Meet Asha Still, wife of Houston Texans' Devon Still. Asha is as strong as she is sweet, as sincere as she is straight forward and as gorgeous as she is gracious.
Usually I can just sit down and start writing. The words just seem to flow but this time was different. I was nervous and anxious but I wasn't sure why. Despite knowing what I wanted to write about, I kept delaying the inevitable. Why wasn't it flowing? Why was I being so hesitant about writing this time? Was it because it was too personal or hitting a little too close to home? Or maybe I wasn't making it a priority. I decided "enough was enough" and I needed to get this out. I believe that if God puts something on your heart, you better listen. No need to miss blessings because of laziness. Throughout my journey in growing in God, I have tried to be a better person, making adjustments here and there just like we all do. Most of those changes didn't cause much of a fuss in my life and seemed easy— but then God challenged me. Why was it okay for me to grow in God but not others?
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. - Romans 14:13 NIV
We are all guilty of judging others. No matter how many church services we attend or holy communions we take, at some point in our lives we have judged someone else. Whether it be how they dress, how they look, or even how they raise their children. We have all done it. Primarily we judge others based on how their behavior or actions measure up to our moral compass. This is a part of life but I realized that even if the person has changed, often we don't allow the perception of how we think of them to change. We create this barrier in our minds that blocks out their growth. We refuse to believe that our pettiness is no longer warranted or excusable. I was guilty of all of these things. Why was I still holding on to stuff people did in college or even last year? How could I grow in God but not give them the grace that God so eagerly gives to us?
After the nagging feeling just wouldn't go away, I started to evaluate myself. I realized that whatever I was holding on to was holding me back from being greater. So I made a decision that I would allow others to grow in God. Who was I to refuse that? If someone reached out or apologized for their wrongs, I wouldn't secretly wish they didn't so I could be the “better person.” Also, I decided to not let the opinions of others prevent me from developing my own opinion of someone. Just like I grew, others can too.
As women in this crazy NFL life it is easy to just judge others or refuse to associate with someone based on who they used to be. As women we should challenge one another to grow in God not through criticism or judgment but through love. Growing in God is a blessing that is not limited to the few that qualify; it is open to everyone.
I have been so apprehensive about writing this post but I think it could be cathartic and maybe help someone else. I'm pregnant! Such a blessing but nerve-wrecking at the same time. You see, I already have a 15 month old daughter and she’s a handful. Do I have the energy for one more, the love for another, the patience for another? These were all questions racing through my mind shortly after the confirmed pregnancy.
It’s funny; Jeff and I knew we wanted another child. We discussed it, kinda planned for it, and BOOM prayers answered. He was surprised considering the timing yet still excited. He went about his day while my mind continued to plan 9 months down the road.
After those initial thoughts dissipated, I began to criticize myself. I had such negative thoughts regarding my post- pregnancy body (yes, I was still calling it that), my laughable eating habits as of late, and my nonexistent fitness routine since arriving in Houston. One day, I am making excuses for myself citing the move, the vacation, Joy’s ability to walk, then other days I was on social media comparing myself to the graceful pregnant women that were avoiding maternity clothes, running marathons, eating vegetables and balancing their already full plates. I was in such a destructive place when I was supposed to be celebrating the incredible journey I was about to go on again and enjoying every minute I had left with my only child, Joy.
I know they say comparison is the thief of joy, but there is so much more to it— It had caused me to want to hide my pregnancy in shame. I had no problem waiting till the second trimester to share the news on social media because I refused to be in pictures for the first twelve weeks. Hence the reason I’m just now typing this at 20 weeks! I would run into old friends or acquaintances and make a deplorable joke about my weight gain. I would say, “oh, you thought I just got really big, don’t worry— I'm pregnant!” I was so uncomfortable with my rapidly changing body that I was looking for ways to deflect.
My poor husband; he was so confused. He couldn’t tell if I was happy, upset, or sad. It was such a range of emotions that I just didn’t expect to experience this time around.
After I had Joy, my baby weight journey started with abounding optimism, followed by more reasonable goals, met with extenuating circumstances and exhaustion. Fast forward one year, here I am pregnant again hanging out with those 10 pregnancy pounds from before. I wrote this piece to let you know you're not alone. We aren’t all rubber bands that are going to bounce back immediately, if ever. Our family (now of 4!) was a priority and life is unpredictable. If we’re being honest, had I paid more attention to the clock I probably would have been more adamant about my workouts and diet. Hindsight is 50/50 right?
