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Alone in the Trenches: My Life as a Gay Man in the NFL
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Alone in the Trenches: My Life as a Gay Man in the NFL

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3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  61 ratings  ·  10 reviews
This is Esera Tuaolo's own searing story of terror and hope. A Samoan raised on a Hawaiian banana plantation, he had a natural talent, football. He went on to play for five NFL teams: the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Carolina Panthers, and the Atlanta Falcons in the 1999 Super Bowl. But for the nine years he played professional fo ...more
Paperback, 281 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Sourcebooks (first published 2006)
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Katherine
Esera Tuaolo tells a heart moving story about his rise out of poverty as a young boy on a Hawaiian banana plantation to being a starting nose tackle in the Super Bowl. What sets this book apart from other rise to glory stories is that he had a secret to hide, a secret that he feared if it came out he'd lose everything. The secret he was hiding was his homosexuality.

The story that Tuaolo tells is a very open and honest one. From his days exploring who he is during his time at Oregon State Univer
...more
Jen
Aug 17, 2007 Jen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone - even homophobic people!
Shelves: memoirs, must-read
This is a book you need to read with a box of tissue next to you! Mr. Tuaolo talks frankly about how his life was while hiding his secret. He also shared the "roller coster ride" he went through with his husband. He opened my eyes to how much a secret like this could take a toll on a person. I agree with his ideas about religion - we aren't the ones who are supposed to do the judging. Although I felt sad about how he was treated in Hawai'i, I could see it happening despite how diverse or toleran ...more
Margaret Behr
Alone in the Trenches provides an in-depth look into being a closeted NFL player. Tuaolo openly talks about his experiences as a player and his struggles to align his true identity with his athleticism. Tuaolo did not come out until after retiring for fear of injury and retaliation; reading about his fears and the possibility that his secret could end his career is powerful to say the least. Although sometimes the football references were lost on me, this true account is no less important. I see ...more
Often Partisan
Maybe more of a 2.5/5. I think that I should say that I have no interest in the NFL. I only read this book because of the homosexuality element, and even then as a rule I don't read sports autobiographies. I just say this to point out that there may well be a 'not my cup of tea' element to my opinion on the book. This book seemed a bit disjoined at times and seemed to jump around in time randomly, and in places to became a bit tricky to keep track of the narrative. (For example, certain sections ...more
Ashley
This book had a sweet message to it, but it wasn't written very well. I hate to be a jerk in all these gushing reviews but it was, to me, a poorly written book. I guess if that doesn't bother you I'd totally suggest reading it but it bugged me a lot.

For example, there were parts where it was like he wrote the chapter, then went back and added a sentence at the end of each section to remind us that he was gay. It wasn't all like that but there were a lot of parts that were.
John Seyfarth
Tuaolo's unceasing efforts to hide his true nature seem dated given current views of homosexuality. However, I suppose the macho attitudes in professional sports continue to make life difficult for gay men. Still, there were times as I read Tuaolo's account that I wished he would have been brave enough to come out of the closet.
Andrea
Interesting reading, but he really sugar coated some of the bad things he's done in his life (drugs, crime). I was happy to read he found someone and started a family, and seemed content, then I went to Wikipedia and learned they broke up and he was arrested for domestic violence. Oh well.
Melissa
Jun 17, 2010 Melissa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Sports buffs and Homophobic Jerks who need a slap upside the head
Interesting look at how a gay man survived in the Hyper-masculine, heterosexist field of NFL Football. It makes you question what you would do (and hide) to carry out your dreams.
Jerry
Great story and one that needed to be told. Writing seemed simplistic at times and the subject was disjointed occasionally.
Gary F
Ine of the most honest and interesting sports memoirs I have read in a while. Very highly recommended.
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Required Reading? 0 1 Aug 19, 2007 06:49PM  
149819
Born on the Island of Oahu but now reside in the Midwest, Minneapolis Minnesota. Esera has played in the National Football Leagues for 9 years, first being drafted by the Green Bay Packer in 1991 second round 35th pick, being the highest Defensive Linemen ever taken in Packer history from that time. Esera also was the first rookie to start all 16 games his rookie year in NFL history earning him a ...more
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