Never throw like a girl
By Whitney Casey
Special to Page 2

Every woman should know how to throw a football.

Disturbed by the epidemic of "girl throw," Whitney Casey shows how it's done.
What went wrong? Didn't we all go to the same P.E. class? I don't remember any of my gym teachers demonstrating this slightly-spasmodic, gawky, elbow-first, same-footed phenomenon otherwise known as"girl throw." So how does it happen?

When I posed this question to a group of twenty-something guys, this seemed to be the consensus (and sarcastic, I assume) answer: "Girl throw" occurs because guys and girls are somehow born with different kinds of arms and shoulders. Wink wink nudge nudge, hardy har har.

Sure, there are a lot of physical differences between guys and girls, but the arm just ain't one of 'em. It seems that since birth, guys have been proficient at tossing around all sorts of balls.

In my pursuit of the answer, I was ... er, thrown. Was the P.E. playbook cooked?

It might take a village to answer this one. So I wrote a letter to the Junior Senator from New York, Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Dear Sen. Clinton,

You are a woman right? Could you please explain why girls can't throw?

Whitney B. Casey

I can only imagine her reply:

Dear Ms. Casey,

It is still an enigma. However, it might have something to do with the vast right wing, trip-left-flip-two-blue-54-set-hut conspiracy. I have included addresses for Ken Starr and Bush 41 for further inquiries. Thank you for your concerns.

Hillary, '08

I'm still waiting to hear from Messrs. Star and Bush.

Seeking professional help
In the meantime, I decided to turn to a professional. Enter New York Jets quarterback Chad Pennington and one young, unwitting, beautiful, blonde Manhattanite named Tracy Stanton. Tracy admits to having no brothers and a chronic case of "girl throw."

Jets quarterback Chad Pennington tries to help Tracy Stanton get a grip.
Whitney to Chad: "I know it isn't contagious, but she did think pigskin was part of Prada's new line for fall."

Chad: "Let's see just how bad it is"

The ball is tossed to Tracy, and we aren't off to an incredible start. (Of course, this isn't a column on women "catching" a football.) Tracy, eyes closed, reaches out with both hands, as if she's both hugging and shooing a bug away while simultaneously trying to catch the ball. Once the ball is under the control of her chest, she lets it roll down until she gets it together ... somewhat.

A lefty, Tracy grasps the ball with her newly-manicured bright red fingertips on the opposite side of the laces, and exuberantly pushes it sideways (along with her entire body, it seems) about 20 feet. She's strong, so the ball has some control and goes somewhere -- in a sort of shot-put kind of way. She seems satisfied, and turns to Chad for her review.

Chad: "I believe in positive reinforcement. At least she doesn't throw with the same foot and the same arm. That's usually impossible to cure. She's got a soft touch. She just needs to put her hand in the right place. Errr ... like on the laces!"

And he blushes.

Making a pass at Tracy was not in the playbook for the charming and very happily married Mr. Pennington.

Can your girl "pass" this test?
So what have we learned? Here is a Freudian interpretation of what to expect if you're goin' gridiron with your girl.

  • If her ball is looping, dipping, swerving, tumbling, or otherwise chaotic ... you've got a live one. But it, like the ball, won't go very far.

  • If her throw's got yards but the ball is flat ... so is she.

  • Big wind-up, no yardage ... lotta talk, no action.

  • If the ball goes straight from hand to ground like a reverse rocket take-off ... a keeper. She just needs to be redirected.

  • Good follow through, nice distance, loose (but not wobbly) spiral, no production and no celebration, nothin' to it ... she's the one.

  • If she has to "have a talk-through" before she will pick up the ball ... she'll say this means she's a good communicator, which is code for high maintenance and emotionally needy.

  • If she wants to know if the pigskin is real or synthetic ... she's either a vegan or a gold-digger. (Note: check her shoes. If she's got Jimmy Choo's, look out. Birkenstocks? Veg out.)

  • And finally, if the first time she touches the ball, she drops back in the pocket, scrambles, and then hurls a tight, bullet-like spiral off one foot that at 30 yards knocks the wind out of you ... turn around and go home. Now!!! Don't look back. Run, Forest, run! Man-Eater.

    It worked for "Tina Fabulous"
    What does a tight end and a tight spiral equal? A marriage proposal.

    I know this is so "April" of me, but remember the third season of ABC's "The Bachelor"? If you missed out (what a shame! I hear it's out on DVD), here is the lowlight: Hottie but mildly slow-minded Andrew Firestone ends up with equally-vapid and vanilla Jen. But, because of a football, it almost didn't happen that way.

    Tina P.
    Tina P. made "The Bachelor" spiral.
    Said football was thrown by one Tina P., who was otherwise known best for her habitual over-primping, outrageously-inappropriate-for-the-mundane-task-at-hand wardrobe, and her persistent high-maintenance hemming and hawing. One day before the "rose ceremony," Tina P nearly pulled an upset. While the bevy of beauties was playing around outside with a football, in walks Tina P. Stilettoed and coifed, she chucked a perfectly placed spiral with Namath-like ability nearly 20 yards to young Firestone. The crowd went wild!!!

    Tina was back in the game -- and now an MVP. With every "throw on the rope," Andrew's ardor increased exponentially ... goo-goo. Tina's new moniker became Tina FABULOUS. Reality-show nuts were writing letters and emails by the droves. Everyone wanted to marry the girl who could throw a football. Later, Tina Fabulous confessed she had brothers; and now, although she doesn't have the surname Firestone ... she has a full dance card!

    My pigskin posterity
    Sans brothers, I was one of the lucky ones. Early on in life, I jettisoned all that hooey, girly "wear sunscreen" advice; and somewhere between Barbies and briefcases, I learned to throw.

    At age 13, my team won the girls Little League fastpitch World Series. Ten years later, I graduated from the University of Virginia -- an Academic All-American volleyball player. My indefatigable quest to cure my "girl throw" was probably fueled all along by a young girl's desire to be closer to her divorced Dad, who had once been an All-American record-setting wide receiver at Florida in the Spurrier-Heisman era. (Go Gators!) Perhaps that endeavor was overthrown.

    Instead, I married my college sweetheart at the ripe age of 23. He plays professional football. After a staccato series of hardships and heartbreak, we were divorced. But four years, three cities, and a meteoric television journalist career later ... I can still chuck a football. Every woman should know how to throw a football.

    That's advice to pass on.

    Whitney Casey formerly worked as a correspondent for CNN. During her tenure as a television news journalist, she has covered a number of breaking news stories, including the explosion of the Space Shuttle Columbia, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the crash of American Airlines Flight 587, the Anthrax investigations, the Elian Gonzales custody battle and the Florida 2000 Presidential election recounts.



     Casey at the ready
    The author backs up her words with her right arm.
    Standard | Cable Modem

     Beyond help?
    Tracy Stanton exhibits a classic case of "girl throw."
    Standard | Cable Modem

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