Theodore Lisoski and I became friends on Facebook a while ago and seemed to really hit it off as far as liking each other’s content. One day we figured out that we actually had gone to the same grade school together at Queen of Peace, located in Salem, Oregon. Theodore was a year older than me but I remembered him and his younger sister Cathy. They moved with their parents when Theodore was 11 to Vancouver, WA and he now resides in Beaverton, Oregon.
We started discussing the fact that he also plays football and that he happens to be the first out gay male playing football in his league.
Theodore also has overcome a lot in dealing with Autism. He seemed to really connect with the sport of football and we have developed a friendship over the last couple of years.
Theodore started playing football when he tried out for a semi-pro team in Hillsboro, Oregon. He had never played before and on top of everything was starting in his early 30’s, so it felt to him like a shot in the dark. It required him to jump in feet first as other players on his team had been playing for years. Theodore tried out to be a wide receiver but quickly found a home at defensive back. He may try to learn linebacker as well in the future.
Theodore later tried out for the Portland Monarchs in January of 2014 and has played 3 seasons with them. They changed their name to the Pit Bulls in 2015. This next season he hopes to join the Cowlitz Cobras.
Theodore doesn’t have a favorite NFL team but likes specific players around the league like Julian Edelman. Theodore stumbled upon his CoachUp ad where he posted his draft report from 2009 and was inspired because he related to being overlooked. He claims to not much like the Seattle Seahwaks, “but that’s more of a Portland versus Seattle fight rather than anything else.”
Theodore states that his late start to football was difficult because he didn’t have the knowledge base that other players on his team did. He thought that being gay was going to be a hurdle but “it was far less a hurdle than my Autism.” Football is the definition of a team sport and Autism can make it harder to relate to others.
The thing that drives Theodore seems to be those that doubt him. “I am constantly told that I am too old or too inexperienced.” He enjoys making up for lost time and proving the doubters wrong. Football has taught him that it can be difficult at times to translate work into respect from others, but that the definition of who you are is when you are able to continue to invest your passion in it, despite the obstacles. His proudest moment is that he has stuck with it when he easily could have backed out.
He would tell those that look up to him that, you are going to meet all sorts of people in life, some of which are great and some of which are not. When you face constant doubt, it just shows that they are actually are invested in you which makes it that much sweeter when you prove them wrong.
Theodore is also proud of the fact he was able to get his partner of 9 years to work with the team as a videographer and they are able to share the experience of the game together. He loves that his partner is learning the game as they go.
Theodore has a sense of humor as well. Last season, he got trucked and got his bell rung on a punt return. He was running the field as a gunner and one of their linebackers hit him. Theodore got back up “like a distressed turtle” and walked to the sideline. Everyone asked him if he was OK and he said with some strain, “it’s just a diaphragm, I’ll be fine.”
Theodore will not let anything hold him back. That’s one of the great things about the game is that despite his obstacles, the fact that he sticks with it, proves his character. I think that sports have the ability not to necessarily build character but reveal it. In life, you don’t sometimes know how strong you are until you are tested. His dreams prove his resiliency and his steps on the field prove his victory, no matter what the scoreboard says.
His biggest dream is to become an import player for an international team. He has always been drawn to Germany but he would be happy to play for anyone if only for a season. One thing is for certain, he will fight tooth and nail for it.
You can follow Theodore: