Think of all the things you're looking for in a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Kindness, sense of humor, things in common, physical attraction, helpful, respectful...
How about world-class sprinting speed? You into that? Would you settle for someone fast enough to run sprints in the Big Ten?
Well, bad news: At least two of them are already off the market -- with each other -- and seem totally, adorably in love. University of Minnesota track-sters Brad Nuemann (originally from Peshtigo, WI) and Justin Rabon (of Milwaukee) came out to each other back in 2014, as reported this week in Outsports.
At the time, Rabon was running for the University of Wisconsin, and rumors of his sexuality had driven him to isolation and depression. He finally texted a friend, admitting he might be into men. The friend texted back -- "faster than I could run," Rabon writes -- with a nonchalant, "Oh, that's cool."
For that particular friend, it was pretty cool: Rabon had come out to Neumann, his future U of M teammate, and now boyfriend of two and a half years. It was Rabon's confessional text message that started turning their friendship into something more.
Rabon soon decided to leave Madison and join Neumann, who was already running for the Gophers. Writes Rabon:
"The move to Minnesota was the “fresh start” I’d always seen on television shows and movies, but I didn’t realize was an actual thing. I decided to start everything new and not be this secretive person, so the friends I made knew everything about me from the get-go."
Neumann's path to self-acceptance was no easier. Growing up in small-town Wisconsin, he'd been taught being gay was "one of the filthiest features a person could have." Neumann tried to literally run from his identity as a teenager, hoping his track success would mask his sexuality. "It worked on everyone but me," he says now.
In the single most delightful moment in this whole story, Neumann says he first knew Rabon as that guy from Milwaukee who "unrightfully took" his 200-meter state championship, after Neumann was disqualified for a false start. "[Rabon] thinks he would have won either way, but I know otherwise."
Neumann recalls he thought he'd get away from small-town homophobia by moving to Minneapolis, and fell into a depression after he realized he'd been wrong. Still "surrounded by jocks," he "endured an incredible amount of homophobic locker room talk."
This was back in fall 2014, right around the time a University of Wisconsin sprinter was nearing the end of his rope. Turns out, Neumann needed to receive Rabon's text as much as Rabon had needed to send it.
Does anyone know someone in Hollywood? Let's start casting and get this movie made by October.
So far this year, Neumann has been the Gophers' fastest sprinter, with a best time of 10.44 in the 100 meters, and 21.33 in the 200 meters. Rabon, meanwhile, reports he's "one semester away from receiving my undergraduate degree in Kinesiology."
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