full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Shane Wickes: Why I came out as a gay football coach

Unscramble the Blue Letters

I love football. I started playing when I was 12 years old. It has been a dominant peecnsre in my life ever since. From ytouh football, to high-school, and cellgoe, and now as a coach. Football has played a huge role in shaping me as a person. Recently, I achieved my dream job of becoming varsity line coach at my high-school alma mater. Last March I was at a coaching cliinc. It was late in the afternoon and I was tired. These cnohiacg clinics can tend to be a bit of a drag at times. Hours and hours, and days and days of the presentations on the x's and o's of football. There was one presentation, though, that looked interesting. It was tlteid "Disneyland." This presentation changed my life. This talk was not about the x's and o's of football. But rather about the emotional truth of why we ccaheos coach. We are coaches so that we can have a meaningful icapmt on young people's lives, and help them become better people. As coaches, we want to have the kind of impact that assure that one day our players can hold hands with their children and walk into Disneyland. The moral of this incredible message was this: as coaches, we can preach to our players that it is more important for them be better people than it is great football players. But if we are not heosnt with them and do not pcrictae what we pecrah, it will never work. In other words, tnereages are adept at sensing bullshit. (Laughter) As coaches, we must be willing to share our truth. And shinrag our truth is the only way we can have the kind of impact we truly want to have. The cocah who gave this pnstotrieaen, his tutrh was that his son became a drug addict due to the bullying and pressure he was subjected to from his dad being the head football coach at his school in Eagle, Idaho, a program that at the time was not very succesful. I went from a presentation on how to run the power against a 3-4 defense to the most honest, eaoonmtil and inspirational talks on coaching philosophy I'd ever heard. So it got me thinking. What's my bilushlt? What is unique about me that I bring to the table that will have a meaningful impact? What is my truth? My truth is this. I'm a former college football player. I'm a current high-school football coach. And I am gay. I battled with this truth for a long time. plnorealsy, professionally and certainly in my coaching and athletic craeer. It was an ineittdy crisis that had a tremendous impact on my life. Long before I heard this presentation on Disneyland I thought about cmoing out in football. In the beginning, I told myself "You're gay and you will take it to the grave." Now, I've come a long way since that day. (Applause) Thank you. (Applause) (Cheers) Thank you. I've come a long way since that day, but the process almost cost me my life. I chose to come out to fliamy and friends stitrnag in August of 2014. I told my immediate family first, and then I carefully picked my way through family and friends, trying to choose the right time and place. Only being part way out of the closet meant that I had to be two different ppoele and always be very aware of where I was and whom I was with. It cesuad a constant state of panic and axietny. So the question became, "Is it important for me to come out publcliy?" Yes it is, and here is why. My time in-and-out of the closet helped my realize that there are other people in my situation. And it is not a pettry one. It also hpleed me realize that coming out is not about sharing my bedroom habits, but about giving myself perissomin to live my life in its etntirey. Let me explain. After talking to one of my fellow coaches, he told me: "I don't talk about my sex life with players, why would you?" And it's a legitimate question, but a common misconception about coming out. Again, I'm not tialkng about my