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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Blanchette: It’s natural for Angela Rypien

Angela Rypien following dad Mark's lead. (Courtesy of Martine Gorrill)
Angela Rypien following dad Mark's lead. (Courtesy of Martine Gorrill)
Angela Rypien has decided to go into the family business. And she knows that while the support will be unqualified, the job evaluations could be unsparing, too. For example, here is what Dad the Ex-Quarterback had to say about Daughter the Wannabe-Quarterback: “She’s very raw,” said Mark Rypien. “She throws the ball great. She couldn’t tell you a 2-deep zone from shoes at Nordstrom. Well, she could tell you about shoes at Nordstrom, but she couldn’t tell you what a 2-deep defense was. But it will be fun for the two of us to kind of sit down once they get their offense put in and she’s familiar with what’s going on so she knows the offense as well as she does Nordstrom shoes.” But that’s OK. Daughter can give it back, too. “Actually,” she said,  in what sounded very much like teasing, “my uncle’s a little better teacher than my dad is, so he helps out with that part.” So this ought to be fun. Indeed, in the current void of pro football fun – lockouts, lawsuits, whodat draft picks – here in the Northwest, our gratitude to the Seattle Mist of the Lingerie Football League for supplying some this week with the announcement that Angela Rypien has been added to their roster as a quarterback. Mention may have been made of a parent who was Super Bowl MVP for the Washington Redskins in 1991, but it was likely a footnote. And, yes, the requisite analogies were made to father-son quarterback parlays that have worked out smashingly (the Mannings), pretty good (the Grieses) and, well, enough said (the Simms). “With two girls,” noted Angela, “obviously neither of us was going to make it to the NFL. I don’t know if this makes up for it, but I think he’s enjoying it.” Wait, you may be saying – the Mist? The Lingerie league? This is football? It’s an indoor version, tricked up – 7-on-7, everybody eligible, no punts or field goals. The league launched two years ago, an outgrowth of Super Bowl-day alternative halftime programming. The league website labels it “True Fantasy Football,” and the guess here is the least accessed link is for stats. And, yes, the uniforms are … not cumbersome. “It definitely is different,” Angela offered. “I was a little shocked at first. When someone takes a look at you, you get their minds going, that’s for sure – until they watch and realize these women are really playing football. It probably takes 10 minutes for someone to get over the fact of what we’re wearing.” And Dad? “He’s probably not jumping for joy over the uniforms,” she said, “but he loves the fact that I love what I’m doing.” Not that she’s done it, yet. It was just last fall when, living in Spokane, she caught a game on TV and decided this was for her. In November, she began driving to Seattle on weekends, working out with the Mist and trying to work herself onto the roster for the final game – which ended up getting canceled when the opposing team from Dallas folded. Since then, she’s moved to Seattle, landed a job at Nordstrom – as a stylist, not selling shoes – and lives with her older sister, Ambre, who is fulfilling an internship with Jamie Moyer’s Foundation. Angela had dabbled in just about everything athletically growing up – but obviously grew up in a football family. “Besides, all my boyfriends in high school were football players,” she said, “and I’ve always played football with the guys after school and thrown the ball around. Everyone would always say, ‘You don’t throw like a girl,’ and when I saw there might be an opportunity to do this, I couldn’t wait.” Since graduating from Lewis and Clark in 2008, Angela finished cosmetology school in Los Angeles – and become mother to a 2-year-old daughter, Malayah, whose health scare last year rocked the family in an eerie way, with tragic overtones. A year ago this week, she was rushed to Sacred Heart in the wee hours for emergency surgery to drain fluid from her brain. Mark Rypien, of course, lost his 3-year-old son, Andrew, to a brain tumor 13 years ago, and Angela – 9 at the time – lost a brother. The good works done by the foundation started in Andrew’s name continue today. For the family, the eerie part was that the same doctors and nurses who treated Andrew were there to see to Malayah. “It was pretty intense, seeing all those faces again,” Angela said. “Because I was so young, it was as real to me with Andrew as it was this time. But both wore those turbans after their surgeries and their faces are identical, and just talking about the experience gives me goosebumps still.” Malayah is, according to her mother, “doing absolutely amazing” – one of the reasons Angela felt comfortable to tend to her football urges. But not surprisingly, Mark Rypien’s first advice was to “take care of my grandbaby while you follow your dream.” The dream will start, officially, with a Sept. 20 game in Green Bay. Angela Rypien has already picked out her jersey. Uh, lingerie. It has No. 11 on it. No surprise, really. It’s part of the family business.
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