Missouri high school football player Jake Bain has come out publicly in a moving article by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Two autumns ago, he scored three touchdowns in the state title game, but on this October day, 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 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 the Class 3 Offensive Player of the Year in Missouri. As a sophomore! And after winning the state title, he was selected team captain for his junior and senior seasons.
Before he came out to his school, Jake said his secret weighed heavily on him.
“When you’re kind of half yourself, showing everyone half yourself pretty much, it weighs on you,” said Jake, 18. “I definitely always tried to play to that macho status of a football player with a girlfriend, so I was definitely trying to cover all the bases so people wouldn’t find out. I had a couple girlfriends in high school at Burroughs. People used to always describe me as a ladies man. … I was still questioning what I really wanted. Was I bisexual? Was I gay? It was definitely a time where I was able to verify it for myself.”
The summer before his junior season, the best player on the reigning state champs started telling people he was gay. Back as a freshman, he’d privately told his best friend. And Patrick Bolster told Jake: “I’m in your corner, always.” Finally, in the summer of 2016, Jake told his mother. And his father. And his brothers. And teammates. They were exceptionally accepting.
“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.”
On Wednesday, Jake signed to play college football at Indiana State next year.