I have since come to terms with my bulging belly and am enjoying the tiny kick and wiggles of the Allen baby. I also made a decision to get some help! I am working with Leah Egwatu of fitfoodiele.com (@fitfoodiele) who specializes in pre/postnatal fitness. Our weekly sessions have done wonders for my mental health and wellbeing. I make better food choices and feel strong again. I would highly suggest committing to something during your second pregnancy that makes you feel strong. That might be walking every evening or doing yoga. It could also be continuing modified versions of your workout and fighting the strong urge to indulge in ice cream every night.
No two pregnancies are the same but if you find a way to take control of how you feel, you will reap nothing but the benefits. Find a new way to enjoy your pregnancy. The stronger I feel, the less concerned I am about that fact that I broke out the maternity pants way earlier or the shirts I saved from last time around are a little tighter than I remember. I don't obsess over weekly bump pictures though I still take them!
I hope this helps someone that might be frustrated with losing the last few pounds, anxious about having another one or currently pregnant and loathing their swollen feet and soft tummies. We are all fighting struggles not documented on social media. Find your strength and carry on! We are capable of so much more than comparison.
By: Jacqui Butler
Keep these verses in a safe place to reference during training camp, preseason and beyond!
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer" -Romans 12:12
This is my favorite verse for this season of our lives because it covers all the bases! Maintaining a positive outlook for our men is imperative. Our patience when the conversations are short or when frustration sets in is huge. Above all -Prayer, Prayer, Prayer! -is needed, faithfully covering their bodies, minds and spirits.
"Each of you should use whatever gift you have to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms." -1 Peter 4:10
As a busy wife and mom, sometimes it feels like I serve others all day long! But this verse reminds me to REALLY serve them; it pushes me to make sure I’m remembering to personally demonstrate things like faith and forgiveness every day. Whether you have children or don’t, whatever you’re doing, whatever your talents are, God can use it to encourage someone, inspire them or at the very least spark curiosity about God’s hand on their lives!
"The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." -Proverbs 14:1
This is a reminder that you have such POWER!! There is power in your actions, attitudes, and your words. Make sure you are building up your men, building up your children, and don’t forget to build up yourself!
It is that time of year again. The summer is winding down and offseason is coming to end. Football season is almost here. As we anxiously await training camp and the start of the 2016-2017 NFL season- I’m overjoyed and grateful that my husband will be entering yet another year of his football career. I count every year as a blessing, but I get sad thinking about him leaving me for a few weeks of training camp. As we begin to transition to in-season I’m a little bit overwhelmed thinking about my checklist of tasks to complete in order to prepare for the upcoming season. Moving, shutting down our house, finding a new place in a new city, wrapping up loose ends on the business side of things and the list goes on. I know I’ll probably overthink and stress out about everything so I have to remind myself that this part just comes with the territory. It’s all part of being a WAG. In previous years our off-seasons consisted of more time resting and relaxing, but this year we hardly had any time for the break that we are used to getting. We spent most of our offseason finishing up MBA degrees, prepping for a restaurant opening and tech start -up, working on non-profit planning and events, getting the new home together, several business meetings, etc. I yearned for the days to unwind and catch up with my husband but, those days were few and far between and now that camp has arrived; we probably won’t get that kind of time for a few months. When my husband goes off to camp, life doesn’t stop and someone has to carry on the things we’ve been working on and also maintain the every day flow of life. That person is obviously me. The WAG. This sentiment is all too familiar amongst us WAGS.
Sometimes the tasks we take on can be overwhelming managing everything and still trying to find time to do work or work on the things that we need to do for ourselves, our careers, and our families. And no matter how hard it gets we have to keep pushing through, because we can’t let life stop just because football began or else when football actually does end, our life as we know will too.
This is the part of living the "NFL life" that people do not see. When people ask me what it’s like to be a football wife, I typically cringe at the sound of “football wife.” I cringe at the thought that they may be referring to the WAG life they see in the media. Nothing against those women, but here’s a newsflash: most of the time my life is not glamorous at all. Life as a WAG isn’t always easy and isn’t always fun, and most definitely isn’t always a VH1 episode of The Fabulous Life Of. It sometimes means dinners alone, missed birthdays, childbirth, family celebrations and lots of decision making in the midst of uncertainty and adversity coupled with tons of prayer for your man and his health.
It sometimes means packing and moving often, sometimes multiple times within a year. It means trying to make life as comfortable as you can in your temporary home while adjusting to a new city and not knowing anything or anyone. It means having zero adjustment period and often taking care of the all the details and expenses on your own because your husband has to focus on endless hours of practice, rehab/training and studying film. It means getting close to people while not getting too close so that it doesn’t hurt as much when/if you have to leave them and the team. It means hoping and praying your man stays healthy enough to play and keep his job before the next guy who is often younger, faster, stronger takes it away from him. It sometimes means being nurse, doctor, counselor, mediator, lawyer, advocate, chef, administrator and so much more for your man on top of handling and managing your own dreams and goals.
