As written on boldinbeautiful.com
As summer comes to an end, and we gracefully enter the fall season, the game of football re-enters our lives, too! WAGS, the time has come to throw that “S” on your chest and get ready for some football! The men are grinding, getting ready for Sunday, while the ladies are behind the scenes getting it all together for Sundays, too. Behind each uniform is a superwoman, a jack of all trades, the master of it all! The real MVP’s ;)
Every year, for the last 14 years, I have looked forward to football season and the rollercoaster that inevitably follows. The highs and lows that come with each season still wreck my nerves! In fact, no matter how hard I tried, I never learned how to watch an NFL game like the average fan, and this may sound crazy but I actually enjoyed the games a lot more when my husband was not on the field (I’m sure all my fellow NFL WAGS can relate).
From a professional standpoint, my husband and I have been fortunate to experience the game of football since our early twenties, which also means our perspectives have changed over the course of those years as well. In my twenties, I did not understand the influence, platform, or risk that accompanied my husband’s job. To be honest, I was too busy finding myself to take football seriously. In the beginning of our NFL journey, I understood that my boyfriend was performing well, setting records and making a name for himself, but I was still trying to figure out my life as a post-college grad. With time comes change, and as season 15 was set to begin in the fall of 2017, Anquan, my husband, made the decision to hang up his cleats. Although I will miss seeing him play every Sunday, I am indescribably overjoyed and proud that this moment came on my husband’s terms and that he was able to walk away from the game he loves with a sense of peace and satisfaction.
Four teams and 13 years later, not only has Anquan set records and achieved personal milestones, but my perspective has also grown and changed exponentially, too. So, for my sports wives, and lovers of sports alike, I thought I would share a few lessons I learned along the way.
Lessons I've Learned...
1. It’s okay to embrace the identity of a sports WAG. You are in that space for a reason, so make the best of it!
2. Support your man! Go all out and cheer at every game as if it’s his last. Cheer for him when he is up and nurse him when he is down.
3. Do your part to keep him healthy. Support a healthy lifestyle through healthy foods and healthy habits. Build a team of experts around your man to keep him in great shape.
4. Do not be afraid to embrace the concept that football is family. During the season, when you are living in an unfamiliar place, do not be afraid to let your football family support you. Besides, no one knows the challenges of the game, on and off the field, better than a fellow WAG.
5. Be that girl to make the newcomer feel welcome. The scariest part of the WAG experience is joining a new team and being the new woman in town. Talk about anxiety! I have always found comfort in a friendly face or warm hello from a WAG.
6. Stay in touch with people you meet along your football journey. Chances are, you will run into them often and those people will become your support system, even if you are on opposing teams in the future.
7. If you are able to travel to the away games, go! I started traveling back in 2008 after witnessing my husband in a collision that rendered him unconscious and fractured his face in several places. At that moment, I realized how much my husband sacrificed for our family. So, the least I could do was be there to support him.
8. Forget the competition. As WAGS, we are there to support one another; we are all in this together. Our jobs are too complicated to compete with one another. Lift each other up and adjust your fellow WAG’s crown.
9. Football is a business. Show love to the team that pays the bills but never forget that football is business. Emotions and business never work well together. Leave your emotions at home, honey. I speak from the experience of Anquan being traded twice. The second time around, we were able to leave without taking the trade personally.
10. Stay out of the comment sections online. Fans and critics can sometimes cross the line. As true defenders of our men, it is easy to want to give them a good tongue lashing, but that is a waste of time. Keep it positive!
11. Remember – you represent your man at all times. Above all else, be a lady. Dress the part, behave the part, and do your part to represent him well.
12. Enjoy the journey. For most of us, football is a quick snapshot in our lives so I encourage you to soak up every moment. This experience is unparalleled, so make the best of it.
13. The overall experience is bigger than football. For me, football was more of a faith walk than anything else. Football has taught me to pray and to trust God, and I realized I was in this space to share the love of God with others. I challenge you to find your true place in the space of football.
14. Find your true identity outside of football. When the time comes for your husband/significant other to move on from football, be able to answer the “what next” question.
Football, for our family, was much more than touchdowns and interceptions and far deeper than wins and losses. We experienced countless life lessons, made several friends, and visited numerous places, thanks to the game of football. Although our on-field experiences have come to an end, we look forward to enjoying the game from a different standpoint! Cheers to the 2017–2018 season!
Beauties, which team are you rooting for this football season? I am going back to cheering for the Ravens.
Editor's Note: Visit boldinbeautiful.com to connect with Dionne!