Jake Bain is the best athlete at his high school. He’d be the best athlete at most high schools. As a sophomore running back, he was named Offensive Player of the Year in Missouri. And after winning the state title, he was selected team captain for his junior and senior seasons. Most recently, Jake signed to play college football at Indiana State next year.
Two autumns ago, he scored three touchdowns in the state title game, but on this year, his senior season ended unceremoniously. So the running back walked off the field, seeking solace in a hug from his boyfriend.
“I did notice that moment, and knowing that was the last game of Jake’s career, I thought, ‘How lucky is Jake for that?'” said John Merritt, the football coach at John Burroughs. “And what does that say about our community, that they can both express themselves without any fear?”
Jake now spends his summers as a counselor at the same day camp. He wants to be a teacher someday – perhaps a coach, too – and he feeds off mentoring and molding young students.
“Coming out does not have to be anything other than what a person wants it to be,” said Jake’s grandfather Jim, age 77, who is in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. “Maybe the hardest thing for some will be talking to the people that care about them the most.”
“We are so happy that he’s the type of person that he is — that he’s kind to others, a good leader with how he treats people. And he has a lot of strong qualities as an athlete and as a person.”
That was the key for Jake – that he was still just Jake. Same guy. Same running back that bulldozes linebackers inconveniently in his way. Same camp counselor. Same team leader.
photo via: The Gaily Grind