Sep 17, 2015 2:30 PM GMT
Outsports(Bobby Petrino, Jr. says) "I played football, basketball, and baseball at Trinity High School in Louisville until halfway through my sophomore year," he told me. "I started as a sophomore, was named first team all-county, and we won the state championship that year. Then we moved to Atlanta where I just stuck to football and played one season at Greater Atlanta Christian School. A year later we move to Fayetteville, Arkansas. I only played football and was named newcomer of the year in Arkansas and first team All-State safety.
"I then signed to play at the Air Force Academy where I went through basic training and decided it wasn't for me. I think I chose Air Force because I thought it would be a great place where I could continue to hide my sexuality. At that point the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy was still in effect. I went back to Arkansas and played for my dad until I tore my LCL (lateral collateral ligament) and decided to be done with sports."
What's interesting about Petrino's coming out story is how much it follows a typical pattern – he was scared and lonely and thought he was the only one. Once he came out as gay, the response was all positive, even from the one man who he feared would take it the wrong way.
"I wouldn't really say my dad helped me be comfortable with my sexuality growing up," he told me. "He was who I feared the most regarding it. I had a gay uncle on my mother's side and he wasn't really talked about too much. But once I came out to my dad -- and I was dating a guy at the time -- he was great about it. My boyfriends have always come over for family dinner, been on family vacations. And he was really nice to them and was interested in who they were. ... Everyone has accepted me and loved me for who I am. It is a non-issue in our family."
Petrino felt so comfortable that this year he marched in a pride parade. He attended the Louisville-Auburn season opener Saturday in Atlanta with three gay friends and went down to the sidelines for the second half. He has no role with the team "other than be the biggest fan." Single now, he is graduating in December with an accounting degree from Louisville and told the magazine that he wants to be an elementary school teacher because he loves working with children.