It's hard to write about a friend who has just died, but people need to know about Anthony Castro, killed in a crash in the Southern California mountains on Jan. 21. He was 19.
Anthony was that rarest of people – an athlete out to his team. In Anthony's case, he was out in high school to his football and wrestling teams, our two most macho team sports. It took guts to take such a step but Anthony never thought too much about it – he was not ashamed of who he was and if you were uncomfortable, that was your problem.
My favorite Anthony story involves his senior year of wrestling. A fellow wrestler used to make snide homophobic remarks to Anthony.
Rather than file a complaint with the school, Anthony addressed the problem head on – he challenged the wrestler to a put-up-or-shut-up match. It didn't take very long, as Anthony had the guy pinned in about 20 seconds. That stopped the heckling and Anthony told me the guy quit the team.
Anthony was not a student in some L.A. Westside hotbed of tolerance. Rather, he lived in Banning, two hours east of L.A. in the desert and a rather "red" part of a very "blue" state. Being out in Banning, a pretty rough place, takes some big cojones.
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Anthony Castro photo by Brent Mullins