10/07/2013 12:56 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

After Coming Out, College Basketball Player Finds Passion For Sport At All-time High


For the past 12 years, I have known at least four things to be true: the blue Power Ranger was the best Power Ranger; no one can coach basketball better than Mike Krzyzewski; the Green Bay Packers stand for everything that’s right in this world; and I have always been different. I fully accepted the greatness of the first three, but tirelessly fought the last. For the longest time, I didn’t exactly know what this different was. The turning point in my journey was the day I realized and accepted that this difference meant that I was gay.

My name is Derek Schell, 22 years old from New Berlin, Wisc., a suburb of Milwaukee. I am a 6-1 senior guard for Division II Hillsdale College in south central Michigan. Since I can remember, the fear of being different led me to act differently in separate aspects of life. I found my escape in the gym, losing myself in training for and learning the sport I love. I excelled in the classroom, studying and using my creativity to draw attention to my scholastic identity rather than personal characteristics.

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