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17 Mar

Michael Sam: From Water Boy to Footballer and the First Openly Gay Player in the Professional Sport

Posted by hy nguyen

Not every athlete is born to realize their talent and interest in a particular sport. Some take certain path that themselves do not exactly know where it leads only to realize who they are and what they could become.

In fact, this kind of story is all too common to many people, to actually know from another perspective is hardly surprising—just like probably the life of Michael Sam who, until 8th grade, was his school’s varsity team’s water boy who eventually become its both defensive and offensive team member.

Born Michael Alan Sam, Jr. from Galveston, Texas in January 7, 1990, Michael attended Hitchcock High School where he spent his all four years as a defensive lineman, a time of which when he was also recipient of the first-team All-District honors.

His last two years in high school as a football player were also spent as an offensive lineman which had him pitted against an All-American player from Chavez High School consequently earning the attention of the crowd.


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Post high school, Michael was rated 2 stars by Rivals.com as a football college recruit. Receiving scholarship offers from three prominent universities namely the Arizona State University, University of Houston, and Colorado State University, none of which was Sam’s choice which consequently led him to go to an altogether different university—University of Missouri—resulting from a direct recruitment by the its team’s defensive line coach.

With notable performances and as a host to a number of awards, Sam’s college career is solid enough to secure his entry to a higher level in his chosen sport. It is after graduating from college that Michael Sam openly admitted of his sexual orientation as a gay person.

Found lacking the height and the build to become a part of a team’s defensive end in the NFL, Sam switched role into becoming an outside linebacker where he struggled handling which deemed him “slow” for the new position.

Despite a hampered reputation resulting from a low performance rating, Sam managed to enter the NFL after getting drafted by the St. Louis Rams during the drafting’s 7th round.

As an open homosexual, Michael earned the support of the LGBT community even to a point of making great sales of his own printed name jersey—a second best-seller following Cleveland Browns’ Johnny Manziel.

While Sam’s luck did not pushed through in the NFL after having been waived off by the Rams and the Cowboys, he eventually found his place in Canada by being able to play with the Alouettes in the CFL since 2015 under a signed two-year contract.


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