WAG THE DOG
In a recent Engagement article, I introduced my vision of the NFL Power Couple. It is a notion that begets individual growth and combined vision for greatness.
In all of my visits with former and current player wives, I try to dig deep inside the mindset of the women and force them to define themselves. Player's have game faces on Sundays. These women have game faces every time they step out of the house. It's called the expectations of an image. "The Player's Wife."
I remember being a young rookie wife myself. In particular, was a Jets game where I found myself standing next to a beautiful actress. Our reflections in the lobby mirror were almost comical with her 6 foot statuesque frame shadowing mine. "Now, THAT," I thought, "is a Player's Wife." Suddenly, I felt out of my own league.
Thankfully, after a few years and several teams, I would find that the image of the player's wife was more hyperreality than truth. In my own experiences, most of the girls were high school and college girlfriends plucked from their neighborhoods and campuses and thrown into the wives' section. As I got to know them, I would find that these were strong, confident women connected by a game, but not defined by it.
Sure, there were are few who tried on "Player's Wife" and in the process lost themselves for a while, but they usually circled back to reality. I think we were all paralyzed by the responsibly of the image at first, only to find out that behind all the smoke and mirrors were real women with purpose, contribution and commitment to family.
With my work, I have the opportunity to provoke thought and empower women. Through photography, I document self revelation. Through images, I remind, refuel and redirect energy. Many of the women I work with are at a crossroads. Women who have deserted their childhood dreams, suppressed their aspirations, sacrificed their own intentions for another. For many of these women, stirrings of regret are causing chaos. Together, we work to peel away the layers until purpose is revealed. These experiences are what I consider precautionary tales for all future generations.
When I speak to current league women, my message is simple. Do not desert those early visions, don't suppress your talents or stifle your resolve. Do not lose yourself in a number, otherwise you, too, will be haunted by future visits of regret and burdened by the heavy weight of unfulfilled potential.
When I promote the concept of the NFL Power Couple, I am reiterating a notion that has been advocated since the beginning of time: to succeed as a couple you must maintain independence .
For the pillars of the temple stand apart and the Oak Tree and the Cypress grow not in each other's shadow. I live by that quote by Kahlil Gibran and share it as often as I can.
What is certain, is that before you can contribute to a partnership, you have to maintain self. Abandoning your own identity will chip away at your pillar, disregarding personal value will render it hollow, accepting less will minimize growth. In the end your ceiling is tipped and your structure is vulnerable.
My message to young women entering the league is simple. Don't let media perception dictate your priorities. Do invest in purpose. Do dive into league resources. Do something that fulfills you, whether personally or professionally. Finally, reach out to former league women who are more than willing to share their experiences with you.
CURRENT NFL WOMEN’S GROUPS
NFL ENGAGEMENT ZONE http://www.nflengagementzone.com/Login
NFLPE WRI WEBSITE https://www.nflplayerengagement.com/wri/
WRI FACEBOOK PAGE https://www.facebook.com/#!/NflWomenEngagement
OFF THE FIELD PLAYERS WIVES ASSOCIATION http://offthefieldpwa.org/
PROFESSIONAL SPORTS WIVES ASSOCIATION http://www.prosportswives.com
A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN http://cynthiazordich.com/womenofthenfl/