Added on by cynthia zordich.



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.


NFL ENGAGEMENT ZONE http://www.nflengagementzone.com/Login

NFLPE WRI WEBSITE https://www.nflplayerengagement.com/wri/

WRI FACEBOOK PAGE https://www.facebook.com/#!/NflWomenEngagement


PROFESSIONAL SPORTS WIVES ASSOCIATION http://www.prosportswives.com                             

A  LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN http://cynthiazordich.com/womenofthenfl/


Added on by cynthia zordich.

There comes a point in all of our lives when we are sidelined. Many times it is by chance or circumstance and while we cannot determine the whens and whys of such fate, I believe we can control whether or not we remain sidelined, both physically and emotionally. It intrigues me to watch how differently we all handle ourselves on the other side of the line. Some will sit, more will pace and a select few will push the line and contribute in their own way, in a new way, to the game that goes on without them. Sidelined is a temporary state. It is a time of testing. The torture comes in the fact that we are so close to where we want to be- just one mark away from our resolution.

Read More


Added on by cynthia zordich.

It was second grade. I had pigtails; she had bangs - both of ours crooked. Seems we had other things going on in our heads the morning of picture day. She, probably pondering the theory of evolution. Me, probably sleeping in late.  Carol Dufer has been my friend for over 4 decades. She pushed me to get check-pluses in elementary school. She made sure I got all of my stars for my multiplication tables. She watched me suffer through algebra and when she knew there was no hope - slid me her homework in geometry.

Fiercely competitive when it came to grades, sports and righteous causes, even at a young age, she would battle for you until she bled, and even take a loss, if it helped you out of your jam.

Carol Dufer as in, “You do for me and I’ll do for you,” as she once said in an interview. She got the job. She got every job. And she will - do anything for you.

Carol’s fierce competitiveness mixes with a genuine need to contribute. Whether a job, a cause, a delivery (yes, as in baby), Dufe shows up first and leaves first, thus the nickname DRIVEBY. We all torture her about that because we never want her to leave, but over the years, we have caught on that she double and triple books us - that she pledges her services all over, and she is never a no show.

As a friend, her contributions come in the form of extreme loyalty. She need not her own opinion about the facts or the matter - when it comes to her friends, they are right. And, right or wrong, she has our backs, and her own back will be up if anyone dare pass judgment. Sometimes, I am amazed at her high level of loyalty, which is most commonly the force that accelerates her into motion.

She has been a nurse, a lawyer and a sales force within herself by trade. A booster parent and president, a commercial landscaper, a home health care specialist, a pool girl by necessity, and a club queen by passion. She also carries with honor her role as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and friend. No matter what her title, Dufe dives in. Her platform is built on the foundation of commitment to work, to friends, to family and to T.

It gives all of us so much pleasure to watch her run circles around her self proclaimed, "Mr. Big". Sure, she’ll do anything for you - but after she takes care of T. From getting him dinner to re-cementing the pool, there is nothing she won't do for him - side of the laundry. T. spins her and we revel in the motion.

Coming on five decades. Our friendship is the story of our lives. We have stood for each other and we have stood behind each other. We have fallen and found enough humor in the midst of our mishaps to ease the crash. We have watched each other become women and mothers and mentors for kinship. We are the aunts to each of our children. We are the first call in all crisis, the first to call each other out and the last call when we are out (that would be the rest of us).

One time, I began talking to Carol about my daughter, Aidan.  At five, she was being headstrong about something. “Do you know what I mean?” I asked. She responded, “Do I know what you mean? I grew up with her!!”

Years back, we watched Carol lose her sister, Denise, in a long battle. At that time, Dufe was carrying Anthony, carrying a full time job and preparing for the Bar. She passed. Denise was a role model and Carol is a quick study. More recently, three of us have buried our fathers. When I look back on each of those days, I am filled with the warmth of our friendship and its ability to soften the pain of our losses. On those three days, it covered us and carried us. I see the one who mourned with four others directly behind her. It overwhelms me. On the day of Mr. Dufer's mass, we learned that he once said, "To have a friend, you have to be a friend". A quick study, for sure.

I know I speak for all of us, when I say that I am blessed to have a place in Carol Dufer Mele’s heart. I am blessed to know that no matter what I do, no matter what I need, whether I am too weak to fend for myself or too strong for my own good, whether right or wrong, successful or suffering, flying high or broken, Carol will be there. She will be there, as she has been, with a full plate of warm Hershey Kiss cookies, an even warmer smile, a wink and a beep.

Happy birthday to our friend and confidant.



Added on by cynthia zordich.

Over a week now in Charlotte and I had yet to find a convenient store that was close to my son's place. A place where he could run to in case he forgot something- like milk, for instance. Heading back from Freedom Park on East Blvd., I turned right on Tryon and spotted The Common Market open on a Sunday. That's always convenient. I pulled in. It was just two blocks away from my son's place.


