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Jocks: True Stories of America's Gay Male Athletes Paperback – January 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Alyson Books; 1st edition (January 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555833993
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555833992
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #815,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Over two dozen personal profiles of high school and college coaches and athletes succinctly and sensitively dispute the contention that "gay jock" is an oxymoron.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Woog characterizes the athletic locker room as "the largest, dingiest, smelliest closet left in America." He then profiles several dozen men, many still quite young, who have helped dispel at least the closet part of that characterization. Each has acknowledged his homosexuality and, with one poignant exception ("The Suicidal Jock," still adjusting as a college junior), has come out to coaches and teammates, or, if a coach himself, to students. Woog writes vividly about them all, communicating the fulfillment they find in sports as well as the satisfaction they experience in being out. He depicts them as normally complex persons coping with normally complex life situations, one of which is not, however, being turned on by the sight of naked teammates. Besides plenty of soccer players (Woog has coached the sport for 20 years), swimmers, gymnasts, wrestlers, runners, basketballers, hockey players, and even an "impostor," who admits going out for junior-high sports to be near other boys, also appear, and Woog concludes with advice to coaches on dealing with homophobia. Ray Olson

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Shane B. on January 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
As mentioned by other reviewers, this book is not intended to titilate or be an erotic novel. Rather, it is a group of true stories of coaches and athletes at the high school, college and beyond levels of competition. Perhaps because I heard about the nature of the book from a friend before I bought it, I was not suprised and certainly not disappointed. So to those who are looking for some stories about sex-crazed jocks in a locker room, try somewhere else.
The wonderful thing about this novel is that Woog's discussions really allow you to see the different reactions of both athletes and their friends and families when confronting the "gay issue." Some have good experiences; others not so good. Some are totally out; others are not out to a majority of those they work with. The reader can definitely see that being gay and being an athlete are not necessarily at odds as much of our society would have us believe.
I actually had the pleasure of meeting one of the interviewees. One of my friends who plays hockey in both straight and gay clubs knew the interviewee prior to being included in the book. It was even more amazing to meet and talk with him on several occasions to see that the book was accurate. Neither sports nor being gay are all he's about. He's one of the fortunate ones who is comfortable about all aspects of his life. And I think that Dan Woog has done a great job of showing that throughout his book.
Take a chance; you'll enjoy it.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Waugh on January 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
Never before has a book expressed my feelings and sentiments about being gay and an athlete. Many years ago I turned my back from the jock world because I thought I was alone. Clearly there were no role models for me and the journey of trying to explore my gay feelings in a jock world were too over-powering. This book expresses the isolation, thoughts, and struggles of many other guys just like me. How I wish this book was available to me when I was younger! Thanks Dan Woog!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Stefan on February 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
I've read the 7 reviews, and decided to take the book anyway. And I was not disappointed.
The book is very honest, Dan Woog makes it very clear in the foreword what the book is about, nonwithstanding the negative comments made by possible readers.
I've only started reading the book, but it already has me commiserating with the various people who have had to endure abuse and hatred at the hands of their peers, colleagues, team mates and the world at large.
This is a book to wake you up from the fantasy that the jocks always have it easy. They don't, and we as gay members of society should show our support openly for those who have had the courage to come out of the closet, and give encouragement to those still in there to come out too and live fully.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 3, 1998
Format: Paperback
I've been reading this book for a couple days now, and I'm impressed by the various stories of gay athletes around the country. I was surprised and fascinated that in most of the cases, the teammates really didn't have a second thought on their fellows' sexual orientations. In my day, about 6-8 years ago, it was very much different. I don't know how much times change where I live, but I wouldn't be surprised if the climate in the locker room is a bit more tolerable for gay athletes.
My one problem is that many of the subjects being interviewed were asked that their name be changed or their last name not be used. This indicates to me that they are still very uneasy about their openness towards their teammates and perhaps still a bit ashamed that they came out in the first place. If your friends and teammates do not judge you by your sexual orientation, then in my opinion there's no reason to hide your identity behind a pseudonym.
Good read still. Thanks.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed the book. It took me back to my days as a competitive swimmer in high school and made me wish that I had had the self-awareness and confidence to come out then. The stories of the struggles these men went through as they came to terms with their homosexuality and what to do about it in their sports life are interesting, enlightening and a little sad. Woog has done a good job of telling these stories. One day soon, hopefully, there will not be a need for a book like this. Until that time, Jocks can help a lot of struggling young people see that others have gone through what they are going through and have not only survived, but thrived.
I would like to see Dan Woog follow this book up with a similar book featuring professional athletes in America, particularly in the mainstream sports of baseball, football, hockey and basketball. All of the stories would have to be anonymous or use pseudonyms, but it could be fascinating anyway.

Jeff in Pittsburgh
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By berdachemahtola@hotmail.com on September 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
Woog has unified the diverse hopes and fears among gay athletes and coaches of all levels into a common ground- the facing of those fears and meeting of those hopes. Taking account of these gay men, those both open and in the closet, Woog brings a greater understanding to their pain and triumph, as well as the roads they have traveled to get where they now are. Woog is objective with both the positive and negative experiences, and brings out the true meaning of althetics to both team and individual, along with the struggles of these gays men to be a part of the athletic circle. Reading this book was positive and meaningful, and gave a good look at just how diverse levels of homophobia exist within different sports themselves as they do within society. Woog brings the sub-culture of gay athletics up front, showing the agonies and triumphs in this realm that are overlooked. Having read this book alongside Patricia Warren's "The Front Runner" (the fictional story of a gay man and his gay coach/lover competing into the 1976 Olympics) gave an even greater depth and aspect to Warren's book as well as a greater understanding of the painful and euphoric extremems gay athletes endure. My one hope is that Woog writes a second book, with either new accounts of these proud gay athletes, or a follow-up of those already shared in his book.
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