When I worked for the Detroit Lions, I would tell players I was an athlete.
They would respond, “Oh, did you play in college?”
No, professional athlete. No, I did not play in college. I was
damn good decent in high school, though, doesn’t that count? I would rattle off a few quality times I clocked in the 800 meter run at the age of 15. That would generate some respect simply because the player I was talking to knew I could probably beat him in the same race. And if by some stretch I couldn’t beat him in the 800, I would at least tout that I could beat him in the mile, for no other reason than no professional football player would be caught dead running a mile at any pace faster than a brisk jog.
Point being, I consider myself an athlete, even if I didn’t play a sport in college. I have always been an athlete. When I stopped playing competitive sports, I started working with some. I was a guest service representative with the Detroit Tigers, a student assistant with the University of Michigan athletic department, and a digital media manager for the Detroit Lions.
Since leaving the Lions, I have represented NFL players in PR, but had resigned myself to never writing about the sport again. Why? Because I’ve never been one to rip players and coaches in print, so there doesn’t seem to be a place for me aside from with a team.
Enter WAGS Redefined.
How awesome is it that I was looking for freelance writing opportunities and stumbled across this one? LeShonda Martin, wife of NFL veteran Sherrod Martin, was looking for contributors to her site. She specifically wanted someone to write about women and families of the NFL. I don’t know that I could have found a more perfect match.
When WAGS Redefined creator LeShonda Martin Googled “NFL wives” in July of 2015, she did it with the intent of finding an organization of wives to connect with. To her dismay, not only did she NOT find a group for wives, but the only results were articles of someone’s opinion on the hottest and prettiest wives and girlfriends of the league. In fact, the number one result on Google was “28 Hottest Wives of the NFL” and there were dozens more with similar titles. This was discouraging to Martin, and she sought out to make a change within her community. Knowing that her husband was against reality television, she decided to use writing to get her point across. Thus, WAGS Redefined was born. Martin desires for WAGSRedefined.com to be the #1 search result for all things NFL women.
As someone who was part of the NFL for nearly 10 years, I understand stereotypes placed on women in athletics. When I would travel with the Lions, I was often referred to as a cheerleader despite carrying my computer bag (the team has also never had cheerleaders), and would be stopped in special access areas despite visibly wearing proper credentials. Once I was asked if I was the team massage therapist. Yeah, I know.
So I was elated to have come across this faith-based project meant to act as a voice for “women of America’s gridiron stars.” Though I’ve never been married to an NFL player, I understand how NFL life works behind the scenes and what women in the NFL go through.
I’m so excited to contribute to the “Around the NFL” section amidst stories about community service, spirituality, career and business, health and wellness, and more!