All of this is just part of the game. This is all part of what we signed up for; it’s part of our NFL Life. And no we’re not complaining at all because this life has afforded us so many opportunities, financial rewards, amazing travel experiences and awesome friendships. But at the end of the day it’s all a game and the fans eventually will stop cheering, the phone won’t ring as much and the checks will lack the commas they once had. And whenever this happens it will be our job as the WAGS to keep our men encouraged, hold their hand, making sure that they are spiritually, physically, and mentally ok. No, being a WAG isn’t always pretty, but it’s our life; a life that we all embrace for the love and support of our men and for that reason alone, I’m proud to be called a WAG. Being a WAG means I’m part of a sisterhood of strong, successful, brave women and for that I am grateful.
To all my fellow WAGS known and unknown; I want to celebrate you all as our men head off to camp and we prepare to begin the season. As much as some people outside of our circle of WAGS may not understand this life; I want you to know I do. I get it. For the times you feel your hard work and sacrifice goes unnoticed or unappreciated just know when nobody is watching, I see you! When people paint pictures of you or stereotype you just remember you have your fellow WAG sister in me to know you are more than what the media says about you. We are all in this thing together ladies. Let’s continue to support one another, change the way WAGS are defined, and continue to be the superwomen that we are. Cheers to the start of the 2016-2017 season. Prayers for a healthy season. And high fives for wearing the many hats we all wear. WE are the real MVPs.
Keep doing what you do! Keep Redefining WAGS.
Written by Contributors, Angel Palacios & Grace Allen
Married to: Ricardo Allen, Falcons
Oh, for the love of camp. No, not your favorite summer camp, or “glamping" with your best girlfriends, but, the, ever anticipated FOOTBALL TRAINING CAMP. If you are anything like me, you feel as if those super anticipated four weeks off are going to magically last forever, and then before you know it, you're packing your mans belongings and sending him away for what you and I (and they) know will be a stress packed few weeks away from home. Saying goodbye to the man of the home is never easy, especially when the kiddos have to say goodbye to daddy too. With the recommendation of a fellow WAG, Angel and I have decided to collaborate to come up with a simplified “Camp Packing List” to make your life (and ours) a bit easier. Take what speaks to you, and leave the rest! Happy packing & happy football season!
1. His Bible (or other form of inspiration)
If your man is strong in his faith, don't let him leave home to face the stressors of training camp without The Word in his bag. To make it even easier on him (and to make it feel like you’re right there with him) use post-it notes, or somehow tab specific verses with notes along the lines of “read this when you need to be encouraged”, “read this when you are tired”, “read this when you need to be reminded of how valuable you are”, etc.
There is nothing like a photo to capture a memory, or to cause you to feel a certain emotion (just look at my instagram and you'll know immediately how much I cherish capturing everything in picture form:). Print off some of your favorite photos of the two of you, your family, pets, etc. There is a really cool feature with the Walgreens app that allows you to print off your Instagram photos in the perfect,little, Instagram squares (hello efficiency, simplicity and being able to fit more in a locker).
3. Epsom Salt
Lots of long and tiring hours in the heat and sun leads to sore and achy muscles. One of my favorite things to do for R is to run him an epsom salt bath. Sometimes, if I am feeling extra fancy, i’ll add a few drops of Lavender essential oil to help him relax his mind, as well as his body. My favorite brand is Dr. Teal’s, you can pick it up mostly anywhere, but I typically grab it at Target (because who doesn't want an excuse to make a Target run?:) Dr. Teal’s actually makes a bag that is infused with the lavender essential oil, so its a two for one deal!
If you have ever looked at the schedule for a day of camp, it is structured down to the minute, every minute, including meals. All of the energy that is exerted has to be replaced through food and beverages. I know that the Falcons have an amazing staff that prepares the guys fresh foods during the day, but I don’t quite know what happens at night as far as food and snacks are concerned (and I have a notorious nighttime snacker on my hands). I always send along a box of snacks that are high in protein and carbohydrates, as well as a few guilty pleasure favorites as well. Trail mix, beef jerky, almonds, pistachios, peanut butter pretzels are all great choices. 5. Lucky Items If your guy has any type of superstitious lucky items, don't forget to send them along! Im not going to name any names, but, I know a man that has an extensive collection of superhero socks….and you better believe that a pair, or two, will be making their way to Falcons training camp! xoxo, Grace Allen
Married to: Tevin Mitchel, Raiders
Hey y'all! It's that time of the year again! Season is right around the corner!!! I am praying for everyone's safety as we all head to different places and our hubby's head to camp. Can we all just agree that the month they have off is never quite long enough?!
