America's first openly gay high school coach
At 25 years of age Eric Anderson was at the top of his league, coaching the Huntington Beach High School track team all the way to the top. He held high respect as a coach, engaging the trust of some of the best runners. His team worked well and his runners trained with eagerness. What happened when Eric came “out of the closet” showed that homophobia was a huge issue yet to be understood or accepted. What followed, in today's society, would not be acceptable, yet in 1993 very few supported the gay movement for fear themselves of being labeled gay.
Trailblazing is not just a book about the trials and tribulations of being gay but one that gives thought to discrimination, bullying and mateship. It moves emotions and empowers. It shows the division of communities but the strength of friendship.
Eric Anderson had no idea what was going to happen when he came out as the first openly gay high school teacher. His team was quickly labeled the “fag team” and the respect he had worked so hard to obtain was soon lost to homophobia. But behind all the negativity and division were hearts of gold and friendships that were set in concrete. Rising above all the controversy, media attention and heartache Eric's team showed true courage as they continued to hold their heads high and run to win. As threats continued and physical assault of team members followed, Eric fought for his rights as not only a coach but a mentor and friend. These young runners showed maturity beyond their years, courage and strength as they stood by their coach, accepting him for the man and person they knew. Trailblazing not only shows humans at their worst but shows the ability to rise above aversion, to believe, to understand and to care.
A message from author Eric Anderson:
I wrote this book in honor of my runners. When I came out of the closet as the nation's first openly gay high school coach I had no idea what was in store for me. Perhaps I should have, I lived in the heart of conservative Orange County, in Southern California. What I truly had not counted on, however, was that my athletes would also be victimized. Despite intense homophobia, and physical violence, these sixteen and seventeen year old boys stood and fought for their coach, and for a cause that they were not born into. Runners from other schools even transferred to join us. Together we pursued our dreams of glory on the track. The events are entirely true, and the quality of the young men I was so honored to coach comes through brightly. Best of all, the end will leave you cheering!
I hope you enjoy reading our story, and I hope that you also gain some inspiration to help you overcome struggles in your own life. And to my runners I must say THANK YOU. Thank you boys. Thank you for helping to make my dreams come true, and for giving hope to gays and lesbians everywhere!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Being one who supports the rights of all to love as they find it I opened
the book with a mind that was already set in support, but not being sports minded or interested I did
hold hesitation, wondering if I could keep interest in the sporting topic it held. My hesitation was soon put aside as I became caught up in the emotions and battle for rights. This is a book on human justice and right to love. It is a book that shows acceptance of one's self and that with a little bit of belief in who you are you can conquer your worst fears and empower others.
Today Professor Eric Anderson continues his work with the gay community. He is known for his research on sport, masculinities, sexualities and homophobia with his work showing an increasingly positive relationship between gay male athletes and sport, as well as a growing movement of young heterosexual mens masculinity becoming softer and more inclusive. Professor Anderson also researches matters related to mens monogamy/cheating, improving recognition of bisexuality, and the increased acceptance of young heterosexual men kissing. To date he has written eight books, many of them award winners and best sellers.
His book The Monogamy Gap: Men, Love and the Reality of Cheating is due for release in August. This is sure to have many talking as Eric says, “I basically say that monogamy fails, and cheating can be good for a relationship!”
Further information on Eric Anderson and his books can be found a www.ericandersonphd.com
review: Jennifer Deaves