sex life. I'm talking about my life. It's often said that your pavirte life is your private life. But imagine you are put in a situation where going virtually anywhere and doing very normal, healthy, human aicvtteiis with your significant other could have substantial ccneoqenuses on your life, reputation and career. You gain a very new perspective on what your private life actually is. That's how being in the closet affteecd my life. It was quite literally a closet. No sacpe, no freedom and no cmorfot. It's a sofcuinfatg lifestyle with measurable effects. It wore me down until eventually I was abusing alcohol and prescription medications to keep my anxiety in check. It was a horrible time in my life. When you are put in a sioiatutn of having to live a double life, it strips you off dnitigy and normal coping mechanisms. At that time the only place I felt somewhat safe was at home. I was living with my parents, who had been nothing but supportive, but I did not feel coatlobrmfe bringing guys around them yet. So there I was. No safe place, no place to be myself, facing a new lifestyle I did not know how to navigate, the anxiety and depression were inescapable. And I responded the only way I felt I could at the time. Drugs and alcohol. Football tachees so many great life lessons to those who play or coach. Perseverance, toughness, respect, self-esteem. But the one negative thing that it does teach is that being gay is not OK. To be frnak, the word "faggot" is used almost as much as the word "football." There is a misconception about the prominence of gay men in fltaoobl, and it has serious consequences. I'm the perfect example of this issue. An all-state player in high-school. A two-year vrsaity captain among a select few in shoocl history to go play for a top tier division 1 football program. The youngest line coach in the htrsioy of the school. And I was ready to kill myself. Because I thought that even though this program was like a second family to me, I feared they would shun me. It was a crushing wihget that I was cnirryag with me all the time. Months and mthnos of sleep deprivation, severe anxiety and depression. And honestly, a lack of the will to live began to catch up with me. It was too much. I was desperate for a way out. Any way out. One night I rheaecd for a bottle of vodka and a couple of pllis. I didn't see a way out. I just wenatd it to be over. If I couldn't be me and still live my life, what was the point? I passed out on the bathroom floor, and my mom found me. I was fortunate to wake up the next day. I escaped an overdose. It was the scariest moment of my life. When I woke up the next day, I knew I really wasn't ready to give up. And when I heard that talk on Disneyland, I knew how, when and why it was ipaotrmnt for me to share my story. I worried for so long about how the football community would react. And while at this point only time will tell, my experience has given me a theory. It's simple. One day, being gay in football will be namrol. But in order for that to hppean, those of us who are gay need to sntad up and own it. The coaches I know are prefect examples of this. I have been met with nothing but love and sopuprt from my fellow coaching friends. But now the challenge is to change this. And not just on the private level. The odds of a gay teen or young adult abunisg drugs, alcohol, or experiencing anxiety, depression, or even attempting suicide are drastically high. When it comes to football, the social norm that we've cetaerd leaves many without hope. We've made incredible progress in the equal rights movement under the law. But now we must tackle a different problem. Social equality and the masegse we send to young people who play football. Continue to use sports to inspire, connect and to sahre a positive message. A htealhy person cannot live life in the dark. And if you are out there, stand up and own it. Thank you. (Applause)

