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Step aside, Marie Lombardi. Kenetria Harris, a former stockbroker and wife of Chicago Bears safety Chris Harris, is an influential football wife for the current day. Via e-mail, Harris answered our questions about pregame rituals, game planning and what it's like to be the better half of an NFL player.
On game-day jitters:
I can say that the night before a game, I am usually a nervous wreck. I find myself praying a lot, and I always have dreams about football. A couple of weeks ago, I had a dream that we were playing the Falcons and had a pretty good lead on them (I hope I didn't just jinx that).
During the games themselves, my apprehensions involve losing, possible injuries and lack of communication. The first two are pretty self-explanatory, but the latter is a bit more complex. By lack of communication, I am referring to how difficult it is to not be able to speak to Chris, or to relay to him what I see out there on the field. It's funny -- I'll make notes, both mental and written, during the game, so I remember exactly what I want to point out to him.
During pivotal games I primarily watch for the Bears' defensive performance. Especially when we're facing a top-rated quarterback, like we were against the Packers in Week 17.
I got concerned towards the end of the game when Chris exited with an apparent shoulder injury. There was no way to contact him, and the media has limited information, so I was just a sitting duck. All I could do was pray that he was OK and wait for an update from him or the media. And it turns out he just caught a little stinger in his arm. Phew!
On delivering pep talks via Twitter:
Chris and I pretty much stick to the same pregame rituals/strategy each week. The night before the game I ask him, "So what are the goals for this week?" We then discuss his personal goals and the overall team goals, and what he plans to do personally to execute on his end. We discuss what other teams have been or are doing (i.e. who's injured, what type of plays the team is accustomed to running, a team's weak points, etc.). The day of the game, he always calls me in the morning when he wakes up in the team hotel. I always send him an "inspirational tweet" before a game. After all, I am his No. 1 fan. He calls me before heading to the stadium, and that's when I offer him a brief pep talk and say a quick prayer. And then he's off!
'Um, honey, you blew that coverage.'
Football is our everyday jargon during the season. I always DVR every game, and we will usually watch the recorded game preceding the actual game when he (or we) get back home. It is at that time that we usually review what has transpired in the game (along with my notes). I always question him about busted coverage or missed tackles, saying "What happened there?" or "What were you guys doing?" I try to be sensitive, especially after a loss, so sometimes I'll let him bring up a missed play before I discuss what I saw from the stands. Sometimes it's not the players' fault, but the coach's play calling. But from the stands all we see is that a player didn't make a certain play.