The Yards Between Us - A Memoir of Life, Love, and Football Book

The Yards Between Us - A Memoir of Life, Love, and Football Book

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The Yards Between Us explores Russell's life in the NFL, his love of football, men and women, walking the devastating tightrope of keeping his sexuality secret, the tension between his private and public lives, and the importance of crashing through barriers.

One part inspirational journey and one part coming of age as an athlete struggling to break a mould, THE YARDS BETWEEN US follows in the footsteps of powerful sports memoirs like Agassi's Open, Misty Copeland's Life In Motion and Megan Rapinoe's One Life.

The memoir will trace Ryan's experience discovering his sexuality alongside his life in football, recounting the defining people and moments in his life, the moments where he tries to reconcile the competing forces that have shaped him, and the journey to fully loving himself and others.

While it will focus on his football years, the memoir will dip back in time to Buffalo, New York, with the tragic loss of his stepfather, his early life as a shy kid struggling with the expectations on a Black boy in Dallas, the pull between his quiet nature and his athletic ability, the uncertainty of an adolescence in which his love for the game means he has to deeply hide things about himself. From hiding from bullies in the bathroom in grade school to learning how to fight and keep it secret to the first moment he truly fell in love with football when his mum took him to his first NFL game, The Yards Between Us traces the highs and lows of Russell's life and career in the NFL.

Notably, we see Russell realise that keeping his secret in the NFL is easier than in college when life and football are so much more connected to social worlds, but that at this higher level, though there's much more ability to hide, there's also much more at stake. Ryan still loves the game and knows he is a stronger player for sharing who he really is. Also, he now knows that his success or happiness does not depend only on his future in football. Ryan's hope is that this story will have a significant impact on football culture and others struggling to live true to themselves.

To that end, Ryan has been able to advocate for inclusion in sports globally and talk to LGBTQ+ communities around the country. Instead of NFL coaches challenging him on the field, he's been able to challenge, question, and ultimately, help the NFL grow as a league. He's spoken on behalf of Black people in America and fought against racism and hate on all levels.

Ultimately, Ryan realised that happiness is no longer only about stats, wins, and games but about his art, his love (for himself and others), and inciting change for the better. Ryan's memoir shows us the power, the love and the benefit of starting over and starting strong.

"This is a touching and beautiful book that's about so much more than football- it's a lifeline. From his vivid telling of growing up in Texas with a single mother, to his groundbreaking experience coming out as an NFL player, this story introduces a brilliant and inspiring new voice."
Gabrielle Union, actress, producer, advocate and New York Times bestselling author

"An intimate journey with a trailblazing queer athlete, The Yards Between Us goes far beyond the gridiron in its exploration of everything from the euphoria of a first fling to the complexities of coming out in the public eye. A tender, discerning book from a force to be reckoned with in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights, both on and off the field."
Eric Cervini, Historian of LGBTQ+ politics and culture, New York Times best-selling author, Puli

"The power of sport, much like storytelling, is its ability to bring people of different backgrounds and cultures together for a common goal, to be unique yet unified, and to find the strength in that sense of community. Russell's book shows us how to find that strength in our lives and ourselves."
Spencer Paysinger, Writer/Producer of All American, Former NFL athlete and Super Bowl XLVI Champion

Author Ryan Russell
Format Hardback
Pages 304
ISBN 9781368081368


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