Here's a picture of my babies at the Cincinnati Zoo saying goodbye before we head back to Texas during camp!
As much as we like to complain about them having to leave, Camp is by far one of the toughest sections of the entire season. So what can we do to help?
Pack or send them a fun basket!
1. The essentials
There is no doubt they forgot or lost AT LEAST one thing on this list, so sending these items is a must:
2. Family Pictures
Something to put in their locker for motivation, or even just to brighten their day!
3. Favorite Snacks
Of course they can't consume too much junk food, but hey a little pick me up snack never hurt anyone😊
My favorite thing to do is write down a list of bible verses that he can reflect on that can help give him a peace of mind even when I'm not around to do so!
Down to Earth, gorgeous, ambitious, genuine; ½ of a dynamic duo is Katie Levitre; former sideline reporter, Bills cheerleader and wife of Andy Levitre, offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons. If you haven’t met Katie, then you are in for a real treat as we chatted about everything from how she met her husband (“love at 2nd sight”) to what she is passionate about (hint, her family and empowering other NFL WAGS).
Name: Katie Levitre
Husband/Team(s): Andy Levitre/ Atlanta Falcons (formerly the Tennessee Titans & Buffalo Bills)
What #hashtag describes you best?
"A large percentage of us don’t work outside of the home because of how much we move, so we don’t have something outside of marriage and children to call our own. I am definitely lucky that Andy always goes out of his way to make sure I am comfortable and made to feel just as important as he is, regardless of the situation. Having someone like him as my husband can make this hard transition a lot easier. I have always been a career driven, independent woman and Andy still treats me like one." Katie Levitre
Who is Katie? Where are you originally from and how did you get to where are now?
I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. Since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to be a journalist, specifically a broadcast journalist. I am passionate about writing and speaking and have always been comfortable performing in front of large groups of people. I graduated #1 in my journalism class from Buffalo State College and immediately pursued my career. I started with an internship at the local NBC station then freelanced for an entertainment website run by the Buffalo News. I moved on to sideline reporting for Time Warner Sports for a year. In early 2013 I was up for a full-time reporting job at one of the top 3 news stations at the same time Andy was ready to move back to California for his first off-season as a free agent. When he asked me to move with him, I had to make a decision that I knew would affect the rest of my life. I was deciding between love and my career. I knew the NFL lifestyle wouldn’t be conducive to my life as a journalist. In the end I know I made the right decision by choosing Andy. It’s easy to think about what life could have been if I had chosen to follow my dreams, but no part of me regrets my decision. If I had to do it all again, I would choose love every time.
How did you meet your Husband?
Andy and I met at a children’s toy drive hosted by the Buffalo Bills. It was his rookie year playing Left Guard for the Bills and my rookie year as a Buffalo Bills cheerleader. We spoke briefly at the event but there was no romantic spark (and thank God, or I would have been kicked off the squad!). Two years after we met, he walked into the bar I was bartending at in college and we both got that butterflies in the tummy, hearts in the eyes feeling. We think of it like love at second sight. There is something so beautiful about timing. We were both in such a stable place when we met the second time around, it was almost as if fate wanted us to wait a little while to really find our soul mate.
Tell us about your day to day?
I am a big spin fan! They have a great place in Atlanta here called Flywheel and the instructors are amazing. I finally understand what people mean when they say they get “addicted” to a workout. After spin, I run a lot of errands and take care of our house(s). I am a dedicated mommy to two French Bulldogs and as anyone with a Frenchie knows, they are quite high maintenance! I also love to cook, which you can imagine is quite enticing to an Offensive Lineman! ;)
What’s your game plan when adjusting to a new city?
I am in the process of trying to downsize everything! Andy and I have lived in 4 states in the past 3 years. My usual game plan was to pack 3,000 bags and hope I had enough. But now I am trying to get rid of things I don’t need so I can alleviate some stress when we go back and forth to our home in California during the off-season. When it comes to making new friends and feeling at home in a new city, it definitively isn’t always easy. Each football city has been totally different for us. I remember my first year dating Andy in Buffalo, some of the veteran’s wives told me that they don’t give new girls or girlfriends the time of day because they don’t know whether they’re going to be around for long. I remember thinking how sad that was! But, now I sort of get it. I will ALWAYS be welcoming and kind to new people but it can be so hard to find friends that you absolutely love only to have one of you leave the next year. In a sense it’s like starting your social life over from scratch every year, not to mention if you’re like us and live in another state in the off-season. Sometimes you just have to take it one day at a time and do your best to make this crazy life feel normal. I’ve been blessed to meet some really incredible people along the way.
