September 5, 2013

Jeff Adams on Hat Trick

I worked on Hat Trick over a span of six years. There's been a lot of advancement for LGBT rights during that time and among them is the creation of the You Can Play project, which debuted in March 2012.

You Can Play has an important mission: You Can Play is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation. You Can Play works to guarantee that athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete, judged by other athletes and fans alike, only by what they contribute to the sport or their team's success. You Can Play seeks to challenge the culture of locker rooms and spectator areas by focusing only on an athlete's skills, work ethic and competitive spirit.

While, at its core, Hat Trick is a love story between two high school hockey players, Simon Roberts and Alex Miller, the sport is a dominant force in their lives. Their team is on a quest to win the state championship for the first time in years and the two don't want to shift focus from that goal. Plus, for Simon in particular, hockey is a potential ticket to the college of his choice with a scholarship that will allow him to be less reliant on his parents.

I was deliberate in writing the coach characters in Hat Trick so they would be more interested in what Simon and Alex bring to the game rather than their couple status. This is especially true of their high school coach that they work with every day. As the guys are forced out of the closet, Coach Archer is very direct that, as long as the Simon and Alex continue to play the game he expects, their positions on the team are secure. As You Can Play says in its videos: If you can play ... you can play.

In just its first year, You Can Play has repeated the message with an array of players ranging from NHL stars, to college athletes, to others from leagues around the country. It's empowering for young LGBT people to hear it as they figure out their sexuality while wanting to pursue sports. It's also serves notice to the haters that their offensive language and bullying will not be tolerated. You Can Play may have started in hockey, but the message is relevant to all sports.

I'm proud, as a gay hockey player myself and as the author of Hat Trick, that I am able to use the story as a small way to spread the You Can Play message. I believe in the organization so much, that I'm donating one dollar for each copy of Hat Trick sold (both e-book and paperback) to You Can Play so they can continue to do their important work.

Read an excerpt or buy a copy today!

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