“In today’s society being different makes you brave.” –Robbie Rogers
Robbie Rogers, the winger who played 106 games for the Columbus Crew and had 18 caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team, announced he is walking away from soccer at age 25.
Rogers wrote on his personal blog on Friday that it’s time to “discover myself away from football.” The decision is part and parcel of Rogers’ summoning the ample courage necessary to publicly display his true self, coming out as gay.
Here’s more from Rogers’ heartfelt, brave and brutally honest post:
Life is only complete when your loved ones know you. When they know your true feelings, when they know who and how you love. Life is simple when your secret is gone. Gone is the pain that lurks in the stomach at work, the pain from avoiding questions, and at last the pain from hiding such a deep secret.
Secrets can cause so much internal damage. People love to preach about honesty, how honesty is so plain and simple. Try explaining to your loved ones after 25 years you are gay. Try convincing yourself that your creator has the most wonderful purpose for you even though you were taught differently.
I always thought I could hide this secret. Football was my escape, my purpose, my identity. Football hid my secret, gave me more joy than I could have ever imagined… I will always be thankful for my career. I will remember Beijing, The MLS Cup, and most of all my teammates. I will never forget the friends I have made a long the way and the friends that supported me once they knew my secret.
As someone with experience in these matters, this sentence struck me the hardest: “Try explaining to your loved ones after 25 years you are gay.”
Many of you might think the reason most gay men who don’t come out until later in life fear public rejection, fear being shunned by family and friends, fear losing status, and that may be the case. But for many, it’s also the fear of suddenly changing the story of your life, fear of looking like a liar, fear of saying “I am not the person I’ve made myself out to be.”
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But it’s never too late, and kudos to Rogers for not only speaking his own truths but doing this on his terms. He’ll be missed from the game, but the game isn’t even remotely important right now. While we wait for the world’s first openly gay athlete still playing a major sport, we salute the ones who are living life as they want to live it, doing right by themselves.
“My secret is gone, I am a free man, I can move on and live my life as my creator intended,” he wrote. His creator certainly created something adorable: