Last year, during the Super Bowl in New Orleans, I played in the DIRECTV celebrity beach bowl. What I thought would be a fun afternoon playing football in the sand (don't get me wrong, I had a darn good time), also turned into tears, breakdowns and loss (my team didn't win). Really, could you expect anything less when pitting reporters, actors, singers, former NFL stars and athletes from all walks of life against each other?
My thumb was jammed by a reporter from another network while he tried to tackle me (it really was an accident), I was cursed at more than a few times by the opposing team (it's not my fault I have the gift of speed), and had an excellent time bonding with my fellow team members such as Chase Crawford and Chrissy Teigen.
After that epic battle, I was ready for more.
So, I suited up again this year for DirecTV's Beach Bowl in New York City. I kept in mind tickets are free, and this is for fans, plus we were honoring the FDNY. Still, I learned from last year how seriously other players take this. Game on.
Diary of a baller's day:
-Woke up with my mind on the game. In the word's of Jay Z, "I'm focused man." Rolled up to the venue and went straight to the VIP area to change. Every celeb player gets a customized jersey (that's when you find out what team you are on depending on your jersey color) with our names printed on the back. We play on sand, so our Under Armour shoes were customized to grip on that surface.
-The first person I see is our team captain Tracy Morgan. As we hung out getting ready to walk the red carpet, Tracy dispensed thoughts ranging from Beyoncé's Grammys performance to Howard Stern's birthday party (which was the night before) to having more children with his wife.
-Tracy then gave me the best quote of the night about procreating: "My wife knows me. I'm old school. I ain't pulling out." Well then...
-I then got carried away (literally), by my guy Chase Crawford. He is so much fun and has the best energy. He picked me up when he saw me. I'm sure there were a few envious girls and guys in the room seeing that happen.
-Get your drink on, or not. The backstage area is one big reunion, because most of us know each other: fellow reporters, former NFL players, actresses, singers, and athletes from other sports. Some people (I'm not calling anyone out) liquor up pre-game, others of us are drinking water, trying to hydrate before game time (so, in one corner people are sipping on a little something something and in another, stars are stretching).
-Highlight of the day: Eli Manning, giving me props (just see the pic). There where huge names in the house such as: Deion Sanders, Desmond Howard, Tony Gonzalez, Aaron Paul and Nina Dobrev, but none of my convos/interaction with them come close to the Eli situation.
-Red carpet rivalries: The number one thing I was asked during my red carpet interviews was, "'Who is my biggest rival?'" At first, I said Rocsi Diaz (not because we are really rivals, we are actually cool, but more because we were on different teams just like last year and work for opposing entertainment shows). After thinking about it a beat, I changed my answer and made up my mind. My top rival, and I mean out for blood was AJ Calloway from Extra. AJ is like my big bro, but it was him who hit me so hard last year my thumb was jammed for a week. He felt bad, but still...
-Once the game started, I realized a lot of the people on my team had no idea about the rules of football. WTF
-Listen up publicists: when you agree to have your clients play in sports games, please, please make sure they know the basic rules.
-My strength is speed, so I was put in pass rushing Jesse Palmer. I gave it to him good, but never got that full on tackle I was hoping for. Still, I got in the end zone while on offense (thanks Kevin Frazier) and got to do my ridiculous touchdown dance.
-Gillian Jacobs (Community) is my new favorite person. She and I stuck together throughout the game and she keeps it real.
-Towards the end, the game was neck and neck, but we lost. Yep - lost again
-Both teams have to gather on the field after the game for photos. Last year, people were flipping out, acting like this was a Super Bowl game. This time, everyone behaved themselves and we ended nicely.
-From there some of us stopped by the GBK gift lounge, before getting ready for the DIRECTV party where Jay Z is performing.
-My head hurts from getting hit. I found sand in places I didn't even know sand could enter, but I'm so grateful to have played today and had my girls Tracy, Diem, my hubby and family there to support.
Follow Alicia on Twitter and Instagram @alicialquarles. To learn more about Alicia, catch her on E! News and E! Online, or visit her website www.aliciaquarles.com.