the study of the kicking components within sports

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Kickers' Wives

Over the years we've interviewed numerous kickers. On more than one occasion, we've also spoken to their co-specialists who handle the snapping and holding. Now, we finally take a long overdue look at things from a different perspective...

We asked three questions of the following three wives of NFL kickers:
We'll start at the beginning: how did you two meet?
BL: "We started dating my freshman year in high school. We both played soccer and had seen each other many times at the field. He was a junior then, and he asked me to be his date to the soccer banquet. We hung out every day after that, and have been best friends for the past seven years."

NW: "We met freshman year at the University of Missouri in the athletic facilities; I was a gymnast there and at that point, he was a diver on the swim team. I was walking down the hall with a teammate of his, and Jeff was carrying a huge black bag. He had secretly started kicking at Mizzou's athletic facilities and didn't want anyone to know, so when his teammate asked him what was in the bag, he didn't know what to say on the spot so he just stuttered and replied "Uhh... stealing stuff?" I thought that was a bit of an odd response, but somehow I found it intriguing enough to then question his teammate incessantly about all things Jeff. A few days later, the same teammate set us up on a date and seven years later, we were married."

KC: "Dan and I met at college at the University of Montana where he played football. My Dad was the high school football coach while I was growing up, so I was very familiar with the sport. I kept offensive stats in high school, and recorded plays and formations for the team at my first college. When I transferred to the University of Montana it was only natural to help out there as well. That is where I met Dan on the sidelines at practice. It wasn't until after I left football to get another job that he came courting. (He must have missed seeing me. Haha)"
The kicking question: what is it like from your perspective to watch a pressure kicking situation?
BL: "I love watching the kicking game of any football game. My friends make fun of me for how much I love football. I have gone with Garrett to the field, held the ball for field goals, and timed his kickoffs for so many years that I have grown to love it. I understand how much hard work goes in to every single kick during the games. I do get nervous when he is out there kicking a field goal, I just hope that the snap, hold, and kick all go smoothly."
KC: "I do quite a bit of nail biting. It is always hard to watch because I don't view #5 as a kicking machine. Rather, I worry about how hard he will be on himself if the kick isn't just perfect for him." 
NW: "When he first started kicking in college, I didn't get very nervous for his games because I and everyone else wasn't sure what to expect since his transition from diving to football seemed so obscure. Once he started doing really well and everyone expected him to make every kick, I got nervous! Thankfully, he didn't miss very often in college, but when he did, it was always tough to hear angry fans in the stands and especially tough to see Jeff disappointed in his performance. Now that he is trying to make it in the NFL, I get VERY nervous when he kicks, even if it's just a practice day! The stakes are just so much higher and I know how badly he wants it, so every kick counts that much more. During his first preseason game with Cleveland last year, I almost had a heart attack when he jogged onto the field for a 46 yard FG. I was hoping his first kick would be a little bit shorter to settle down any nerves he might have, but mainly to settle my nerves! I had been taking pictures all game and I don't have any of that first kick because I was holding my friend's hand and peaking through my fingers with the other hand. He ended up having a great game, hitting another long FG and doing well on kickoffs. It's not that I don't trust his abilities, I just know that there are many factors that go into making a kick in a game. Obviously, I want him to make every kick, but I mostly just want him to be happy with his performance and know, missed kicks or not, I am still very proud of him."
What should the public know about your husband, but that he is too modest to tell us about himself?
BL: "Many people do not know how athletic he is. Most kickers get the reputation for being the least athletic one on the team. Garrett set a record in the weight room this off season. He thrives in fitness and conditioning due to his work ethic. He takes being a professional athlete serious, and doesn't stop at kicking field goals. Another thing people don't know is how much he enjoys helping other kickers. Any time he sees a high school kicker at the field, he will spend an extra hour after his workout to help them improve their kicking technique. He is a very confident, but humble person."

NW: "It took a really long time for Jeff to get the coaches at Mizzou to take notice of his kicking abilities, so I think his struggles inspired him to want to work with high school kickers to get them noticed by college coaches. Certainly you and I recognize the importance of kicking in football, but all too often, a kicker is often overlooked in the recruiting process, especially from a scholarship perspective. He really enjoys coaching, mentoring and helping other kickers get their talent recognized at the college level through camps and showcases put on by his company KC Kicking. So far, I think he has helped place 35 kids in college programs across the country."

KC: "Well, Dan is pretty quiet so the public probably doesn't know too much about him period. He isn't really the chatty type. We always joke that is why he married me, so he has someone to do all the talking. I would say that something he is too modest to tell about himself is that he is always perfectly composed while on the field. If I was him, I would be a nervous wreck out there. Not Dan! He is calm as can be regardless of the situation. I don't know how he does it."


Anonymous said...

I watched my husband kick for 8 years in the NFL.. I spent most of the game in the restroom because my stomach was in knots.. When I made it back to my seat no one was allowed to talk to me while watching the game. Now my son is a punter/kicker for NCAA and it is worse! Now I just take Zanax and pray a lot.. lol

Michael Husted NFL Kicker, Husted Kicking, National Camp Series said...

@Anonymous: Classic

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