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Finding Her Euphoria

Houston Dash midfielder Christine Nairn came out to inspire others.

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Christine Nairn (photo by Wilf Thorne)

Houston Dash midfielder Christine Nairn isn’t normal. In December of 2017 she wrote on her blog, Finding Euphoria: I am done with living a life that is acceptable to someone else’s standards of “normal.” As a female, it is not “normal” to prioritize your life around a sport. I do. It is not “normal” to only live in an area for 6 months because you have to go to your next season. I do. It is not “normal” to miss holidays with the family because you are playing soccer. I do. It is not “normal” to be gay. I am. It’s not “normal” to not know what you want to do with your life. I don’t. The list goes on and on, but it shouldn’t matter because what even is normal?

If anything, the 28-year-old soccer star’s accomplishments are way above normal. The five-foot-six blonde is a bundle of energy on the field, and a laid-back writer, clothing designer, and coffee drinker off the field. Besides her day job and her writing, she also designs activewear that she sells on her blog.

“I am currently single,” she says, “but I’m a pretty private person. I decided to come out because if I can help people find their euphoria, then I’m willing to be out. I think a lot of people, including professional athletes, are struggling with who they are. But I don’t want to be just gay, or just an athlete. I want to be a well-rounded person, I want to be a good girlfriend, friend, daughter, and sister.”

It was Nairn’s two older brothers, Kevin and T.J., who got her interested in soccer. Born in Annapolis, Maryland, growing up she wanted to do everything they did, and they played soccer. All three went on to play in college, too. She went to Penn State and had a successful soccer career, scoring 34 goals and becoming a finalist for the Hermann Trophy in her senior year.

Nairn turned pro in 2013, the opening year of the National Women’s Soccer League. She has tallied 33 goals and played over 10,000 minutes. She also played for the U.S. national team. Her brothers went on to other careers, but she says they love that she turned pro.

“When I played in D.C., they came to every game, and I think they have the jerseys of all the teams I’ve played for,” she says.

In February of this year, the Orlando Pride traded her to the Houston Dash for a 2019 international roster spot and the Dash’s natural third- and fourth-round picks in the 2020 draft. Nairn says the trade was a mutual decision.

“Houston is very different from the East Coast, where I grew up,” she says, “but I love it. The girls are very supportive, and the coach really challenges me.” Nairn shares an apartment with Houston Dash goalkeeper Bianca Henninger, who is the same age.

“I’ve known her from soccer camps since we were 16,” she says. “So it’s really nice to have her here. Plus, she has the best restaurant recommendations! So far, it’s been great barbeque and Tex-Mex, but we don’t discriminate against any type of food.”

She hasn’t seen much of the city yet, and likes to lay low when she’s not playing or practicing. Although you’re most likely to find her curled up at a coffee shop with a good book, she does hope to take in some Pride events this month. Currently she’s reading Game of Thrones—and yes, she tuned in for the show’s now-famous final episode.

“It was kind of a big buildup for nothing,” Nairn says. “But it was okay.”

What she’s really more intent on is capturing her own Iron Throne.

“This team is such a special group of players,” she says. “I really think we can go far this season. I’m just happy to be in Houston with this team.”

 

 

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Dash players share what Pride means to them and how the club and city celebrate inclusiveness and love through the beautiful game.

A post shared by Houston Dash (@houstondash) on

This article appears in the June 2019 edition of OutSmart magazine.

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Marene Gustin

Marene Gustin has written about Texas culture, food, fashion, the arts, and Lone Star politics and crime for television, magazines, the web and newspapers nationwide, and worked in Houston politics for six years. Her freelance work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Austin-American Statesman, Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Texas Monthly, Dance International, Dance Magazine, the Advocate, Prime Living, InTown magazine, OutSmart magazine and web sites CultureMap Houston and Austin, Eater Houston and Gayot.com, among others.
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