What are some of the challenges of being married to an NFL player and what do you like about it?
I think when some people find out you’re married to a man in the NFL they automatically think your husband must be cheating or constantly followed around by women. It may be true for a small portion of the league but for the majority of us- that is definitely not the case. To be honest, its not the women at all- it’s the grown men that are big football fans!! Haha! I joke that I could be standing next to Andy naked and if a guy finds out he plays football they wouldn’t even notice me! In all seriousness though, it can be easy to feel like you’ve lost a big part of your identity. A large percentage of us don’t work outside of the home because of how much we move, so we don’t have something outside of marriage and children to call our own. I am definitely lucky that Andy always goes out of his way to make sure I am comfortable and made to feel just as important as he is, regardless of the situation. Having someone like him as my husband can make this hard transition a lot easier. I have always been a career driven, independent woman and Andy still treats me like one.
What are you passionate about?
My family is my greatest love. I love being a wife, a dog mom, a daughter, sister & daughter-in-law. There is nothing more important to me than the people who surround me. Something else I’ve been passionate about lately is giving not only myself, but also every woman in the NFL a chance to stand on her own. I want to be known as Katie Levitre, not “Andy’s Levitre’s wife” or “the football player’s wife” and I know other women feel the same. Solely identifying as someone’s wife or someone’s mother is not AT ALL a bad thing, but I want to give women a chance to have something outside of the home to call their own if that is what they want. People outside of professional sports don’t understand that its not glitz and glam; women have to leave their families, friends, homes and careers to support their significant others. In every city and on every team we’ve been on at least 5 women have told me that they wish they could work but “no one wants to hire someone for 5 months of the year.” So, I’m making moves to try to change that. I recently spoke with someone from the NFLPA about helping women find companies that would be interested in hiring us in the cities we live in during the season. After all, we are a league full of intelligent, hardworking and mature women!
Tell us about your babies, the bulldogs!
Awww, my babies! They are amazing! I got Titan right after Andy got signed with Tennessee, hence the name. We had to find a dog that could travel in a plane with us and Andy and I both didn’t want anything too fluffy. We were deciding between a French Bulldog and a Pug- until we heard that pugs eyes can pop out when they get too excited! We found Titan (who is blue with tan paws and a white chest) in Dallas. Four months later, I had puppy fever all over again and Andy surprised me for Christmas with a little black and tan Frenchie puppy. I always wanted to name a little girl Olive, but Andy wasn’t in to naming a human baby after a food- haha! So, my little black puppy became my Olive. They are my only children for now and I spoil them accordingly!
Love it! Now for something a little less rigorous; a fun question for you:
What do you do in your home that no one else can do? Lights, Camera, Action!
Despite what you see on TV and on the blogs, most of the women in the NFL are educated, dedicated and driven. They run their husband’s foundations, their own businesses and they hold down their families like I’ve never seen before. They aren’t all stay at home moms either. There are some women that work full time and others (like myself) who chose not to move with their men and instead make the decision to continue their education. When my now husband first began his NFL journey, we were uncertain of his longevity and his future. He went undrafted and after a season ending injury during his senior year- it wasn’t until 8 months after the draft that he got the call to play again. At the time, it didn't feel like it was in my best interest to move with him so I stayed in Texas.
Staying in Texas was a hard decision- a decision that I made for three straight seasons. During those three seasons; I worked full time, had a baby, earned a Masters degree and got married. And after every major life change, I still made the decision to stay (where I was). There were people who called me selfish and said that I would “miss out on being an NFL wife” and that “men of this caliber want their women to stay home.” They speculated about his fidelity and the strength of our relationship and because of this, I often felt anxious and uncertain.
It was never easy but, we trusted each other and knew ourselves. We both had dreams and goals before we met one other and respected the other enough to pursue those goals together and apart. I often wanted to miss those early morning flights home after a late night playoff game—but in retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t.
I’ve met many women around the league who work full time, went to graduate school, law school and even medical school. These women are teachers, reporters and photographers. Many do not make those moves across the country for 1-year deals or uncertain contracts. Some live in their home towns until after training camp to be sure their man is on the final roster. But, in the end we are all sacrificing something to make sure our families are "set" for the future and that is whether you are a stay at home mom or a career women. There is not one "cookie cutter" way to be a supportive wife and mother and because of THAT, we should never feel guilty.
