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The Sisterhood of the Wives of Traveling Pro Athletes

Someone once said, “Behind every great man, there’s a great woman.” Karen Moyer is a perfect example.

“One thing I have found to be true is that a lot of the very successful guys in baseball have a really strong woman in their life,” she says.

Karen’s husband, Jamie Moyer, is a former Major League Baseball pitcher, having played for the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Tigers, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies and Colorado Rockies.

They met in the dugout at Wrigley Field during Jamie’s rookie year while Karen was interning at WGN TV. Now they have eight children, have moved over 84 times and are working on creating a life after almost three decades in the MLB.

Jamie has returned to the game as a broadcaster for the Philadelphia Phillies, while Karen has turned her attention to helping people.

The Moyer Foundation, created in 2000, serves to provide comfort, hope and healing and has raised millions of dollars for various children’s programs. The foundation has also created Camp Mariposa, which helps children affected by addiction, and Camp Erin, which supports children grieving the loss of a loved one in every MLB city — 43 locations total — inspired by a Make-a-Wish meeting with a young girl, Erin Metcalf.

When not busy with the Moyer Foundation, Karen has made it her mission to connect the women she calls her “sisters.” Spouses in Sports (SiS) is an online resource for women married to or dating athletes, which allows them to meet new people and share similar experiences in the website’s private community. Meanwhile, the public can view advice on design, travel, wellness, cooking, family, style, charity and more from the voices of high-profile athlete’s wives.

SiS has over 1,000 members, including Rebecca Justice, Lindsay Lidge, Elizabeth Prann and Nicole Jennings, wife of current NFL wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings, Greg Jennings. Nicole met Greg at a community band concert in the sixth grade. They casually dated throughout high school and became an official couple after graduation. They’re now married with four kids.

Nicole insists that SiS has helped her tremendously. “I recently opened up my own consignment store, ThePoshMommy.com, where athlete’s wives and girlfriends are donating items to sell for the benefit of charity,” she says. “When I connected with Karen at Spouses in Sports, she was excited to assist me and opened the SiS platform up to me and my new adventure.”

Together with her husband, Nicole has also formed the Greg Jennings Foundation, a private non-operating family foundation which offers grants to strengthen education within their community. The foundation has donated over $500,000 to education advancement in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan in just five years. The Jennings are also involved with Habitat for Humanity. Non-profit work is important to their family, which is grounded in faith, Nicole says.

“I believe that it’s important to make friends within any community you call home,” she adds. She and Karen agree community is especially important when your significant other is often away. But as athletes and their families are often forced to travel, it can be hard to establish roots.

Just ask Jenner Keith, founder of the blog “A Day in the Life of a Hockey Wife.” Before she met her husband Cameron Keith — former prospect of the Toronto Maple Leafs and St. Louis Blues — she’d been to just one hockey game. Soon, the sport was taking her everywhere from Alaska to Germany and beyond. In 2009, the pair made the leap across the pond when Cameron signed with Sportivi Ghiaccio Cortina in Italy.

“I started the blog five years ago as an online journal, of sorts. I noted packing tips and vented about this, that and the other. It just sort of evolved into what it is today — the story of our life within the world of professional hockey,” Jenner says.

She feels guilty when saying she personally gave up on things for her husband’s career — such as law school — but is adamant that her decision paid off in the end. “We traveled the world together. We raise our boys together. We became our own team.”

Yet her sacrifices show there are plenty of misconceptions about the wives and girlfriends of athletes — often referred to as WAGs. For one thing, “Life as a professional athlete’s wife can be very lonely and unglamourous,” Karen says.

Nicole agrees. “Every wife or girlfriend of a professional athlete does not fit the stereotypical stuff you see on TV,” she says. Many athlete’s wives and girlfriends have amazing careers, own and run businesses or foundations, have kids or manage their beau’s appearances and calendar. “I’d love to see that side publicized more,” she says.

As for those who find love in the sports world, Nicole offers this advice: “Make sure you love the person and not the game. Once the game is over it will just be the two of you, and there needs to be substance in the next phases in life.” Karen adds, “Embrace the amazing sisterhood that we all married into. It’s lifesaving.”

Link to original article: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/gals-got-game/spouses-in-sports_b_5650108.html

Originally Posted: 08/05/2014 12:15 pm EDT

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