Women married to NFL Mormons do best to keep things normal at home

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 19 2011 1:00 p.m. MDT

John and Barbara Beck with their boys at FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins.

Family Photo

Related list: All-time list of returned LDS missionaries in professional sports

They are married to men who play a physically brutal game, always one fluke, misstep or jarring hit away from a career-ending injury.

Their husbands have constant demands on their time, from practice to meetings to autograph seekers to charity appearances.

The ups-and-downs of a season can be excruciating. There is both praise and criticism, and it all depends on whether you win or lose.

For at least 16 weeks of the year, their husbands are away on Sundays. Their job performance is the talk of the town. The spotlight is always present.

Yet, life for these Latter-day Saint families can also be surprisingly normal.

They have callings in the church, ranging from early-morning seminary teacher to ward mission leader. They are raising young children. They have temple marriages.

For years now, Mormon Times has been following the careers of Mormons in professional football. This week, we take a look at their home life by speaking with their spouses.

How do they maintain normalcy and balance in their lives? And what kind of special opportunities do their careers afford them, especially when it comes to sharing the gospel?

Barbara Beck

For a girl who grew up 40 miles south of Price, Utah, the NFL life has been an adventure.

Since her husband was drafted in 2007, Barbara and John Beck have lived in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Baltimore; San Diego; and now outside Washington, D.C., where John currently plays quarterback for the Redskins.

"We've had some of the most memorable times," Barbara said. "With all the different people you meet, the different cultures, moving around has definitely been interesting for me."

They had a multitude of Mormon friends in Baltimore, including Todd Heap, David Hale, Haloti Ngata, and Dennis Pitta. They also developed friendships with Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis, Ray Rice and others.

"There was great tradition and camaraderie on that team," Barbara said. "It was one of the most enjoyable years of my life."

The Becks have three boys: Ty, age 4; Preston, 2; and Grady, about 7 months. The boys consume much of Barbara's time and energy, but she gets a lot of help from her husband and friends in their LDS ward.

She and the boys don't attend games, but John takes the kids to camps and practices, then stays after to play with them and give them Gatorade. Barbara says John is fantastic about letting her have personal time for exercise or spending time with girlfriends. One night a week, they get a babysitter and escape to dinner and a movie.

"We are each other's greatest support," Barbara said.

While John is away on Sundays, Barbara sits with a friend at church.

Is there a downside to being an NFL wife? Barbara doesn't think so.

"I don't know if there is one," she said. "It's like other jobs. You have to make adjustments and be flexible, always on your toes. Every day is different for us but we know it won't last very long, so we want to enjoy it while it lasts."

Danie Bingham

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