Open Cloze

I love football. I started playing when I was 12 years old. It has been a dominant ________ in my life ever since. From _____ football, to high-school, and _______, and now as a coach. Football has played a huge role in shaping me as a person. Recently, I achieved my dream job of becoming varsity line coach at my high-school alma mater. Last March I was at a coaching ______. It was late in the afternoon and I was tired. These ________ clinics can tend to be a bit of a drag at times. Hours and hours, and days and days of the presentations on the x's and o's of football. There was one presentation, though, that looked interesting. It was ______ "Disneyland." This presentation changed my life. This talk was not about the x's and o's of football. But rather about the emotional truth of why we _______ coach. We are coaches so that we can have a meaningful ______ on young people's lives, and help them become better people. As coaches, we want to have the kind of impact that assure that one day our players can hold hands with their children and walk into Disneyland. The moral of this incredible message was this: as coaches, we can preach to our players that it is more important for them be better people than it is great football players. But if we are not ______ with them and do not ________ what we ______, it will never work. In other words, _________ are adept at sensing bullshit. (Laughter) As coaches, we must be willing to share our truth. And _______ our truth is the only way we can have the kind of impact we truly want to have. The _____ who gave this ____________, his _____ was that his son became a drug addict due to the bullying and pressure he was subjected to from his dad being the head football coach at his school in Eagle, Idaho, a program that at the time was not very succesful. I went from a presentation on how to run the power against a 3-4 defense to the most honest, _________ and inspirational talks on coaching philosophy I'd ever heard. So it got me thinking. What's my ________? What is unique about me that I bring to the table that will have a meaningful impact? What is my truth? My truth is this. I'm a former college football player. I'm a current high-school football coach. And I am gay. I battled with this truth for a long time. __________, professionally and certainly in my coaching and athletic ______. It was an ________ crisis that had a tremendous impact on my life. Long before I heard this presentation on Disneyland I thought about ______ out in football. In the beginning, I told myself "You're gay and you will take it to the grave." Now, I've come a long way since that day. (Applause) Thank you. (Applause) (Cheers) Thank you. I've come a long way since that day, but the process almost cost me my life. I chose to come out to ______ and friends ________ in August of 2014. I told my immediate family first, and then I carefully picked my way through family and friends, trying to choose the right time and place. Only being part way out of the closet meant that I had to be two different ______ and always be very aware of where I was and whom I was with. It ______ a constant state of panic and _______. So the question became, "Is it important for me to come out ________?" Yes it is, and here is why. My time in-and-out of the closet helped my realize that there are other people in my situation. And it is not a ______ one. It also ______ me realize that coming out is not about sharing my bedroom habits, but about giving myself __________ to live my life in its ________. Let me explain. After talking to one of my fellow coaches, he told me: "I don't talk about my sex life with players, why would you?" And it's a legitimate question, but a common misconception about coming out. Again, I'm not _______ about my sex life. I'm talking about my life. It's often said that your _______ life is your private life. But imagine you are put in a situation where going virtually anywhere and doing very normal, healthy, human __________ with your significant other could have substantial ____________ on your life, reputation and career. You gain a very new perspective on what your private life actually is. That's how being in the closet ________ my life. It was quite literally a closet. No _____, no freedom and no _______. It's a ___________ lifestyle with measurable effects. It wore me down until eventually I was abusing alcohol and prescription medications to keep my anxiety in check. It was a horrible time in my life. When you are put in a _________ of having to live a double life, it strips you off _______ and normal coping mechanisms. At that time the only place I felt somewhat safe was at home. I was living with my parents, who had been nothing but supportive, but I did not feel ___________ bringing guys around them yet. So there I was. No safe place, no place to be myself, facing a new lifestyle I did not know how to navigate, the anxiety and depression were inescapable. And I responded the only way I felt I could at the time. Drugs and alcohol. Football _______ so many great life lessons to those who play or coach. Perseverance, toughness, respect, self-esteem. But the one negative thing that it does teach is that being gay is not OK. To be _____, the word "faggot" is used almost as much as the word "football." There is a misconception about the prominence of gay men in ________, and it has serious consequences. I'm the perfect example of this issue. An all-state player in high-school. A two-year _______ captain among a select few in ______ history to go play for a top tier division 1 football program. The youngest line coach in the _______ of the school. And I was ready to kill myself. Because I thought that even though this program was like a second family to me, I feared they would shun me. It was a crushing ______ that I was ________ with me all the time. Months and ______ of sleep deprivation, severe anxiety and depression. And honestly, a lack of the will to live began to catch up with me. It was too much. I was desperate for a way out. Any way out. One night I _______ for a bottle of vodka and a couple of _____. I didn't see a way out. I just ______ it to be over. If I couldn't be me and still live my life, what was the point? I passed out on the bathroom floor, and my mom found me. I was fortunate to wake up the next day. I escaped an overdose. It was the scariest moment of my life. When I woke up the next day, I knew I really wasn't ready to give up. And when I heard that talk on Disneyland, I knew how, when and why it was _________ for me to share my story. I worried for so long about how the football community would react. And while at this point only time will tell, my experience has given me a theory. It's simple. One day, being gay in football will be ______. But in order for that to ______, those of us who are gay need to _____ up and own it. The coaches I know are _______ examples of this. I have been met with nothing but love and _______ from my fellow coaching friends. But now the challenge is to change this. And not just on the private level. The odds of a gay teen or young adult _______ drugs, alcohol, or experiencing anxiety, depression, or even attempting suicide are drastically high. When it comes to football, the social norm that we've _______ leaves many without hope. We've made incredible progress in the equal rights movement under the law. But now we must tackle a different problem. Social equality and the _______ we send to young people who play football. Continue to use sports to inspire, connect and to _____ a positive message. A _______ person cannot live life in the dark. And if you are out there, stand up and own it. Thank you. (Applause)

