, agreed with his insights. But he didn't ask for advice. He knew that the answer would have to be his. And if he was to run any kind of a race at all, it had to be answered before the race began. Enough before that he could lay out his plans for the race. Marty told me that Hal agonized up to about 8 p.m. the night before the race. Then he said to Marty, "OK. It's done. I'm ready." He did not tell Marty his conclusion.
The race was incredible. Shorter took the lead and Hal fell back, which was his normal pattern, and which he would have done regardless of how he planned to end. At mile 17 he picked up his pace as usual. He started gaining; again his usual pattern. This time there weren't a bunch of runners that he had to pass; by mile 20 only Shorter was ahead of him. At mile 23 Hal picked up his pace again. I was at mile 24 and watched a straining Hal go past. It was not the Hal I was used to. This Hal was struggling. But he was pushing ahead. I truly believe that Hal gave it all he had. He finished at a personal best of 2:12:23.4. Shorter finished at 2:12:19.8. The stadium lap was sensational, with the entire crowd on its feet. The closest finish in Olympic marathon history! Frank Shorter had a completely untarnished gold medal.
Hal really didn't care whether he got a gold or a silver medal. That he had had to run someone else's race, instead of his own, was very disturbing. He realized that he had done the only honorable thing that he could have done. But it hurt. He spend the night with Sue in the hotel, not with Marty. Marty came in with Billy and me; we weren't going to leave him alone. But there was no sex. We all realized what Hal had been through, and weren't ready for the joy or wild abandon of sex. We talked late, about little of importance.
Our little group of six, including Tor whom we always included, had taken 19 medals. Only nine nations had done better. Tim had, in two successive Olympic Games taken a total of 17 medals, the second highest medal count for any individual. (The highest was Larissa Latynina, of the Soviet Union, who had taken six women's gymnastics medals in three successive Olympic games, 1956, 1960, and 1964.) Tim would have to head to Montreal if he wanted to take the top.
But for all of that, we were all dissatisfied with the whole thing, for one reason or another. Not just the terrorists had somehow made these Olympic Games more of a downer than an upper. Well, that was life, and now it was time to get on with it!
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