On Interesting Facts + Birth Announcements + Getting Ready For Some Football

John Woodcock - 90Have you ever been in a situation at work doing an icebreaker where you are forced to purposely come up with an interesting fact about yourself? When I was hired at my company 8 years ago I started in a training program with about 10 other people. Over and over as we were introduced to each other, to our new department or to the executives within the company we kept being told to “Prepare an interesting fact to share.”




It’s like someone walking up to you and demanding you say something funny. All day long I have funny commentary going on in my head, but the second I have to be funny I can’t think of a single joke!


Eventually I got my interesting fact down pat, but these days — since I’m no longer a new hire — no one really asks. But today I wanted to share my interesting fact as a part of a partnership with BlogHer and the NFL.


I have lived in California my whole life but I was actually born in Detroit, Michigan. I was born in October because at the time my dad was playing football for the Detroit Lions. That’s probably interesting enough, but it gets even more fun. You see, I was the first grandchild on my mom’s side of the family and the third on my dad’s side so all of my extended family were awaiting my arrival. But this was 1978 and since the internet didn’t exist and my parents lived so far away – no one was receiving texts of new born baby pics like we all do these days. So the first time that many of my family members saw me was on Thanksgiving Day during the annual Detroit Lions football game (they play every Thanksgiving Day — it’s tradition) when the commentators showed my picture as a sidebar when talking about my dad.


Pretty neat birth announcement, right?


Eventually he went on to play for the San Diego Chargers (my mom was ever grateful to move AWAY from the snow!) and he retired right as I started Kindergarten so we wouldn’t have to move anymore.


I don’t know about you all, but around our house the beginning of football season is a pretty big deal. Garrett is practically addicted, and just about every Sunday you can find us hunkered down on the couch checking out the action. I’d like to tell you it’s because I love football as much as he does, but these days I have to admit I get just as excited about game day menu planning as I do about the game.(I think my dad would understand.)


As you can imagine, in my family football is definitely more than just some seasonal entertainment — the NFL is part of the fabric of who we are. Garrett comes from a football family too (HUGE fans of The Ohio State, by the way) and as we get closer and closer to having kids I wonder about whether or not they will play football. After all, it is in our blood. (And of course my linebacker shoulders which — Man dad…couldn’t you have passed on your nice eyes, or pearly white smile? Did you have to give your daughter YOUR LINEBACKER SHOULDERS??? But I digress…)

woodcock - sack

It’s no secret that football is a PHYSICAL sport, and whether or not I will encourage my children to play isn’t something I can speculate about right now. But I have good friends with who are right at that age so I have heard quite a bit about the concerns. Knowing what I know about my dad’s experience and hearing the concerns of friends made me really excited to share the following information that I recently learned through a campaign that I am working on with BlogHer + the NFL about the importance of player health and safety, especially as it pertains to kids. If you are deciding whether or not to let your kids play, here is some interesting information:


*Through Heads Up Football, the NFL and USA Football are working to educate youth football leagues across the country on proper tackling technique. More than 900 youth football players nationwide will be learning Heads Up tackling during the 2013 season. It is the future of the game. Heads Up Football was developed with a $1.5 million grant from the NFL Foundation. Ask your youth football player’s coach if they are Heads Up Certified. They can get certified right now. And make sure your child’s league is a Heads Up league for 2014. Learn more by visiting www.usafootball.com/headsup.


*The NFL works with parents to make sure they understand how to help their kids stay safe on the playing field. Through the NFL’s partnership with the CDC on their Heads Up curriculum, parents, coaches, clinicians and youth athletes can all access the resources they need to learn more about concussion signs and symptoms. To learn more, visit http://www.cdcheadsup.org.


Allowing your child to play football is a very personal decision, but I was happy to hear the NFL acknowledge that kids look up to professional athletes and emulate them. They embrace their leadership role on the important issue of sports safety which is why, in the last year alone, they have committed more than $60 million to medical research on new ways to protect the brain and to address head injuries. For more information visit the following:

NFL Evolution

NFL Foundation

CDC Heads Up

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3 Responses to On Interesting Facts + Birth Announcements + Getting Ready For Some Football

  1. Melissa H says:

    Ok that is a cool fact. And I didn’t realize you grew up in San Diego (or I forgot). Me too! I grew up in Escondido and now live in Sacramento (somewhere near you I surmise). The internet, so giant yet sometimes so small 🙂

    Sorry to hear about your crazy week btw and I empathize with the flights to Des Moines–both my parents are from Iowa so we fly to Iowa with some frequency and it’s always a giant pain of transfers.


    That is all.

  3. After that huge settlement with the NFL and retired players, I feel that the NFL is finally taking brain injuries seriously.

    I don’t want my kids playing football (no kids yet, but I’m already prepared). I’ll push soccer and other sports instead as I would rather not have to worry about that. I also was a soccer kid so I’d like to see them follow in my footsteps!