Solution

  1. stand
  2. anxiety
  3. suffocating
  4. private
  5. teaches
  6. affected
  7. coaching
  8. space
  9. months
  10. youth
  11. honest
  12. wanted
  13. normal
  14. carrying
  15. dignity
  16. coach
  17. happen
  18. important
  19. pretty
  20. preach
  21. history
  22. share
  23. sharing
  24. truth
  25. entirety
  26. college
  27. clinic
  28. practice
  29. comfort
  30. message
  31. perfect
  32. comfortable
  33. talking
  34. activities
  35. pills
  36. publicly
  37. emotional
  38. personally
  39. permission
  40. coming
  41. situation
  42. consequences
  43. varsity
  44. school
  45. support
  46. helped
  47. healthy
  48. coaches
  49. created
  50. caused
  51. teenagers
  52. bullshit
  53. reached
  54. people
  55. titled
  56. family
  57. football
  58. starting
  59. career
  60. presentation
  61. abusing
  62. presence
  63. impact
  64. frank
  65. weight
  66. identity

Original Text

I love football. I started playing when I was 12 years old. It has been a dominant presence in my life ever since. From youth football, to high-school, and college, and now as a coach. Football has played a huge role in shaping me as a person. Recently, I achieved my dream job of becoming varsity line coach at my high-school alma mater. Last March I was at a coaching clinic. It was late in the afternoon and I was tired. These coaching clinics can tend to be a bit of a drag at times. Hours and hours, and days and days of the presentations on the x's and o's of football. There was one presentation, though, that looked interesting. It was titled "Disneyland." This presentation changed my life. This talk was not about the x's and o's of football. But rather about the emotional truth of why we coaches coach. We are coaches so that we can have a meaningful impact on young people's lives, and help them become better people. As coaches, we want to have the kind of impact that assure that one day our players can hold hands with their children and walk into Disneyland. The moral of this incredible message was this: as coaches, we can preach to our players that it is more important for them be better people than it is great football players. But if we are not honest with them and do not practice what we preach, it will never work. In other words, teenagers are adept at sensing bullshit. (Laughter) As coaches, we must be willing to share our truth. And sharing our truth is the only way we can have the kind of impact we truly want to have. The coach who gave this presentation, his truth was that his son became a drug addict due to the bullying and pressure he was subjected to from his dad being the head football coach at his school in Eagle, Idaho, a program that at the time was not very succesful. I went from a presentation on how to run the power against a 3-4 defense to the most honest, emotional and inspirational talks on coaching philosophy I'd ever heard. So it got me thinking. What's my bullshit? What is unique about me that I bring to the table that will have a meaningful impact? What is my truth? My truth is this. I'm a former college football player. I'm a current high-school football coach. And I am gay. I battled with this truth for a long time. Personally, professionally and certainly in my coaching and athletic career. It was an identity crisis that had a tremendous impact on my life. Long before I heard this presentation on Disneyland I thought about coming out in football. In the beginning, I told myself "You're gay and you will take it to the grave." Now, I've come a long way since that day. (Applause) Thank you. (Applause) (Cheers) Thank you. I've come a long way since that day, but the process almost cost me my life. I chose to come out to family and friends starting in August of 2014. I told my immediate family first, and then I carefully picked my way through family and friends, trying to choose the right time and place. Only being part way out of the closet meant that I had to be two different people and always be very aware of where I was and whom I was with. It caused a constant state of panic and anxiety. So the question became, "Is it important for me to come out publicly?" Yes it is, and here is why. My time in-and-out of the closet helped my realize that there are other people in my situation. And it is not a pretty one. It also helped me realize that coming out