By Esera Tuaolo, John Rosengren

This is often Esera Tuaolo's personal searing tale of terror and desire. A Samoan raised on a Hawaiian banana plantation, he had a average expertise, soccer. He went directly to play for 5 NFL groups: the golf green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Carolina Panthers, and the Atlanta Falcons within the 1999 tremendous Bowl. yet for the 9 years he performed specialist soccer he lived in terror that once his face flashed upon the television reveal, an individual may expose his darkest mystery. Esera Tuaolo is homosexual.

Alone within the Trenches takes you contained in the homophobic global soccer and describes fears that just about drove him to suicide. He conjures up heartbreak--how his older brother, Tua, died of AIDS--and desire while, Esera, a deeply religious Christian fell in love and began a family.

"Tuaolo emerges in those pages as a posh, intellectually curious and interesting person outlined neither via his selection of occupation nor by means of his sexual orientation." --Booklist

"Tough, gentle and brutally honest." --Robert Lipsyte, former big apple instances activities columnist

"Even i used to be now not ready for his outstanding lifestyles story." --Billy Bean, writer of Going the opposite direction

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A Samoan in eco-friendly Bay nine. Mississippi Brawling 10. My Brother Tua eleven. in case you Make the crew 12. Play during the discomfort thirteen. A McDonald’s marriage ceremony 14. The prior Can ruin the long run 15. Champions for Christ sixteen. We’re Going to Miami 17. great Bowl XXXIII 18. I Can’t Lose This guy 19. That’s the massive mystery Acknowledgments bankruptcy ONE The Torments of luck ISETTLED INTO MY STANCE for the final play of tremendous Bowl XXXIII. the sphere glowed less than the lighting. Flashbulbs popped round the stadium. We, the Atlanta Falcons, confronted the Denver Broncos led through their famous person quarterback John Elway. Denver had the ball with a 34–19 lead. I coated up at my traditional place, nostril defend, throughout from the Denver heart, who used to be poised to snap the ball to Elway. My knuckles gripped the turf. The Broncos quarterback took the snap and dropped to his knee to enable the clock run out. I touched him first. whilst the ball service is at the floor, an individual at the security needs to at the least contact him so he’s governed down. in view that I touched Elway, i used to be credited with the take on. A regimen play, however it terrified me. And that used to be now not the 1st time. That video game and that play have been televised to 1 billion humans world wide. somebody can have famous me and blown my disguise. long ago, each time my picture seemed at the screen—when I made a gigantic play, sang the nationwide anthem—I lived with the terror that i would be outed. This used to be January 31, 1999, and at that time I have been enjoying for 8 years within the NFL. sooner than that, I had performed 4 years of faculty soccer. In all that point, no longer one teammate, trainer, or sportswriter knew i used to be homosexual. The nationwide soccer League is the number 1 leisure on the planet, and the great Bowl is its exhibit occasion. Media from all over—places like Japan and Lebanon, the place they don’t even play football—report at the spectacle. The tremendous Bowl is the most important occasion that occurs each year within the usa. What if a type of billion humans staring at famous me because the stranger he had picked up in a homosexual bar? All he needed to do was once out me to the clicking and the tale will be everywhere in the headlines: “Gay guy Makes ultimate take on in great Bowl. ” My soccer profession will be entire. not more large Bowls, not more Sundays taking part in ball. not more paychecks, not more monetary defense. not more locker-room banter, not more camaraderie with the fellows. i'd be banished from the NFL fraternity. in the course of my 9 years within the NFL, I lived that with reference to the sting of destruction. My luck tormented me. the higher I did, the extra publicity I acquired. The extra publicity, the better the opportunity of somebody studying my mystery. A mystery guy who performs the main macho of staff activities isn't really speculated to have. the tension approximately killed me. i'm a Samoan who grew up in Hawaii. My kin lived in a hut with a mud flooring. I’d long past from that poverty to the fortunes of the NFL. soccer gave me a school scholarship, the opportunity to shop for a home for my mom, the chance to shuttle, and lots more and plenty extra. My NFL occupation lasted 9 years with 5 teams—the eco-friendly Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, and Carolina Panthers.

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