'Coach' Carlucci Teaches Housewives That a Split End Is Not Just a Hairdresser's Headache
Carlucci's interest in football began, unsurprisingly, in self-defense. "John, my husband, would speak this strange language over the weekend," she recalls. "If I asked him in the middle of a play to explain something, I might as well have been talking to the Sphinx." She decided to teach herself the game, but discovered that books on the subject "were written by men in that same strange lingo." So Carlucci, who grew up a tomboy in Harrisburg, Pa., the daughter of a real estate salesman and a society page reporter, spent three years studying, watching football games and, she says, "nailing any male who knew anything for information." Her students at the District Heights (Md.) Recreation Center, where Carlucci has taught oil painting since 1972, found the new course exciting. "They'd ask me questions about things they'd seen in televised games, and I'd answer something like, 'The quarterback must have been throwing to his secondary receiver. That's like when you want to send your oldest boy to the store, but he's busy, so you go instead to his brother.' "
Carlucci soon developed a teaching method she calls "Housewife English" and a 10-hour, five-week football course for the Rec Center, which is near her home. Her students have ranged from age 12 to 58. Half are football widows; the other half simply want to learn the game for themselves. For a $10 fee, Carlucci gives them such insights as: "You'll hear wide receivers called split ends, slot men, or flankers, depending on where they line up. That's like calling yourself mother, wife, cook, nurse or lover, depending on which hat you're wearing." Homework is heavy—for example, an essay on the duties of a linebacker or a critique of a player's performance in a TV game. The approach is often unorthodox: "Pick someone you think is sexy, and find out all you can about him."
Still, Carlucci's methods get results. Several Redskin players have endorsed her classes and so does Washington sportswriter George Solomon: "I have been in her classes, and even I have learned something." As former Washington All-Pro running back Larry Brown puts it, "She's got a very positive approach—and a good way to stop the family fights over the TV set." The most heartfelt testimony comes from some of Carlucci's alumnae. One woman started the course simply to learn how to communicate with her husband and ended up a rabid fan. "I have a safe outlet now," she says. "A good game is orgasmic—and it's not immoral, illegal or fattening."
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