is not about sharing my bedroom habits, but about giving myself permission to live my life in its entirety. Let me explain. After talking to one of my fellow coaches, he told me: "I don't talk about my sex life with players, why would you?" And it's a legitimate question, but a common misconception about coming out. Again, I'm not talking about my sex life. I'm talking about my life. It's often said that your private life is your private life. But imagine you are put in a situation where going virtually anywhere and doing very normal, healthy, human activities with your significant other could have substantial consequences on your life, reputation and career. You gain a very new perspective on what your private life actually is. That's how being in the closet affected my life. It was quite literally a closet. No space, no freedom and no comfort. It's a suffocating lifestyle with measurable effects. It wore me down until eventually I was abusing alcohol and prescription medications to keep my anxiety in check. It was a horrible time in my life. When you are put in a situation of having to live a double life, it strips you off dignity and normal coping mechanisms. At that time the only place I felt somewhat safe was at home. I was living with my parents, who had been nothing but supportive, but I did not feel comfortable bringing guys around them yet. So there I was. No safe place, no place to be myself, facing a new lifestyle I did not know how to navigate, the anxiety and depression were inescapable. And I responded the only way I felt I could at the time. Drugs and alcohol. Football teaches so many great life lessons to those who play or coach. Perseverance, toughness, respect, self-esteem. But the one negative thing that it does teach is that being gay is not OK. To be frank, the word "faggot" is used almost as much as the word "football." There is a misconception about the prominence of gay men in football, and it has serious consequences. I'm the perfect example of this issue. An all-state player in high-school. A two-year varsity captain among a select few in school history to go play for a top tier division 1 football program. The youngest line coach in the history of the school. And I was ready to kill myself. Because I thought that even though this program was like a second family to me, I feared they would shun me. It was a crushing weight that I was carrying with me all the time. Months and months of sleep deprivation, severe anxiety and depression. And honestly, a lack of the will to live began to catch up with me. It was too much. I was desperate for a way out. Any way out. One night I reached for a bottle of vodka and a couple of pills. I didn't see a way out. I just wanted it to be over. If I couldn't be me and still live my life, what was the point? I passed out on the bathroom floor, and my mom found me. I was fortunate to wake up the next day. I escaped an overdose. It was the scariest moment of my life. When I woke up the next day, I knew I really wasn't ready to give up. And when I heard that talk on Disneyland, I knew how, when and why it was important for me to share my story. I worried for so long about how the football community would react. And while at this point only time will tell, my experience has given me a theory. It's simple. One day, being gay in football will be normal. But in order for that to happen, those of us who are gay need to stand up and own it. The coaches I know are perfect examples of this. I have been met with nothing but love and support from my fellow coaching friends. But now the challenge is to change this. And not just on the private level. The odds of a gay teen or young adult abusing drugs, alcohol, or experiencing anxiety, depression, or even attempting suicide are drastically high. When it comes to football, the social norm that we've created leaves many without hope. We've made incredible progress in the equal rights movement under the law. But now we must tackle a different problem. Social equality and the message we send to young people who play football. Continue to use sports to inspire, connect and to share a positive message. A healthy person cannot live life in the dark. And if you are out there, stand up and own it. Thank you. (Applause)

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
private life 3
line coach 2
football coach 2
sex life 2

