It’s a Thanksgiving tradition to watch the Cowboys after a big turkey meal — and maybe play some touch football in the front yard. But Dallas Diamonds female footballer Valeria Murawka has some advice
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If you’re not the biggest football fan and cringe as Thanksgiving rolls around, you’re not alone. As the Cowboys prepare to take on the Oakland Raiders Thursday, those men — gay or straight — who aren’t fans, might be preparing an escape.
But if you get lumped into the camaraderie of yelling at the TV and playing an impromptu touch football game, don’t worry. I got you covered.
But I needed some help.
The Dallas Diamonds are the female answer to the Cowboys. Part of the Independent Women’s Football League founded in 2000, the Diamonds have been doing Dallas proud even without a big fancy stadium. With four IWFL Super Bowl wins, these ladies are serious.
"We live for each other, we die for each other," Valeria Murawka says.
She’s got the team spirit. And Murawka agreed to help me help you get ready for the inevitable.
The trick of football-watching success is to feel like you’re having fun and are engaged; a stick-in-the-mud is a trypto-buzzkill and that’s just not cool. Murawka gives me some quick tips on how non-fans can enjoy three hours of high-def man-play.
"It’s easy to get ready for game day. The generic ‘Let’s go defense’ always works … just be sure it’s the defense playing. My personal favorite is to ask for the chest bump. And you can always talk how good Jason Whitten is when he has the ball. Just don’t comment on his ass, that might be awkward," she says.
Damn. Because it’s a nice ass. Real nice.
Murawka offers a list of Cowboys other than quarterback Tony Romo to discuss so you know what you’re talking about. This is way handy.
"Mike Austin, for sure. He was a nobody but he’s been lighting up the field lately. My favorite is Keith Brooking, No. 51 on offense," she says.
Wow, Murawka really knows her stuff.
No surprises there. She has played with the Diamonds for three years; the upcoming season will be her fourth. She’ll soon take on opponents as a safety and possibly as wide receiver, too. The team, though, is more than recreation for her — it’s a second family with about 48 sisters.
"It sounds clichÃ© but we are a team! We’re lucky enough to play a sport that lots of women want to play. And they are my sisters. We get manis and pedis, I’d call them up to bury the body and we play football that kicks your ass," she says.
The Diamonds have just finished member registration and then begin a sort of rookie camp 101 for new players. Once the actual team is drafted, they’ll begin workouts and practices when the new season starts in April.
Speaking of practice, she gives the lowdown on getting through any touch football game that may pop up during halftime. While I don’t mind watching the game, I have always hated this part of the holiday. Why can’t we just watch Daughtry at half time this year? He’s dreamy.
"The good thing [about touch football] is, there’s no tackling. Just use two hands to grab a flag or touch the offense," she says. (Hmmm … depending on who’s on the other team, tackling might be fun. But OK.)
She walked me through throwing a football, which I suck at — but I don’t want to be that guy.
"Always follow through. Hold it toward the end with your last three fingers on the laces. When you release the ball and if you’re right handed, slap your left pocket. This ensures a good follow through," she says.
This totally works and I get some pretty good distance. However, I’d really like to make a touchdown and do a celebratory dance. She explained to tread lightly here.
"I probably wouldn’t do pelvic thrusts or a scream. You can thank God. No one’s gonna mock you if God’s involved," she advises.
Can I do the "Single Ladies" number from Glee?
"Yeahhh, no. Don’t put a ring on it. It seems like that would be bad news," she says.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 20, 2009.