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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