It isn't all fun, games for NFL wife
|[Times photo: James Borchuck]
Claudia Barber, left, and Linda Lynch don't worry about groupies on the road, but they get upset when they put a move on their men while they're standing right next to them.
By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 10, 2002
Claudia Barber and Linda Lynch, wives of defensive backs Ronde Barber and John Lynch, will be enjoying today's day off with their families. But not before sharing with us their takes on groupies, trust and lingerie and special secrets about their husbands.
* * *
RM: So John's a pretty good father?
LL: Very good, except that time when he left (son) Jake home alone, when he was only about 5 weeks old.
RM: Say what?
LL: Yeah. My mother and I went out and John and my dad (Doug Allred) were supposed to be watching Jake. They put him to bed and left the house to run an errand. We came home, saw the lady who was taking care of my niece out walking her and figured John and Dad were in the house. Of course, they were not. My mother immediately got on the phone and called them home. It wasn't pretty.
RM: Yeah, well at least he was in a crib and couldn't move.
LL: Actually, he was on my bed. He's never done that again.
RM: Best part of being an NFL wife?
CB: You go to the front of the lines. In certain restaurants there might be a long wait and usually when I go in, I'll just give them my first name. Then, when Ronde walks up, they'll recognize him and move us up. I guess that's a good thing. We'll keep going back to those restaurants.
RM: What's the worst part of being an NFL wife?
LL: That's easy: your privacy, or lack of it. People have good intentions, but sometimes you haven't seen your husband in a long time and you would just like some family time, some private time. The fans here are very, very good, but you still want some private time.
RM: Greatest misconception people have about women married to pro athletes is ... ?
CB: It's a lot harder than people think. It's a more challenging life. You're juggling your children's lives, your husband's life, your life. You really never have an open schedule, not even in the offseason because that's when you start doing a lot of charitable stuff. You have to balance your time.
LL: People think our husbands go to work for a couple hours a day and then show up for a game. It's more involved than that.
CB: Actually, they go to work six days a week instead of five days a week. Ronde is out of the house by 6:30 every morning.
LL: And sometimes they're gone all seven days since they play on Sundays and typically come in for treatment on their off days.
RM: Memo to the groupies:
LL: John is married. Leave him alone. There are these women who will come up to him and ask him, "Will you marry me?" And I'm standing right there with my two kids. Last week, this woman asked him for a hug and he said no and she got all mad at him.
CB: Sometimes, some women get too close. They want to talk right in their face and you're standing right next to them and they don't care. It's like you don't even exist. That gets me. I feel like saying, "Look, take a step back. Back off my husband."
RM: How do you handle them being away from home knowing there are women like that out there?
CB: I really don't think about it. I trust him. He'll never do anything like that to me. Plus, football is the least of the pro sports to worry about because they are only gone eight days and it's for less than 24 hours. And we know, when they're on the road, they have (team) meetings at night.
LL: It's never been an issue in my mind. I knew going into this what was involved in marrying a pro athlete. I think the other challenges are far more significant.
RM: Most depressed you've ever seen them?
CB: Any time they have an injury, because you can't help them. It's a whole different atmosphere at home. You can try to comfort them, but they are men. When they are hindered and can't fix it, they have such a hard time.
RM: Football pants. Comment?
LL: You mean, like the white ones they play in? Hmmm.
RM: Linda, your eyes kind of lit up.
LL: Really? Our seats aren't that close (to the field). It's not something I look at.
CB: I'll say this, I know they are very tight. They're supposed to be, to hold the pads.
RM: Your husband aside, who has the best body on the team?
LL: That used to be easy: (former safety) Melvin Johnson.
CB: Ronde says the guy who is the most fit physically is Simeon Rice. You know how some people have big upper bodies and small legs, or real big legs and little arms. The most proportional people on the team are Simeon and (quarterback) Rob Johnson.
LL: Simeon and Rob, definitely. We've known Rob for a while, and I know how hard he works on his body and diet.
RM: Under what circumstances would John or Ronde pose for Playgirl?
RM: No way, no how?
LL: Never! He doesn't agree with the whole thing. If that was something he wanted to do then I wouldn't object, but that's not the type of man I married.
CB: Ronde is not shy. Did you see what he did in Sports Illustrated for Women? He's not shy.
RM: In a one-hour walk through the mall, average number of women who flirt with your husband?
CB: I would say nearly every girl.
LL: I agree.
RM: What is Victoria's secret?
LL: That's true, but I've been out of that for a long time considering my current state (pregnant).
RM: I'm figuring that some forms of lingerie have to be uncomfortable.
LL: I'm not wearing it if it's uncomfortable. I'm wearing it if it's beautiful. I'm wearing it for me.
RM: Something you can't stand about your husband?
CB: He makes me back the car into the garage.
RM: Wait a second. I got to defend my man on that one. That's important.
CB: What difference does it make? You're going in and out. It takes twice as long to back it in than to just pull in. If I drive it in forward, when he comes home he'll back it in. I don't see the point.
LL: John takes the keys out of my car all the time. I leave my keys in the ignition all the time and he removes them. Then he goes to work and I can't find where he's put them.
RM: Linda, why would you leave the keys in the car?
LL: I always have.
RM: Tell me a secret.
LL: John loves to sing Irish songs. He's good.
CB: Ronde loves Harry Potter books. He's read all of them. He saw the first movie and will be in line to see the new one when it opens. He's still a kid at heart. When the last book came out, he made sure I put his name on the list so he could get a book.
RM: How close are women today to being treated equally?
CB: It's still far. When you still have golf clubs who discriminate against women, that says something. I mean, what does G-O-L-F stand for? Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden. There's a club here where the men's locker room is 5,000 square feet and the women's locker room is 200 square feet.
RM: I blame the male golfers for not having the courage to stop it.
CB: True, but male golfers are still men, and they're not going to go against the traditions.
RM: What's the deal with the candles and long baths?
LL: It's about self-indulgence.
CB: It's a calming thing, like having a glass of wine.
RM: Most men are about quick showers, in and out.
LL: I guarantee you John takes more baths than I do, three or four a week.
CB: Ronde, too.
RM: The candles, bubbles and soft lights, too?
LL: No, nothing like that. But he has the remote for the television.
RM: Who cuddles?
CB: Ronde cuddles.
RM: Cuddling is overrated.
RM: What's the trick to a good cuddle?
LL: Taking the time to do it.
CB: Ronde is a cuddler because he's a mama's boy. When he was in high school and going to church, he (and brother Tiki) would sleep on (their) mother's shoulders, cuddled up in church. At 16 years old? Not embarrassed at all.
RM: Most romantic thing they did for you?
CB: The sweetest thing Ronde did when we started dating and were at that point where I was staying over, he had just moved into his new house and was buying little things for the house and he bought me a toothbrush and a razor. A ladies razor, nonetheless. I thought that was so-o-o-o sweet.
RM: Oh, God, I'm going to be sick.
LL: The day we got married he wrote me this poem, a three-page poem, and we had a friend do it in calligraphy. It was very special. I have it up in my bathroom.
RM: For a million dollars, would you let your husbands spend a night with someone else?
LL: Absolutely not.
RM: Two million?
LL: No. Money does not buy happiness.
CB: I would prefer to stay poor. You know what, the next day I would win the lottery.
CB: Because God watches over those who have values.
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