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The Trophy Wife Vs. The Media: Seen but not heard?

Posted by She's Game Sports January 29, 2013 02:44 PM


Wes Welker's wife recently landed the wide receiver in the spotlight due to comments critical of Ray Lewis. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)/p>

I recently scoured the internet to find the correct definition of the term “trophy wife”. It was a little tough because the meaning of this term has changed with time. The Internet was full of definitions ranging from “gold digger” to “homemaker of a wealthy older man” but the definition I liked the best and which seemed to be the most modern was found on Wikipedia.

Trophy Wife: (n) an expression used to refer to a wife, usually young and attractive, who is regarded as a status symbol for the husband, who is often older and wealthy (i.e. celebrities, wealthy business men).

It’s funny to me how not one of these definitions online made the mention of being seen and not heard, yet growing up all I can remember is a day when the “Trophy Wife” was to be just that. I believed it to be one of those rules that was unspoken. No one needed to actually say it, it was just known. That went for the wives of lawyers of prestigious law firms, celebrity wives and the athlete wife. My perfect example of a trophy wife is Jackie Kennedy. She was beautiful, poised, classic and stood by her husband strong but silently.

We have now entered a time where the trophy wife has given herself a platform to speak her mind publicly instead of leaving it to their husbands in the limelight. Ladies, we are in a world where, on a day-to-day basis, celebrities are scrutinized for expressing opinions in the media. Apologies and damage control plots are on the rise and the best advice I can give is an oldie but goodie…think twice before you speak. This is a great motto for people in general and especially those in the public eye but the beauty of that statement is: not only good for them but it’s also great for their families and spouses.

In the last few years wives of athletes have made their personal expressions very relevant in the media but exactly how much is too much?

After the Patriots suffered a devastating loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championships, there were a lot of emotional feelings, but none as surprising as what came from Ana Burns, the wife of New England wide receiver Wes Welker. A Facebook posting she wrote surfaced saying, “Proud of my husband and the Pats. By the way, if anyone is bored, please go to Ray Lewis’ Wikipedia page. 6 kids 4 wives. Acquitted for murder. Paid a family off. Yay. What a hall of fame player! A true role model!”

Now on the one hand, it’s great to have an opinion and exercise your freedom of speech but remember, you’re the wife of someone in the public eye. Any remarks and thoughtless behavior affects and has the potential to damage your husband’s career. (Now I like to throw the occasional dig myself being an NFL fan since age 11, but if it meant added scrutiny toward my husband or his organization, I’d make sure no one was around to hear me when I put my foot in my mouth).

This isn’t just about Ana Burns; there are countless others who have publicly embarrassed themselves by allowing senseless outburst to arise. Lest we forget, my personal favorite, Victoria’s Secret model/wife of Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen, reacting to a couple of hecklers after the Patriots/Giants game without realizing there was a camera present. She shouted, “My husband cannot f***ing throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time.”

Now I am not unsympathetic to emotion. Sports are an emotional thing, especially when your husband is out there. There’s nothing wrong with having their back, but as a wife, you have a voice, which must be used for good. These athletes have a lot to bear as it is, they don’t have time to worry about what their wives are saying and doing in the media.
It’s 2013. I get it. We women have worked all of these years to be heard but sit back for one second and try to name five trophy wives of the past. For instance, who was married to Muhammed Ali? Or Rod Stewart? Or even Joe Montana? They came from a time when wives were supportive but left the fame and trash talking to their husbands.

Don’t be afraid to adopt the behaviors of a modern-day trophy wife. Have a life and make a home for your family. Be successful. Be poised. Be classy. Stand by your man and have his back the best way you can, and if that means silently, so be it!


TV anchor's accident hits close to home for Kathryn Tappen

Posted by She's Game Sports January 3, 2013 11:00 AM


Hannah Storm in her first TV appearance since a grill accident on Dec. 11. (photo from ABC)

There are many times in life when we find ourselves saying, “That could have happened to me.”

You all know what I’m talking about, and most of the time these words come off our lips upon hearing of tragic news. We breathe a sigh of relief, say a prayer and move on with our lives with a valuable lesson learned.

It was clear to me two days ago when I read an article about ESPN anchor Hannah Storm’s grill accident that this incident and scary near-encounter with death hits so close to home for so many of us.

Three weeks ago, Storm suffered first- and second-degree burns to her face, hands, chest and neck after a propane gas grill on the deck of her Connecticut home exploded. She lost roughly half her hair and her eyebrows and eyelashes were burned off in the accident. On Tuesday, I watched Storm return to the airwaves on ABC’s telecast of the Rose Parade.

I was amazed at how beautiful she looked. Aside from the bandage on her left hand, Storm appeared the way she usually does when I watch her on ESPN. However, she would reveal later in the broadcast that she was wearing hair and eyelash extensions, and a makeup artist drew on eyebrows. Pictures she posted also revealed an almost unrecognizable Storm.

But Storm’s inner beauty radiated, as it always does. She appeared to be incredibly relaxed and a bit relieved, having returned to her familiar setting alongside Josh Elliot for her fifth time hosting the Rose Parade.

I can only imagine the pain and suffering that Storm experienced in the days following her Dec. 11 accident — not to mention the daunting thoughts of never being able to return to her career and do what she loves and lives to do.

“It was like you see in a movie, it happened in a split-second,” Storm said. “A neighbor said he thought a tree had fallen through the roof, it was that loud. It blew the doors off the grill.”

It was Storm’s 15-year old daughter, also named Hannah, who remained calm and called 911.

This story hit home for me on many levels. Like Storm, my career in television is incredibly important to me. We all would also be naďve to think that it is not a vain business. Appearance is paramount, and any imperfections to such can be detrimental. Blemishes, dry skin in the winter months, peeling lips from an allergic reaction, irritated eyes and a red nose from a nasty head cold are just a few of the uncontrollable imperfections we tend to overreact to.

But I will never again worry about those minor flaws. What Storm had to overcome just to apply simple cream and TV makeup was an overwhelming feat. Seeing the pictures of her wounds following the accident would make anyone cringe.

She’s darn lucky to be alive.

While many would be left feeling sorry for themselves, Storm used her past experiences as a journalist to put her accident in perspective for herself, her family, and her fans.

“I didn’t see my face until the next day and you wonder how it’s going to look,” she said to the New York Post. “I was pretty shocked. But my over-arching thought was I’ve covered events with military members who have been through a lot worse than me, and they’ve come through. I kept thinking, ‘I can do this. I’m fortunate.”’

Another reason this story hit home for me is because I too prepare my family dinner on a grill outside of our home. My own mother lit the grill every night, and her mother did as well. There are millions of us, men and women, who turn that propane gas on and expect our meal to be ready within 25 minutes.

Never again will I take that big metal grill for granted.

I couldn’t quite figure out how the explosion occurred. After all, Storm said she turned the gas off before she reignited it. Isn’t that all you need to do? She later explained that because the gas is heavier than air, it sits in the area of the grill even after being turned off and especially in cold winter months. When she reignited the grill, it exploded.

Grill manufacturers advise to wait at least 15 minutes with the grill lid open to allow for any excess gas or fumes to vacate the area before you begin to reignite.

What we learned from Hannah Storm’s accident is a valuable lesson on how a simple household activity can turn deadly. As I said before, Storm is lucky to be alive.

She said she hopes to use her experience to educate people on how to properly operate and adhere to the safety precautions of propane gas grills.

It was wonderful to see Storm’s smiling face on New Year’s Day, and all of her fans look forward to her return on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” this Sunday.

And maybe we can all appreciate every single day a little bit more, because any one of us can say, “That could have happened to me.”

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