Jen Welter: Play Big
If you have seen Dr Jen Welter on just about every talk show, sports show and any other show that matters lately, you know that one of the reasons is that she has an incredible new book out. The book is titled “Play Big” and it chronicles Jens’s path to becoming the first female to play professional football against males and her barrier breaking entry into the National Football League as a coach.
We here at FirstDown PlayBook have known Jen for a little over two years. Like most, we heard about her before we knew her. Having nine years of NFL experience ourself, we were more than a little curious when she was hired by the Arizona Cardinals to assist with the linebackers. As many of you know the NFL is one big fraternity which made it very easy to pick the phone up and get a scouting report on Jen before we ever met her. Coaches don’t pull punches with other coaches. We knew we would get the straight up story.
The scouting report we got on Jen Welter included words like “team player”, “passion” “hungry” and “energy”… a lot of energy. It was very obvious that Jen had created a lot of strong relationships and accumulated a lot of trust in just the short span of time she worked the Cardinals training camp. Shortly after that we reached out to her to introduce ourselves. One of the first things we learned about her was that if you are going to catch up with Jen Welter, that’s exactly what you are going to have to do because this girl does not stay still much.
After that initial introduction over two years ago we have had the opportunity to grow that intro from acquaintance to colleague and now to what we would define as family. Their is an immense respect on this end for Jen Welter. From our viewpoint, of all the the ways you can describe her maybe the best way is “survivor”. Heck yeah, Jen would love to be still coaching in the NFL, just like a lot of other people out there, but instead of pouting or brooding all she has done is parlayed her experience into becoming a professional at something that is bigger than football. Jen Welter is a professional at life and even more importantly she teaches others to do the same.
Jen very quickly realized that being the first female coach in the NFL was a big deal but not nearly as big of a deal as making sure she was not the last. Her lessons in being limitless are not just words on the cover of a book. She lives them on a daily basis and more importantly she helps others see that they can live them too. As a former teacher and a coach we know that one of the things you take the most pride in is the lives you have helped along the way. Jen’s impact on society is undeniable and it comes at a time when we need it oh so badly.
We aren’t going to critique the book for a couple of reasons. For starters, we don’t have to because we have been critiquing the person for over two years. Secondly, like we said, Jen is family and we would be biased. However, we will say this. This book is for anyone. There is something to be learned from reading it about approaching life regardless of your age, gender or background.
Keep this in mind though. We know we have a lot of ball coaches who visit this Coaches Community website. We often see coaches/dads out there struggling to connect with their daughters as they want to stay a part of their lives and they watch their little girl is growing up right before their eyes. This is just a ball coach talking, but we can’t think of a better way to offer a ton of life advice to a young daughter and be cool at the same time than to introduce her to Jen Welter and “Play Big”.
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