A few weeks ago I graduated from the University of Miami with my Master’s in Business Administration. This is my 3rd degree. Yes I know it sounds a bit ridiculous, but I’m what some people call a career student. I thrive on studying my days away, then complaining and counting down the days to freedom from homework, group projects and exams. I don’t know why I continue to torture myself but for some reason I keep going back. You would think that after earning my bachelor’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and a master’s from Texas Tech in Mass Communications I would have had enough of school, but when an opportunity to pursue my MBA degree came along I couldn’t say no to the opportunity to complete more education. Executive MBA for Artist and Athletes:
The Executive MBA for Artist and Athletes at the University of Miami is a program designed to help professional athletes and their significant other or business partner earn their Master’s in Business Administration in an 18-month long program. The program is completed in six 2-week sessions during the offseason and three online classes during the season. To be honest I had no idea what to expect and I was nervous about doing the program since I was only one of two women joining the incoming class. I knew I would have my husband by my side and the classes would be challenging, but I wasn’t sure how a group of football players would be in the classroom. Upon starting class I quickly learned my classmates were a fun group of guys that were extremely focused and had a strong work ethic.
Perception Not Equal To Reality:
Being surrounded by such a driven group of individuals made me realize the media often portrays our guys in a negative light. All of my classmates were the complete opposite of how we often see football players characterized. The reality is most of them had established businesses and non-profits prior to joining the program and were working towards building legacies that would sustain their success well beyond football. Several of my classmates were and are some of the top players in the league and had reached what some would call the highest height of achievement by making it to the NFL, and yet they still chose to pursue higher education. These aren’t the images we often see so I’m glad I have this platform to show that these guys are more than just football players. They are great fathers, businessmen and leaders who continue to strive for more than the glory of the game and they deserve to be recognized for their contributions on and of the field.
Being in a class of football players I was reminded of how blessed I am to be a part of such a great league but the reality is the NFL is "not for long." The NFL has afforded many of us with the opportunity to build great networks and to travel and experience things that some people only dream of. Although the ride is often fun, it goes by so fast. I realized the best lesson that I can take away from completing the program didn’t come from my professors or my textbooks, but from the very men I sat next to every day. Their work ethic taught me to go after my passions and dreams, to keep learning and networking and to take advantage of all the resources this league has afforded my husband and I.
My husband is going into his sixth season and I must admit in the beginning of his career it felt like football would last forever. Now that we are much closer to retirement than we are to rookie season the reality has set in to enjoy it while it lasts but to also get prepared for the day when it will all be over. For many of us women this may be a little more difficult trying to juggle being a wife or a girlfriend, having families and being supportive to our men, but that’s ok. It’s never too late to start fresh just as long as you start. One of greatest gifts we can give everyone around us is to not give up on our dreams and goals no matter what. For some that means picking up that hobby or dream that was set aside temporarily, for others that means trying something new or challenging or maybe going back to school to earn a degree or two. Whatever it may be I strongly encourage you to take advantage of today. We do not know what tomorrow will bring but we have the ability and power to impact tomorrow by what we do today.
My MBA program taught me a lot about business but so much more about mastering life. Never stop learning, never stop growing and don’t be afraid to take risks. I hope my journey encourages you just a little to jump in head first and do whatever your hearts desire and if you're already doing so kudos to you!
For more information about Executive MBA for Artists and Athletes program feel free to email Jennifer at Jennifer@miamiemba2.com for more information.
We have all heard the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses,” but for the NFL Family this can be very dangerous. One of the first things I tell my clients is “contrary to popular belief everyone in the NFL is not a millionaire.” Matter of fact, most players are not millionaires and most won’t ever be in that tax bracket solely based on their NFL contracts. From private flights to the infamous red bottom shoe wall, the stereotypical NFL life can be every family’s dream. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to fly private? No pesky security lines or stress of fitting your entire life into 50 pounds or less. But the reality is sometimes flying commercial now prevents you from being broke later. The Athlete
Immediately after players declare for the draft, they are propelled into a life of temptation. From expensive watches or loan advancements for new cars, the stereotypical NFL life seems to be a dream come true. Most players are instantly persuaded by agents, homeboys, family members and even some NFL teammates that they should live like a baller. The irony in this is that most of those influencers who push for the elaborate lifestyle would not be able to live the lifestyle without the generosity of the player.
