How to Create N.F.L. (New Found Love)


By Jami Keller

Football Season is here. I am so excited to see how our hometown BSU Broncos will do this season. They are ranked 19 in the coaches poll to start and the first game, as usual, is a giant: Washington State has a much larger school and football budget. So, here we are, beginning as the underdogs. 

Football season brings with it an amazing amount of information. There are Pop Warner leagues, Jr. High, High school, and of course college and professional leagues; there are fantasy leagues, Monday night game parties. Of course if you have the NFL LEAGUE PASS, pretty much 72 hours of football every weekend. And now you can watch this season on your phone. It could easily take half of your waking hours just to digest the highlights

With our already busy lives, unless you make your money from being involved in this sport, can take up a considerable amount of time and energy. So how does that impact the other areas of your life? 

So let’s face it, your partner is going to be impacted. 

The following is an excerpt from the NFL’s (National Football League) Values statement. I have found that they ALL can also apply to creating New Found Love between you and your partner….


-We safeguard the integrity of the game.

-We are ethical in all of our dealings with fans, clubs, business partners, and each other.

-We follow through on our words with action. We are honest and direct.

-We create an environment that inspires trust and confidence.


-We expect from everyone in our organization the highest level of performance and commitment to our mission and values.

-We set the highest standards and challenge ourselves to keep improving.

-We are accountable for our results and consistently measure our progress.

-We make smart and informed business decisions.

-We work together, sharing knowledge, information and other resources to attain the best results.

-We focus on organizational objectives, not individual agendas.

I added the italics because these values jumped out at me. There is so much to learn from these basic principals. Yeah, it’s football, but I don’t think your partner would disagree that “{working} together, sharing knowledge, information and other resources to attain the best results” is a bad idea.  

My first football coach when I was nine years old, Tony Grimes, was big on character. As it turns out, all the best coaches are. Applying those values later on in my football career, I was able to feel the excitement of winning a 4A CIF championship game in the Los Angeles Coliseum. If you want to win, you do it with a character of integrity, humility and strength. This is true in football, and in relationships. When I sit down to watch this intriguing game with my family, because I have applied these values in each of the relationships around me, we have way more fun. We are connected, and in flow.

There is a values hierarchy. You have a hierarchy whether you have thought about it or not. We recommend leadership master John Maxwell’s: God (or your Higher Power), Spouse, Children, Work, then other Family. If we approach life in this order, we believe it maximizes the happiness in your life and allows for everything to be in a healthy order.

I would add football after other family, depending on your family. The key here is that when you put these things in order you take care of yourself in the very best way. Spoken or not you have made commitments to those you love. 

“We work together, sharing knowledge, information and other resources to attain the best results.” 

Whether you love the World Champion Ravens, or want to see if Kaepernick can Take the 49ers back to the Super Bowl this year, your values need to be balanced. What small things can you do with your other priorities before sitting on the couch with your favorite beverage? 

Show your partner some of the core principals I shared with you earlier. Do this not only by awkwardly saying “Look, honey, football is GREAT! I told you”, do this by actually applying those key values to how you conduct your life

Not only will this likely bring more intimacy into your relationship, but it could also mean that you won’t get “that look” after 4 hours of binge-football.  At Passion Provokers it turns out that our values are much the same as the NFL; would’t you like deeper connection and communication during football season?  It turns out that even better than winning a championship is being a champion in your family.

There is nothing wrong with changing the meaning of NFL in your house.

How to F O O T B A L L


By Marla Keller

Molly (Played by Goldie Hawn): * sings * “…. It’s the sport of kings, it’s better than diamond rings, it’s better than anything…! “~From the 1986 Movie “Wildcats”

I grew up  l o v i n g  football! Especially when the 49’ers were playing. (Take a step back, haters. We can agree to disagree. =) ) It was a great way to connect with my dad who, for lack of a better way to put it, was completely addicted to sports. So, to relate with him I watched a lot of football. I asked a lot of questions. I’d like to say that I’m pretty well-versed in the sport. And, for those of you ladies out there who feel like widows (and for some of you guys, widowers) during the long, seemingly interminable, 6 months of football season, here are some “Cliff Notes” that may just help you feel like you have become a card-carrying member of a secret society for football lovers:

  • You may already be familiar with the basic player positions like the Quarterback (he’s the one that calls the plays, throws and/or hands off the ball to another dude on the field, and sometimes gets completely pummeled, and you feel really sorry for his mother/wife), the Kicker/Punter (he’s the one that kicks the ball; AKA the one guy who can ruin an entire season–just ask the BSU Broncos, but I’m not bitter…I’m not…really…I forgive you, Kyle.), and the Receiver (the really fast one that catches the ball and runs, and runs, and runs if he’s not tackled first).
  • Here are some other important positions — The Offensive Line and the Defensive Line. These are the  r e a l l y  big guys who keep the bad guys from sacking the Quarterback (the OL) or go and sack the other team’s Quarterback (DL). And these dudes don’t look nimble at all. In fact, they look like they’ve enjoyed way too many Thanksgiving dinners, but boy can they move!
  • And lastly, important items to chime in on…
  • When the team your partner is rooting for SACKS the other team’s Quarterback (pushes him down rudely before the poor guy has a chance to throw/hand-off the ball), jump up and down wildly, then throw your hand up in the air as if it has a football in it and slam the imaginary football down onto the ground yelling, “Gotcha, sucka!!!” BUT, if it’s “your” Quarterback who has been sacked, yell wildly at the TV, “Defensive penalty, defensive penalty. Don’t you have eyes, Ref?? Throw the darn flag already!!!”
  • If “your” Quarterback throws an INTERCEPTION, put your hands up to your head and moan loudly, expressing aloud your hope that there was some sort of infarction (like “pass interference”–google it) made by the other team so that the interception is ruled out. If “your” Defense intercepts a pass, get very excited and celebrate profusely, possibly to the point of spilling your beverage (well, maybe not that effusive).
  • And, when “your” team is awarded a FIRST DOWN, clap and whistle. If the opponent receives a first down, express your disapproval with a slight nod of your head back and forth. No need to expend to much energy here, unless the game is about to end.
  • I could go on and on, but to spare you more boring details I will call a TIME OUT from this silliness. If you want to study up some more, check out this webpage — 

