There are two reasons that I was a little apprehensive about asking Mark Rypien about his daughter Angela’s new gig as quarterback for the Seattle Mist of the Lingerie Football League:
- 1) Because I was fifteen years old when Rypien led the Redskins to the Super Bowl; he was one of first players I ever wrote to for an autograph, and in my head he’ll always be where he is in that photo above: about to chuck the ball in a beautiful arc sixty yards downfield. I don’t often get starstruck — one of the main (exceedingly obvious) lessons I’ve learned writing this blog is that even the biggest NFL stars tend to be pretty normal folks — but for some reason this time felt like something of an exception. (The other major exception was Doug Williams. Maybe I’m just terrified of quarterbacks.)
- 2) Because asking someone a question involving the words “daughter” and “lingerie” is rarely fun, especially when the someone in question is 6-foot-4 and not all THAT far removed from a career as a professional football player.
If Rypien had been a jerk in general, the fond memories engendered by item 1 would’ve been damaged; if Rypien reacted poorly to item 2, my fifteen-year-old self would’ve been retroactively devastated.
Thankfully, neither of those things happened. Quite the opposite, actually: when I introduced myself to Rypien at the charity auction the night before the Mickey Steele Memorial Celebrity Golf Outing (which partially benefitted The Rypien Foundation), he asked if i was the one who had written up that interview with Angela; I acknowledged — only a bit skittishly — that I was, he said he’d enjoyed the piece, and just like that most of the awkwardness was removed from the topic.
Notice that I said most.
When I actually asked Rypien the next day for his on-the-record comments about Angela’s prospects as a QB, he definitely took on the whole “lingerie” element right up top. Along with, um, the blog element.
“I read the blogs,” Rypien said. “I get so upset with the male gender, first and foremost. It’s unfortunate in our society that we have to sell athleticism in women’s sports through lingerie and things like that. These girl compete, they have fun, and our society, we take for granted what we do as male athletes and we underestimate and we really don’t get the beauty of what female athletes can do.”
Despite all of that, one thing that Rypien isn’t worried about is the possibility that his daugher is going to somehow embarrass him with either her performance or her outfit. “Hell no, this is exciting times,” Rypien said, “this is fun times. I don’t expect her to light the world on fire — and she might, y’know — but she’s excited about it, I’m excited for her.”
Rypien acknowledged that he had given his daughter some pointers on the quarterback position early on, and was complimentary of her basic mechanics. “I taught her some of the basics, y’know, the drop,” Rypien said. “And it’s hard. All our variables are different. Her hand size — and every kid that I teach — I can’t tell them ‘Hey, this is how you have to grip the football,’ because there’s too many variables involved in hand size. As far as her drop and the technique aspect of it, yeah, I was very stringent on making sure she doesn’t get any bad habits early. She’s got a nice drop and steps up well.”
The Super Bowl XXVI MVP definitely seems confident in the physical side of Angela Rypien’s game. In fact, he alluded to the photo from the top my interview post, half-joking that Angela “has better guns than I do, and probably throws a better ball than I do right now.”
No, Rypien’s only concerns were ones that Angela herself also mentioned: her familiarity with the mental aspects of the quarterback position. “She doesn’t know two-deep from three-deep, but that’s okay,” Rypien said. “She’ll figure that out, she’ll do her homework. She’s excited.”
When you hear Mark Rypien talk about it, it’s clear that she’s not the only one who’s excited. And, just in case it wasn’t clear, he made it pretty explicit: “I think she’s pretty jacked up about it,” Rypien said. “I’m pretty excited about it, pretty proud of her too. And I just wish we kinda viewed some of the things women do differently in our society in general.”
Tags: angela rypien, lingerie football league, mark rypien, seattle mist
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