They say love is a battlefield. Well, Pat Benatar does at least. But I prefer to think of love as a football field, to use a timely example, in which you can experience crushing defeats, unexpected turnovers or forge legacy-making victories that alter the trajectory of your career. In love, and in sports, the stakes are high and it’s anybody’s game.

But what would you do if, by some miracle, you found “the one?” How would you feel if you found your perfect match, or more importantly, would you recognize it at all? Sometimes when we least expect it, when the clock is counting down and it looks like it’s not going our way, your person appears out of nowhere. Call her your Victor Cruz (in which case she’d actually come out of UMass as an undrafted free agent, which is basically the same as coming out of nowhere, but still). Sorry, still basking in our Giants win. Stay with me, non-fans, there’s a point here.

And when you find that receiver and connect, there is no better feeling in the world. Am I right? The idea is, you don’t know when it’ll happen or how, but at some point it will happen, so you’d do well to be prepared. Also, much like the Cruz analogy, she may not be perfect in every way – sometimes us women are scrappier than you expected – but something about her makes her perfect for you. And that, my friends, is why she’s your game changer. The trick is not letting her get away.

There are three things all men should know in regards to the not-so-mythical creature known as the game-changer, and they are the following. Get out your play books, boys, and write this one down.

Recognize: No, this isn’t in a “y’all better recognize,” urban threat kind of way, this is a plea for the men of the world to be open-minded and identify when this woman comes into your life. Like I said, whether it’s at the perfect time for you, or the most unexpected moment of your life, you should be able to identify the woman who is standing on mountaintops while everyone else is way down below on level ground.

Tricks to help spot her include that she doesn’t try to change who you are, you feel like it’s easy and natural with her – like she’s always been meant to be in your life, and that she makes you want to be a better version of yourself. Once you’ve processed that such a creature exists, put her in your sights, take a deep breath and…

Decide: You need to decide two things here. The first is whether you’re ready to be the man she deserves. Are you still immature, sewing your wild oats or just not in the correct head space to properly value her? Maybe it’s a rebuilding year for you, we’ve all had them. Ask yourself that question seriously though, it’s a big one.

If the answer is that you’re not ready, then you should know straight away that you seriously risk losing her, in fact it’s likely that you will. Timing is everything, and your loss could be someone else’s gain.

If the answer is yes, however, you next need to ask yourself whether your current set up is worth disrupting in order to properly align yourself with this woman. Committing to someone requires compromise, sacrifice and a whole lot of life reorganizing sometimes. But if you decide that this woman is worth the inconvenience, then that puts you even closer to scoring position.

And finally, GO ALL IN. Is this another shameless Giants reference? Maybe, but it works for our purposes too. Once you’ve determined that your relationship with this woman could be the stuff legends are made of, you need to make it clear to her that you’re on board. The matter of timing is also tricky here, because if you identify this woman as your game-changer early on (as in, before you’re really seriously dating her), you don’t want to profess your love to her straight away. That type of confidence could scare her off.

But if you’ve been in each others’ lives long enough to be really comfortable with her, you shouldn’t have any reservations in telling her that you’re not going anywhere. Not if you can help it, at least. Once you do that, if she feels the same way, she will be yours without question.

One of the best compliments I’ve ever heard a man give a woman was that she was, “the type of girl you’d give it all up for.” Wow. I don’t know if you’ve ever been able to say that about a woman in your life, but if you have, now you know what to do. You don’t need to be the league MVP to come up big in the game of love – there are Tebows among us, it’s true. You just have to be man enough to appreciate an opportunity and do something about it. Have faith, aim high, and go out there and lock it down.THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

*Miss Wingman note: I nearly posted the scene where Damon asks, “When did you know she was the one?” and Robin Williams launches into his, “Gotta go see about a girl” story because having no regrets is oh-so so pertinent – especially for the numerous sports references in this post. But, as a lifelong NY sports fan, a Red Sox reference just didn’t feel right here. Sorry, Fisk.

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The last time we met, I took you through the finer points of the male-repellent Fox hit “Glee.” This time around, gentlemen, I promise that your girlfriend/wife-inflicted television torture won’t involve any singing or dancing…at least not intentionally, we hope.

Since this round of pop culture Cliffs Notes has to do with latest installment of “The Bachelor” (therefore no real plot, per say), I’ll instead provide you with five handy phrases to make her think you were paying attention. Then you’re free to send out “SOS” texts to your buddies on the sly.

Hear that? That’s the sound of your single friends NOT envying your life. Sorry, I had to, it was too easy…

For what it’s worth, being forced to watch whining, weeping girls (albeit hot ones) last night when you should’ve been watching the LSU/’Bama game is grounds for a break up, in this girl’s opinion. But, if you were watching Ben and his harem instead, you were probably thinking more WTF than BCS, and sorry to hear it, boys.

Key phrase 1: No matter what girl she’s talking about being a head case, regardless of the episode, just say, “That’s nothing! No one could ever be as crazy as that Jenna blogger girl. I’m so glad he got rid of her.” *Miss Wingman note – thanks for making us all look bad, Jenna, you just made me want to give up writing and my other X chromosome. Nice work!

Key phrase 2: If she asks what girl you think Ben will end up with, you say, “The really hot one (who’s name is Courtney, btw). He’ll ignore how mean-spirited she is because she’s a model. Guys are helpless to such power,” and then quickly assure her that she’s much prettier than Courtney. And a much better person. Chances are you’ll be 50% right.

Key phrase 3: If she says anything about Ben’s hair, just say, “It’s a good thing he has that going for him. And the wine thing, too, because he’s turning out to be one of the worst Bachelors they’ve ever had.” Sorry, Ben, sad but true. I used to be a fan…

Key phrase 4: If she says anything about the two girls who pretty much swapped teams on the first episode, nearly falling in love with each other instead of the Bachelor, just say, “Whatever, I support it. I’d rather see them in a relationship together than with Ben, he’s too boring.”

And finally, Key phrase 5: No matter what girl she’s talking about, whether it’s during a rose ceremony, group date, etc. if she asks you anything – any question at all – just say, “I’m sorry what? I didn’t hear you, I was too distracted by Blakeley’s boobs.” I know you’re thinking that will make your woman mad (or make you look like a pig) but trust me, it won’t. I’m not even into breasts and even I can’t look away, it’s borderline uncomfortable.

The only other things you should know about this season are that the girl who rode in on the horse the first night and the model hate each other, everyone hates the girl who brought her grandma onto the show, and Chris Harrison and Ben keep dressing alike. That’s it, in a nutshell. But if I were you I’d make a point of being conspicuously absent on Monday nights (read: watching football/basketball/hockey somewhere far away) to preserve what little testosterone you have left. And for that, you have ABC to thank.ETIQUETTE WINGMAN

Have a show you’d like me to decode? I take requests!, get involved.

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