Through the first glass door I was hit with a wall full of postcards, flyers, stickers and signs. It was through the second door that I fell into the rabbit hole. A wonderland of unique brands and local flavor: knick knacks and novelty gifts,  retro candy and pop, bottled beer on ice, an eclectic variety of wines, an old school deli counter with fresh cut sandwiches, wraps and grilled paninis, homemade vegan cookies, muffins and house-brewed coffee. Outside, the sun-streaked mood was smooth, and the buzz of conversation steady, as it melted nicely with the folklore of a local musician. No TVs at the Common Market- purposefully. The result is stunning with people looking up and out - not down. How refreshing. The students from the Massage Training Institute were racking in hours and giving free ten minute fixes to anyone who landed in their chairs. That was funny-no stress that I could see. Back inside,  hand-crafted café tables supported half-filled sketchbooks, notebooks and novels as patrons sipped their cold beers and red wines as they put to paper their talents. I decided to shop around, after all I'd come for milk. Soon my basket became heavy with that "stuff that you just have to buy" because you either a. never saw it anywhere else or b. you haven't seen it since you were a kid. I had to buy the 100% beef grass-fed jerkey, a nickel bag of CM gluten free coffee beans called booty call, a bar of chocolate covered bacon, a bag of Mama Zuma's Habanero Chips (because the packaging was throwback) and a carton of "WATER IS BETTER IN A BOX"  water (because the concept was novel and the packaging perfect). At the counter now, I couldn't pass up the bubble gum cigars, Mary Janes, BB Bats Taffy Suckers, and Just Like Dad Candy Cigarettes. Still looking around and taking it all in as I paid, the cashier asked if that was it. "Yep", I said."No, wait. Milk!" He laughed and went to the back by the deli and brought back a quart of pasture-raised Organic Valley milk from the Langmeier Family Farm, signed by Michael Langmeier. The next day I brought my son in for lunch. We had old-fashioned bottled cokes. He had the Hot Mama Turkey Panini and I had the Tree Hugger Wrap. We sat out back under a Pabst Blue Ribbon umbrella and as he looked around, he nodded his head and agreed that having the Common Market just two blocks down was definitely going to be convenient.

The Common Market is located at  1515 South Tryon Street  Charlotte, NC 28203


Added on by cynthia zordich.

For just a moment, stop looking at the depth charts, the rankings, the odds. Stop reading the message boards, the tweets and the blogs. Stop looking at him with the eyes of a scout and see him for what he is – your son.

Read More

A League of Their Own: Women of the NFL

Added on by cynthia zordich.

A League of Their Own: Reaching out to the Women of the NFL


Cynthia Zordich, co-author of When The Clock Runs Out and NFLPE contributing author is collecting stories, quotes, questions and concerns of current and former NFL wives, girlfriends, moms, daughters and all women of influence in the player's life. 

Zordich is working in conjunction with NFL Player Engagement in producing an all inclusive resource guidebook addressing such topics as emotional pressures, challenges and expectations, financial security, legal issues, safety and security, domestic, health, nutrition, education, career counseling, family counseling, transitioning, retirement, and benefits.

Within the past 6 months NFL Player Engagement has launched the Women's Resource Initiative.

Troy Vincent, the NFL's senior vice president of player engagement, says women are the most influential person in the athlete's life cycle — from the first time a player steps on the field until retirement. And Vincent is working to recognize women for the important roles they play in the daily personal and professional lives of players and their families.The purpose of  the Women's Resource Initiative is to empower the women with resources that will positively impact all NFL lives. ROB MAADDI: NEW NFL INITIATIVE AIMED TOWARD INVOLVING WOMEN May. 17 5:11 

"We want to ensure that our athletes and the women in their lives are informed and are able to access the resources, tools and benefits that are available to them, their family members and their local community," adds Vincent. "In most households, studies show the woman is the primary decision-maker and a key influence, so we want a more formal and consistent platform to engage this audience."

Zordich is asking all league women, past and present to contribute their experiences to the project. "Whether a precautionary tale, success story, present concerns, fears, questions, complaints or opinion, I believe we can all learn from our varying experiences and unique perspectives," explains Zordich, wife of former NFL veteran and coach Michael Zordich. "Our goal is to introduce the concept of the NFL Power Couple to the women, provoking them to consider personal and professional goals, encouraging them to dive into resources that the league has made available with their future success in mind."

Submissions will be incorporated into the resource guidebook with possible future uses on the NFL Player Engagement website and future productions.  To Contribute fill out the submission form below and click submit.





When it Rains on Saturday

Added on by cynthia zordich.

It is Saturday and I just finished a shoot. It is so early and the day is ahead. I could do a million things, but the weather is pulling me to do my favorite thing. It is raining. When it rains, I get a strong urge to search for good finds. Books, vinyls, and film cameras. On a Saturday at any thrift shop or garage sale across the U.S., you can be sure to find any of the three thrown in between piles of pastel afghan's and stacks of assorted Correlle ware. Today, I found a nice looking Nikon FG.  $25.00 if it works. Johnny told me I could bring it back if it doesn't. I came home and cleaned her up. Put in two new 1.5s and started to shoot. This summer, the kids stretch between LA and FLA  with a stop in NY in between, so with no subjects around, I grabbed my tripod and began to shoot their stuff, instead. It was so peaceful and no one told me to get lost. More re-creation than recreation. Tiny little movies were being turned on and off in my head. The wheres and the whens and the looks on their faces rolled with the film in my camera.

The FG works great with a spot meter. The camera meter does not work - so I lost some shots. I went back and got them.  Thankfully, stuff doesn't move as fast as kids do and stuff never grows up on us, either. 

(Click on images to view gallery) 

Next, I had to go back and photograph Johnny. He's a talented blues artist who gave it up for a jealous wife. He has a great face and if you look in his eyes you can see all the music stuck inside of him. 



Added on by cynthia zordich.

The NO person protects the brand which is the business of the player while nurturing the relationship. "Find someone who can say no, but still respect them", offered Adam Jones. "Otherwise, added Maurice Clarett, you'll be surrounded by dudes having a good time off your life." A good mother will be that no person, a better mother will admit she's not cut out for the job.






Read More