For the athlete, the pressure to live a lavish lifestyle is very real. They must have the latest Jordan’s and designer brands including the famous Louis belt. Yes clothes, cars and bags are important but the true burden comes from nightlife spending. During the lockout, several players flocked to Miami to train but to also party. We have all heard of “Liv on Sunday,” and Liv was definitely aware of all of the NFL money that was in town. Players spending between $7,000 and $10,000 on a table every weekend was the norm, and complaining about it was simply unacceptable. No one cares about “how their accounts are set up.” If they are in the club, then they are buying tables because once they become a NFL player the expectation of high end living is the new standard.
The athlete isn’t the only one facing the pressures of living high. NFL wives are judged by their bags, shoes, cars and even eyelashes. Yes even eyelashes! From elaborate weddings and discussions about who has the biggest ring, the standards are high even if your accounts are low. Eyes are watching and unfortunately this is the downfall of a lot of NFL families. Wives aren’t the only ones who fall victim to the extravagant life, family members and homeboys who all of a sudden can no longer take care of themselves and assume the player is now responsible for their existence are some of the biggest culprits in perpetuating the bravado.
The truth is some players don’t learn that they can’t keep up with the Joneses until they are already knee deep in debt. Car payments, multiple mortgages, high credit card limits, and countless depreciating assets create unnecessary stress on both the athlete and the family. Someone who is making $500,000 a year can’t live the same lifestyle that someone who is making $10,000,000 a year without some pretty crafty investing. Unfortunately, I have witnessed it all from selling all they had to sending out mass texts to people they barely know asking for $20,000 loans.
The reality: Don’t let the time in the NFL be a waste. Become the Jones don’t try to keep up with them.
For more information on how to start a business or a nonprofit, email me at email@example.com.
Tenisha Patterson Brown, Esq.
Forever Fierce, Fabulous & Flawless
This week’s WAG Feature Wednesday is an introduction to our newest platform, Behind The Brand. Our first brand we are highlighting is NFL Wife Handbook, an online blog that was founded by Mallory Brown, the very gracious with a heart of gold wife of NFL veteran, Donald Brown. Mallory and her business partner, Stacie are passionate about sharing their love for Christ with our NFL community and do so in such a motivating and refreshing way that showcases the strongest women in the game! To share your testimony or become featured on their blog; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Who is Behind the Brand?
Mallory Brown is married to NFL veteran Donald Brown who has played in the league for 7+ years — Donald has played for the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers, & recently was added to the New England Patriots Roster. We have two energetic, beautiful, amazing little boys — Hudson, 3 years old and Piersen, 18 months old.
What is her brand?
Back in October of 2015, I was asked by another NFL wife to start a blog — ironically so as this was something I wanted to do a few years back, however I clearly heard God say “wait Mallory, it is not the right time." Sure enough when I got the nudge this past year, I realized God was merely affirming my vision from a few years back. “The NFL Wife Handbook" is merely a platform for NFL wives to share their stories. I view myself as “editor in chief” and love helping share these womens’ awesome testimonies. Stacie (my business partner) and I both felt it was FINALLY time for people to understand and comprehend the real livelihood of our husbands — better yet, the way we pursue the ups and downs of this league is by walking alongside Christ.
I would love for this blog to be a never-ending story. I pray 20+ years from now, I am still blessed with testimonies to share. The power of a wife/girlfriend’s voice in this league is huge — therefore why not hoist up your megaphone and give all the glory back to Jesus. Wouldn’t it be amazing if the NFL was known as a Christian organization with insanely talented football players? It is certainly ambitious to think this, however we are called to pray bold prayers, because we have an omnipresent, powerful God who serves us, and is merely waiting for us to ask Him to do BIG things.
What have you learned on your NFL journey?
My journey through the NFL has been nothing short of amazing. We have had many highs and lows, yet amongst all the inconsistencies Donald’s profession posseses we have loved every waking minute of it. To be truthfully honest, when Donald and I began dating, a few months into our courtship, he informed me of his future plans to pursue the NFL. When I heard those three letters “N-F-L” I immediately pulled back and planned on ending our relationship. I wasn't a football fanatic, and I “knew” enough about the character of these athletes that I certainly did not want to do life alongside one of "those" men. Shame on me for not realizing, Donald was and is so far from the typical stereotype.
Fast forward three years into our lives together (clearly we stayed together), we attended a Christian ministry retreat for NFL athletes and their significant others. It was here, (going on year 4) that our lives, and outlook in the NFL radically were changed for the better. We were invited by a former teammate of my husbands’ and in that week, we gave lives over to Christ. Years 1-3 of Donald’s career were wonderful, however we didn’t do life with God first in mind, rather ourselves. Years 4 and on, God has been the focal point for us as indviduals, as a married couple, as parents, as “missionaries” in our realm of work.
