SPORTS GAL on PILAR SANDERS: Her Secrets To Being A Devoted (Football) Wife

By   |   January 4, 2011   |   Gals On The Town

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VH1ΓÇÖs Football Wives wrapped up its inaugural season before Christmas. True to form, it was a season of drama, filled with arguing, crying and fighting. Many times we watch these shows forgetting that they are edited for maximum effect, and we may be getting the incorrect impression of the participants. Sports Gal had the privilege of interviewing Pilar Sanders, wife of football great Deion Sanders, and discovered, despite being portrayed as the show’s villain, she has a spirit as beautiful as her face.

Pilar chose to do another reality show because she enjoyed her first experience on Oxygen’s Deion & Pilar Saunders: Prime Time Love, and because the couple’s fans continued to seek them out on TV.

However, the Football Wives experience was not what she expected. While the other women knew each other prior to joining the cast, Pilar did not. The divisions we watched between them on television felt contrived to Pilar in order to create a catty, drama-filled environment. What she thought she signed up for was a show that demonstrates how life really is for couples and the women supporting each other through their different trials.

Maybe that didn’t happen on the series, but we’re going to let Pilar have her soapbox right here at Here’s her secrets to being a good football wife, on and off screen.

1. A successful football wife has to be flexible, supportive, patient, and selfless, Pilar shares. She may have to put her dreams on hold because there is so much uncertainty involved in her husband’s life. Sometimes it can be difficult to plan too much of a future outside of her husbandΓÇÖs needs.

2. However, every football wife should develop her own interests to pursue. According to Pilar, it is very important that wives not lose themselves in their husbandΓÇÖs world, and they should make an effort to have their own interests to pursue, especially at the end of his football run. It eases the manΓÇÖs transition from active player to retired one if his wife is not at loose ends about her own life. Pilar was very fortunate in this regard since Deion walked away on his terms when he wanted to, and now has more time to support and encourage her. When a player is not as lucky as Deion, then both husband and wife have a different journey. It is important that she remain as supportive as she was before to help him as much as possible.

3. A football wife can wear many hats: wife and business owner, but the best one is mother. For Pilar, being a mother is so impactful and the payback of sharing her life and learnings with children (her own and others) makes all the work involved worth every bit of it. She not only mothers her own children but also the children she meets through the various charities she and Deion have. As a businesswoman, her proudest accomplishments are the couples’ charities: Primetime Association, which offers organized sports and training to youth, and Sanders Clause, which provides gifts for children year-round. She is also very proud of the fragrance she created which bears her daughter’s name, Shelomi.

4. Reality show stars should not be role models for children or teens. Role models should be people who put food on their table and clothes on their back, the real people who impact the quality of their lives, Pilar insists. Role models should build character. They are best found among family, church members and teachers. As Pilar has learned, there is very little control for stars over the final product that airs on TV. A format that showed the women being more supportive of each other could have highlighted what makes a successful football wife, one who takes excellent care of her home and her husband. In reality television, stereotypes are needed for ratings. It saddens Pilar that young people donΓÇÖt understand that.

5. Pilar’s Words of Wisdom. Pilar and I ended our conversation with her parting words of wisdom. First, always believe in yourself because if you donΓÇÖt, why would anyone else. Second, life and death is in the power of our tongues. Use it to speak your dreams into existence.

photo credit: VH1

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