Important Words

  1. abusing
  2. achieved
  3. activities
  4. addict
  5. adept
  6. adult
  7. affected
  8. afternoon
  9. alcohol
  10. alma
  11. anxiety
  12. applause
  13. assure
  14. athletic
  15. attempting
  16. august
  17. aware
  18. bathroom
  19. battled
  20. bedroom
  21. began
  22. beginning
  23. bit
  24. bottle
  25. bring
  26. bringing
  27. bullshit
  28. bullying
  29. captain
  30. career
  31. carefully
  32. carrying
  33. catch
  34. caused
  35. challenge
  36. change
  37. changed
  38. check
  39. cheers
  40. children
  41. choose
  42. chose
  43. clinic
  44. clinics
  45. closet
  46. coach
  47. coaches
  48. coaching
  49. college
  50. comfort
  51. comfortable
  52. coming
  53. common
  54. community
  55. connect
  56. consequences
  57. constant
  58. continue
  59. coping
  60. cost
  61. couple
  62. created
  63. crisis
  64. crushing
  65. current
  66. dad
  67. dark
  68. day
  69. days
  70. defense
  71. depression
  72. deprivation
  73. desperate
  74. dignity
  75. disneyland
  76. division
  77. dominant
  78. double
  79. drag
  80. drastically
  81. dream
  82. drug
  83. drugs
  84. due
  85. eagle
  86. effects
  87. emotional
  88. entirety
  89. equal
  90. equality
  91. escaped
  92. eventually
  93. examples
  94. experience
  95. experiencing
  96. explain
  97. facing
  98. family
  99. feared
  100. feel
  101. fellow
  102. felt
  103. floor
  104. football
  105. fortunate
  106. frank
  107. freedom
  108. friends
  109. gain
  110. gave
  111. gay
  112. give
  113. giving
  114. grave
  115. great
  116. guys
  117. habits
  118. hands
  119. happen
  120. head
  121. healthy
  122. heard
  123. helped
  124. high
  125. history
  126. hold
  127. home
  128. honest
  129. honestly
  130. hope
  131. horrible
  132. hours
  133. huge
  134. human
  135. idaho
  136. identity
  137. imagine
  138. impact
  139. important
  140. incredible
  141. inescapable
  142. inspirational
  143. inspire
  144. interesting
  145. issue
  146. job
  147. kill
  148. kind
  149. knew
  150. lack
  151. late
  152. laughter
  153. law
  154. leaves
  155. legitimate
  156. lessons
  157. level
  158. life
  159. lifestyle
  160. line
  161. literally
  162. live
  163. lives
  164. living
  165. long
  166. looked
  167. love
  168. march
  169. mater
  170. meaningful
  171. meant
  172. measurable
  173. mechanisms
  174. medications
  175. men
  176. message
  177. met
  178. misconception
  179. mom
  180. moment
  181. months
  182. moral
  183. movement
  184. navigate
  185. negative
  186. night
  187. norm
  188. normal
  189. odds
  190. order
  191. overdose
  192. panic
  193. parents
  194. part
  195. passed
  196. people
  197. perfect
  198. permission
  199. perseverance
  200. person
  201. personally
  202. perspective
  203. philosophy
  204. picked
  205. pills
  206. place
  207. play
  208. played
  209. player
  210. players
  211. playing
  212. point
  213. positive
  214. power
  215. practice
  216. preach
  217. prescription
  218. presence
  219. presentation
  220. presentations
  221. pressure
  222. pretty
  223. private
  224. problem
  225. process
  226. professionally
  227. program
  228. progress
  229. prominence
  230. publicly
  231. put
  232. question
  233. reached
  234. react
  235. ready
  236. realize
  237. reputation
  238. respect
  239. responded
  240. rights
  241. role
  242. run
  243. safe
  244. scariest
  245. school
  246. select
  247. send
  248. sensing
  249. severe
  250. sex
  251. shaping
  252. share
  253. sharing
  254. shun
  255. significant
  256. simple
  257. situation
  258. sleep
  259. social
  260. son
  261. space
  262. sports
  263. stand
  264. started
  265. starting
  266. state
  267. story
  268. strips
  269. subjected
  270. substantial
  271. succesful
  272. suffocating
  273. suicide
  274. support
  275. supportive
  276. table
  277. tackle
  278. talk
  279. talking
  280. talks
  281. teach
  282. teaches
  283. teen
  284. teenagers
  285. tend
  286. theory
  287. thinking
  288. thought
  289. tier
  290. time
  291. times
  292. tired
  293. titled
  294. told
  295. top
  296. toughness
  297. tremendous
  298. truth
  299. unique
  300. varsity
  301. virtually
  302. vodka
  303. wake
  304. walk
  305. wanted
  306. weight
  307. woke
  308. word
  309. words
  310. wore
  311. work
  312. worried
  313. years
  314. young
  315. youngest
  316. youth