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Behind the Scenes: Pride 2024 at BetterSleep with Collin Martin
lifestyle / news
Behind the Scenes: Pride 2024 at BetterSleep with Collin Martin
by Scott Yim
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At BetterSleep, we keep our dedicated listeners and our company values at the center of everything we do. We are steadfast in our mission to improve the mental health of millions around the world, and strive to produce content that represents our diverse community of global listeners. In the first half of 2024, you may have seen our special releases for Black History Month, Women’s History Day, Asian American and Pacific Islander Month, and Mental Health Awareness Month.

As Head of Product Experience and Content, I support our team’s unwavering commitment to creating content that celebrates and amplifies diverse creators and artists in every step of the production process. From writing or composing, to editing or voiceover, each release is the result of contributions made by many talented individuals. I’m always thrilled to hear a piece has resonated with our listeners, helping them feel seen and represented on their journey to better sleep and improved mental health.

Pride Month

During this year’s Pride Month, BetterSleep is proud to partner with Collin Martin, professional American soccer player for the United Soccer League’s North Carolina FC, as he narrates a SleepTale about the power of inclusivity in sport. At BetterSleep, we aim to cultivate an inclusive workplace where everyone is accepted for the unique background they bring to our team. We aspire for the joyful celebration of diversity that is synonymous with Pride Month to be our everyday standard. We believe this inclusivity enhances our strengths and equips us to better serve our community. This collaboration is one example of that.

Collin came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in 2018 when playing Major League Soccer for Minnesota United, making national headlines as the only active, openly gay professional male athlete in one of the five major professional sports in the United States. While Collin will try to underplay the trailblazing impact he’s had in holding the door open for others like him, I can personally attest to the significance it held for me as a former collegiate athlete and member of the LGBTQ+ community. At that time, queer athletes were rarely represented in sports, so to come full circle and get to work with Collin on this story has been exciting and meaningful.

Our New SleepTale for Pride

In “Pride on the Soccer Field,” Collin tells the story of a talented young soccer player named Jack—a story that is inspired by his own personal experience with the sport. Jack moves from Washington, D.C. to Minnesota, where he faces the difficult decision of coming out to his new high school team. With the support of his coach and his commitment to playing soccer, Jack bravely reveals his truth. This act of vulnerability encourages others to share parts of their identities that ultimately brings the team closer together and further united in their shared love of soccer.

A digital collage of Collin Martin, professional soccer player, and Scott Yim, Head of Product Experience and Content at BetterSleep,at the recording studio. On the left, Collin is smiling while giving the camera a thumbs up. He is wearing large recording headphones and sitting in front of a microphone. On the right, a selfie shows Scott and Collin smiling right at the camera.A digital collage of Collin Martin, professional soccer player, and Scott Yim, Head of Product Experience and Content at BetterSleep,at the recording studio. On the left, Collin is smiling while giving the camera a thumbs up. He is wearing large recording headphones and sitting in front of a microphone. On the right, a selfie shows Scott and Collin smiling right at the camera.

On recording day, Collin and I met outside a local coffee shop in Raleigh, NC. Within a few minutes of meeting him, my initial thought was: wow, you wouldn't assume he's a professional athlete. Collin emanates a calm, quiet confidence, and an affable, polite brightness toward strangers. The first interaction I observed was him holding the door open for another patron, followed by a warm, inviting exchange with the barista taking his order. With coffee cups in hand, we transitioned to a bench outside to discuss the day ahead.

There was a palpable feeling of Collin fully present that was true the entire day. Our conversations provided insight into how he intentionally aims to make a difference in the world. For example, Collin thinks expansively and thoughtfully about how his community involvement can help improve queer representation globally and locally, reflects on the intersectionality of his identity, relationships, and Episcopalian faith, and ponders the many options for his future once he finishes his professional soccer career (soccer fans can breathe relief—right now, he's at the top of his game).

Pride in Professional Soccer

Collin has come a long way since coming out in 2018, and is settling into his own. "I'm in such a good place with who I am," he says with a resolute delivery that is as self-assured as it is reflective. He tells me about the belonging, support, and purpose he felt with his teammates and the greater San Diego community while playing for the USL’s San Diego Loyal from 2021-2023. Now, in North Carolina, Collin strives to recreate this special dynamic between his work and personal endeavors, though he recognizes it will take time. Between recently hosting a team barbecue at his and his partner's home, having his supportive neighborhood show up in full force to a recent match, and voicing Jack's story for the BetterSleep community, it's apparent he's off to a great start.

Collin’s humble self-awareness, kindness, and ability to remain present that I witnessed during our "in-between" moments were consistent throughout our recording day and in each step of the creative process leading up to it. Story editing and voiceover narration were not pursuits Collin had explored before, but they were challenges he embraced head on with the same dedication and commitment I imagine he applies to his craftsmanship in soccer. While Jack's story is fictional, Collin's edits and touches that draw from his background are evident throughout the entire story.

One part of the story that was particularly memorable to me was the feeling of potential Jack experiences each time he sets foot on the soccer field. As Collin spoke about his team, his community, and the potential future ahead, I noticed a spark of that same sense of opportunity reflected in his eyes. While he admits he doesn’t have it all figured out, I’m confident that whichever paths he chooses will involve him paving the way for others, just as he did when he courageously came out. It seems holding the door open for others is just a part of who Collin Martin is. And as you drift off to “Pride on the Soccer Field,” I hope you'll feel inspired by a similar sense of opportunity that carries you through to a restful night’s sleep.

Scott Yim is Head of Product Experience and Content at BetterSleep. He thanks Collin Martin and the inimitable team at BetterSleep for their commitment to creating spaces where everyone is accepted and celebrated for who they are.

Listen now to feel inspired by community and inclusivity with a soccer story narrated by professional player Collin Martin.

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