Here’s to connecting with your partner during a time of year that in the past may have been a not-so-great season. Joining your partner in something they love can be both enjoyable and empowering. Stop whining about it, grab a glass of wine (or whatever beverage floats your fancy remembering that BEER is really the more appropriate thirst-quencher for the activity) and start celebrating the fun stuff! I promise, it can be a great time.

What ideas would you like to share about football season? Any fun traditions to add even more connection and fun to the season?

How to Survive and Thrive Football Season (as a female who barely knows what the 4th down means)


Written by Ariel Minter

My husband is an athlete. He played three sports in High School (equally talented in Football, Baseball, and Track). He works at a landscaping company Monday through Friday for at least 8 hours a day. When he gets home, he explains how he worked out by dead-lifting 75 pounds of grass with one arm. Basically, he is incredibly fit and I admire the heck out of his bangin’ bod.  

I was the editor-in-chief of my High School yearbook. I played basketball in junior high, and have maintained an active lifestyle. I like to keep a frequent work-out schedule. But I would certainly not claim to be the best, fastest, strongest, etc. It takes me 8 minutes and 40 seconds to run a mile. I also know nothing about football. I would attend games in High School just so I could dress up in our schools colors and then go out afterwards with all my friends. My parents love football, and are even a bit crazy about the BSU Broncos, but I just was never that interested. Football means Superbowl Sunday, good beer, and time spent with some of my favorite people. 

One of the qualities I love most about my husband is that he loves me, and fell in love with me, knowing that I knew absolutely nothing about his favorite sport. In fact, I am not expected by his basketball/track coach brother, his amazingly athletic father, or his active mother to know diddly-squat about football. 

Because of this, it has sparked my interest. Since I don’t feel the pressure to know what is going on simply so I can fit in, it gives me room to ask questions (“What does ‘4th down’ mean?”) that seem idiotic to someone who loves the game. But my husband and father-in-law are not only teaching me about the game, but giving me “permission” to ask silly questions. I get to know everything from a perspective of teaching and love. I feel cared for in how they are gently edging me towards caring about the game.

So. I am determined to love the game. Even if I don’t end up “loving the game”, I get to share the experience of learning from two of the people that mean the very most to me. And it all started with them explaining very basic aspects of the game to me. It was like a foreign language turned into English and to translate I just had to ask. And it was an invitation to learn, not feel judged or stupid because I never cared before. 

If you are anything like me, all you have to do is be honest with your feelings, or lack thereof. Give yourself permission to not understand. You can THRIVE (instead of just survive) the entire football season!

P.S. Go BSU Broncos :) 

How to Stop “Shame on Me” Behavior


By Marla Keller

It was in 1995 that I  began to realize that I had been living a life based on my shame. Everything I said and did I carefully adjusted to make sure that I would not be disapproved of. My core shame created this belief in me that I was not enough, therefore I needed to perform, be perfect in all areas, and do it with such finesse that I would never be “found out” for fraud I was. 

This was all very unconscious at the time, but as I began to embark on the journey of healing, I came face to face with my addictions. No, I was not addicted to drugs, alcohol, medications, sex, work or rage. I was addicted to approval. I was addicted to perfectionism (creating the façade that everything around me was “perfect”). I was addicted to being right. And I literally felt unsafe whenever I was wrong. These are the things I did to keep from being vulnerable; to keep from letting anyone know who I really was:

· I kept my house spotless. You could have eaten off of the floors at any time, even though Kayla and Ariel were just little kiddos. My. House. Was. Perfect. If it wasn’t, I would break into crazy mode, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Following the girls and Jami picking up crumbs, toys, socks…You get the picture (and it’s certainly not a pretty one).

· I was afraid of what people thought about me.

· I dissociated. I checked out emotionally, but not like you might think. I checked out by being busy; by constantly thinking about the next thing on my calendar. Not. Even. Close to present.

· I had a deep need for certainty. Translation: I was a control freak!

· I constantly compared myself to others, especially my body. I had a love-hate relationship with my body, but mostly it was hate. “Never pretty enough” plagued me.

 · Exhaustion was my status symbol. I was a fantastic martyr.

· Productivity made me feel worthy, if but for a moment.

· Anxiety and chaos were a lifestyle choice for me. Sometimes mine, but mostly             everybody else’s anxiety and chaos. I had completely lost myself because my shame kept saying to me that I was unworthy unless I was the best wife, the best mother, the best daughter, the best sister, the best friend, etc., etc.

· I was constantly “shoulding” on myself. “I should be thinner…I should be a better mom…I should have sex with my husband every day…I should never make a mistake…I should always look just right…I should always be in control…I should be more cool…” And on, and on, and on.

Can you relate to any of these statements? If so, you are also struggling with your core shame. (And for those of you who can’t relate at all, you may need to read the definition of “denial” because, from what Brené Brown’s research says, we ALL have shame at our core. Men, it may look a little differently for you. Something like “I should never be weak…I should always be strong…I should be a good provider…”) The cool, and hopeful, thing is that you can have healing and relief from this dangerous place. I have. I’m certainly not completely rid of my shame, but it continues to get better and better. I am more full of joy and peace today than anything else. For this I am grateful.