Female fans are an important part of the NFL culture, so here’s an offering aimed at representing women who care about football. Each week, a female Colts fan will give her insights to Phillip B. Wilson in a topical question-and-answer format. Heather Lloyd, who writes a blog The Blue Mare at thebluemare.com and is a member of the Blue Ladies fan club, will start us off.
Phil B: What have you observed at training camp?
Heather: I’ve observed a lot of stuff. I’ve observed the young guys, kind of watching where they’re falling in, the teams that they’re playing on, the different positions that we’re seeing them excel at. My thing is I like to tell the story of football and I like to tell the story of the team. And to me, the story of the 2014 Colts starts right now at training camp in Anderson, Indiana.
Phil B: Is this your first camp?
Heather: It’s my first camp and I’ve been here many days in a row.
Phil B: Were you nervous when you came in?
Heather: No, I wasn’t nervous. I was excited.
Phil B: Because it is kind of a guy’s world in the NFL.
Heather: It is definitely a guy’s world, but I have to say all of the guys here, yourself included, have been very nice, very welcoming, very professional.
Phil B: How many women are in the Blue Ladies?
Heather: I think we’re at like 75. It’s great. It’s actually one of the larger ladies fan groups in the NFL. We’re very active. We continue to grow every year. About a dozen of us got together with Kalen Irsay (daughter of Colts owner Jim Irsay) when we formed it in 2012. She contacted us and got us together and asked us specifically what we wanted in a female fan club. We got together three or four times. They came back to us with the finished product and presented it to us and they basically gave us everything we asked for, which was fantastic. We just wanted to have some activities exclusive to us. We wanted to do some volunteer activities and represent the team from the standpoint of female fans. We really should have asked for more. We should have asked for was a suite at the games with Mimosas, but we didn’t.
Phil B: So women get together because they see the game differently than men? What’s one way that women see these guys differently?
Heather: I think we look at it more from the players’ standpoint, the stories of the players, who they are, where they came from, what they are looking to do in their careers with the NFL. I like to tell the story of some of them, and it kind of fits into the entire story of that year. The year we lost Chuck Pagano for the season to leukemia, that ended up being a magical year, to watch them come together and fight together for their coach. Telling the story every week of that team, I literally got goosebumps. You just never know what direction a season is going to go, what’s going to happen. It’s fun to be here at the start and kind of watch it kind of start to progress.
Phil B: What kind of different questions do you ask the guys?
Heather: I asked Art Jones how married life is. He said it’s been great. He’s really active on Instagram, so this summer when he got married, he literally had every picture on the process. I wrote a comment on one of his pictures and said, ‘I really feel like we’ve been at your wedding and your honeymoon.’ He’s just a really nice, friendly, outgoing guy. He seems to be a real family guy, too, and we love to see that. We love to see the players who are out here who love to play the game, they’re in it for their fans but are doing so because they love their family and they’re supporting their family and that’s important to them. It’s harder for women, I think, to be fans of players they don’t like. I won’t draft a fantasy player that I don’t like. Tom Brady might come up, but I won’t take him. I don’t want him. I want nothing to do with Tom Brady or his wife. I think we think more with our hearts when we’re watching sports and judging sports. It doesn’t change for us, in life and in sports. And I’m not ashamed to say that. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think it’s a great thing that we look at things differently from men. You get a different perspective. That’s why men and women get along, because we see things differently and hopefully we complement each other.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.