It has been the most insanely rewarding outlook for our each of us. It has made every high that much better, and every low more easily comprehended. I don’t view myself as a “WAG” but rather in a season of my life, where I am called to be His hands and feet to those around me. I understand the value of this platform we have been blessed with, and realize our time is limited to have such a noticeable voice. Therefore if I (alone or with other members of this league) can show the world that we are just regular, Christ-like individuals who are wanting to pave a highway for the Kingdom, then I have done my work with the role I am currently in — that of a “WAG”.
"This house is so full of people it makes me sick. When I grow up and get married, I'm living alone!" Along with a shared love of cheese pizza, Kevin McAllister and I shared a fairly similar worldview. I related to this quote all through my high school years; I couldn't wait to leave for college and get away from family. Freedom was my ultimate goal.
It wasn't until campus was seven hours from home that I found myself more homesick than summer camp of '98. The desire I placed so highly on a pedestal was slowly showing its negative side -- loneliness.
Focusing on what 'Could Be'
How many times do we look to our future and place our happiness on what could be?
"If ____ happens, then I will be happy."
Just like Home Alone, we find ourselves "thirsty for more" (sorry, I had to). We obsess over a shift in our lives and how that shift might finally make us happy. Instead, we need to learn to be happy and satisfied with our circumstances in every present moment.
What comes to mind when you think about Christmas? My memories are staged at my grandparents' house at the kids' table. It's upsetting that it usually takes a death in the family or a decrease in gatherings to finally realize how much we long for those times. I would give anything to be in their living room with my cousin while football played in the background. How ironic that -- fifteen years later -- football is no longer background noise, but the one thing that secludes me.
Just like military families, those who work in the healthcare field, or those who simply live far away from home, I am sad to be apart from my loved ones during the holidays. Instead of rejoicing, I find myself ungrateful for my present circumstances on the one day dedicated to appreciating life.
I actually catch myself fantasizing of a life post-football.
A life when I won't be 2,500 miles from my family, when my driver's license will finally match my residence and when I'll know how to answer the seemingly-innocent question, "Where are you from?"
Don't get me wrong -- I will truly miss these years. I've been to a number of places and met so many amazing people. What I'm working on is learning to appreciate the moment. I have to stop thinking about an "ideal" situation. Similar to gleaning a wheat field, I will make an effort to take all the 'scraps' the world views as trivial, gather and embrace them.
I'm working to turn my typical areas of complaint into areas to rejoice. Instead of resenting house cleaning, I'm rejoicing that I have a house to clean. I may struggle to sleep, but I'm struggling in a warm bed.
Living in the present is difficult. But imagine how much happier we will be if we appreciate the now instead of hoping for a change in our circumstances to produce satisfaction.
Think of Home Alone. After just one day of eating all the ice cream he could eat and watching more than enough Angels with Filthy Souls, Kevin was ready for everything to go back to how it used to be.
Like many other WAGS, apartment living has become the norm for my family. When your significant other has to move from one side of the country to the other, in the middle of the season, it is very hard to pack up a house, sell it, and move within a short period of time. Apartments are very convenient, allowing short term leasing and catering to the instability of the NFL. The downside to living in an apartment during the holidays is most definitely the lack of ability to personalize décor. I love holiday decorations and if I had my way, I would probably paint my door red and green. However, I’ve had to learn to be creative and work with what I have. Here are a few helpful tips when decorating your apartment for the holidays.
- Opt for a small artificial Christmas tree over a large live tree. Unfortunately, some apartments do not allow live trees because of the fire risk it poses. Also, a real tree may not be conducive to a small space that may already be cramped. A small artificial tree is not only a space saver, it is also cost-effective. I was able to pick up a pre-lit six feet tree from Target for only $30.
- String lights along the balcony/porch. I love driving past houses during the holidays and observing all of the amazing lighting, inflatable snowmen, and reindeer. Apartments however, lack the yard space for such a display. This is where lighting a balcony comes in handy. A simple outlining of the railing will give your apartment a sleek holiday look, and also make it stand out amongst your neighbors.
- Purchase evergreen-scented packs and hang them inside of the tree. I know there is nothing like the smell of a live fir tree to put you in the mood for some holiday caroling. This is a smell that an artificial tree will never be able replicate on its own, but a brilliant person came up with this solution. The evergreen-scented packs will definitely fill a home with the smell of a freshly cut tree.
- Hang a holiday wreath on the door. Like I said before, I would love to paint my door and definitely get in the holiday spirit but I’m sure my property manager wouldn’t be the least bit amused. A nice holiday wreath will set the mood for guests and anyone who walks past your door, and let them know you are decking the halls.
I hope these tips help you along the way and put you in a joyful mood!