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"...stunning feature debut."

- Calgary International F
ilm Festival


Disciplined high school athlete Dakota Riley lives his life within carefully-designed boundaries, a calculated blueprint upon which he’s formed the basis of his identity.  But when the reality of his identity is thrown into disarray, Dakota is forced to confront the consequences of denying himself, or

come to terms with who he really is.


I was 12 years old when I strapped on my first pair of shoulder pads. In high school, I lived a disciplined life as a prep athlete; early morning workouts, pasta dinners with the team, two-a-days in 90° weather. Through it all, a troubling suspicion boiled in me. As it became clearer, that suspicion turned into a clichéd denial: ‘It’s just a phase,’ I reassured myself.  It was a feeling I grappled with at every weight-lifting session, every class presentation, and every school dance.


I wrote this film as a way to express what thousands of queer youth are continuing to go through right now.  The film aims to shine a light on the coming-out process through a contemporary lens, and to tell the thousands of young, closeted, questioning athletes that they aren’t alone– and that everything is going to be okay.

The adage is to write what you know. I know the world of high school football, I know what it’s like to struggle with identity.  This story was an assignment to myself, to make the movie that I needed to see in 2011, 2012. Things were different then.  I’ve written personal stories before, but never on this magnitude. I played four years of high school ball, almost played into college.


There were expectations I’d set, of myself, from parts of my community, that I was supposed to go out and pursue a scholarship, play NCAA after graduating; it didn’t quite work out that way.  There’s thousands of kids, young athletes, especially in the flyover states, who might be feeling stuck, or trapped, unable to live authentically.  That was me, ten years ago. This movie is for that kid, that young athlete. You’re not alone.



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