Fearless on and off the ice, John Epping is just the star sport needs

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Big Read: John Epping would rather let his curling do the talking. But as the only openly gay star male athlete in major North American sports, he feels a responsibility to talk about his sexuality. ✍: KrRutherford Pride | UnitedBySport

"HE'S A LEADER IN SPORT AND A LEADER IN LIFE"John Epping would rather let his curling do the talking. But as the only openly gay star male athlete in major North American sports, he feels a responsibility to talk about his sexuality — and hopes his example will empower others.t’s a steamy 30 degrees in Toronto and soon John Epping will be heading up to his cottage for a late afternoon tee time.

What kept Epping curling was the skip position. “The pressure of throwing the last rock,” the 37-year-old says, in his soothing, gravelly voice. Epping is dressed casually in a white t-shirt with a Sedona desert landscape on it, dark pants and sneakers. He’s also wearing an Eppic Ale hat to cover a full head of dark hair that hasn’t been cut in months . “I thrive, I love that pressure of the last rock,” he continues. “It’s such a cool feeling.

Epping’s brown eyes grow bigger as he recalls getting that call to play for Middaugh, and the nerves he felt ahead of their first event as teammates. “He was my idol growing up — I get to play with my favourite curler in the world,” he says, bringing his hands down on the table for emphasis. “I kept asking questions about his career. I just wanted to hear stories. [There’s that game where you name] five people in the world you want to sit at the table with. He would’ve been at my table.

“My best man at my wedding was one of the last people I told, because I was worried. He means so much to me, and you don’t want to lose him, right?” Epping says. “But that’s in your own head. That wasn’t in his head, but that’s what’s going through your mind when you’re coming out. You don’t want to lose anybody. You care the most about them and you don’t want this to change their perception of you.

Shortly after that conversation, Shipton and Epping and all their parents went up to the cottage together, and their parents had a heart-to-heart. Their sons could still have a family if they wanted, even the classic white picket fence. “[That conversation] brought people together in a nice way, even though there was a little bit of turbulence at the beginning,” Shipton says. The six of them now take a yearly trip to Las Vegas together.

 

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KrRutherford Maybe they are fewer than few-and-far-between because most people keep their sex life private. 🤔

KrRutherford Excellent curler and an even more excellent human being. EppingJohn

KrRutherford What about Michael Sam?

KrRutherford EppingJohn is a super person. He’s done a lot for Toronto curling!

KrRutherford Great article. If you want to hear more from TeamJohnEpping, John recent joined JGoldberg12 & SNSAlli on Sportsnet Today.

KrRutherford Great article about a great guy ❤️👍🏼

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