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Author: Beth Walker

Beth Walker has partnered with her husband for twenty years, in leadership and ministry both on and off the football field. Beth is passionate about encouraging women to pursue their individual callings from God. She is a contributor to Friday Night Wives and The Glorious Table. On her own blog, Lessons from the Sidelines, Beth offers practical advice for other coaches’ wives as well as a behind-the-scenes look at her family’s life as they serve their football players and their community. Her first book released in August of 2020.

dear head coach's wife this is my prayer for you

Dear Head Coach’s Wife Here’s My Prayer For You

Dear Head Coach’s Wife,

This fall will be the first time in almost a decade that my “title” is coach’s wife rather than head coach’s wife, and I’m so relieved. As our new reality began to take shape, I found myself exhaling deeply for the first time in a long time. Even my parents observed that after spending a few hours with my husband, they don’t remember a time when they’ve seen him smile so much or look so relaxed. And while saying this out loud makes me chuckle, it also reminds me that you, head coach’s wife, need my prayer and support.

Don’t get me wrong. My husband was an excellent head coach for many years. He was successful on the field, and he faced challenges. But, most importantly, he understands the opportunity a coach has to develop men through sports. He understands athletics is an avenue to sharpen future amazing husbands, employees, and citizens through the ministry of football. When he coached at the college level, he spent hours pouring into his staff, seeking to develop their leadership skills and football knowledge.

As the head coach, he also faced every criticism from the public, administration, staff, and team. As the head coach, he understood he was associated with every negative situation, whether he was present or completely unaware of the details.

I’ve often said that you have to be slightly insane to place your family’s financial stability in the hands of 16–21-year-old men committing to do the right thing at the right time 365 days a week for four years. Whether you’re coaching high school or college ball, you know you’re setting yourself up for failure with those odds! And really, why should we expect athletes to behave better than the adults in the room? (But that’s a question to answer in a different post 😉)

Today dear head coach’s wife, I’m writing to you. I want you to know that I understand your burden as one who has walked years in your shoes.

  • I know how lonely it is to invite your staff wives to your home, only to learn later they prefer to hang out together without you.
  • I know how difficult it is to bite your tongue as you hear how unfair your husband’s decision to require the coaching staff to work is, even though he’s worked longer hours than anyone else on staff.
  • I understand how challenging it is to walk the line of representing your husband and team well while also pursuing your own dreams and passions.
  • I know what it’s like to feel the loss of staff leaving because they insist you aren’t treating them as well as they deserve even though you know your husband is bending over backward to do everything he possibly can to make that coach (and his wife) as welcome as possible.

But here’s the thing head coach’s wife, for every challenging situation I understand, there are ten amazing that flood my mind. Coaching is a ministry that includes a constant rotation of new people to serve. This means that our mission field will change every year whether we move on or our entire staff remains the same.

With that in mind, my prayer for you this year is specific. I hope you’ll find it applicable.

Father God,

We lift up our head coaching families this season. As we enter a new (and likely uncertain) season, we will need to establish what “normal” looks like in a post-pandemic world. This is a challenge for every leader. However, I believe our head coaches are facing a particular burden this year. God, please give them your compassion and empathy for their athletes this year. Help them discern when to ask for more and understand their athletes are truly giving everything they can on a particular day.

God, we know as our coaches will be on the field, coaches’ wives will strive (and struggle) to support their husbands, children, and juggling everyday life. So we pray specifically for our head coaches’ wives today.

Every coach’s wife needs your shoulder to lean on, but today I’m asking that you give head coaches’ wives an extra dose of encouragement this season. Please provide them with a cheerleader in their community who they can lean on in difficult moments. Please help them to walk the tightrope of public and private lives in their communities well. Finally, God, I ask that you give our head coaches’ wives ideas on deepening family bonds within the staff best.

We pray that our head coaches’ wives won’t feel they need to put their passions, dreams, and desires on hold this year. Instead, we ask that you show them how they can thrive in their callings in partnership with you.

Thank you for loving our head coaching families. Remind those of us on staff with head coaches and head coaches’ wives who seek to serve us that we are likely being protected from more conflict than we realize. Please help us to be grateful even in frustrating moments and to remember the bigger picture.

Coaching is an amazing opportunity to reflect your love and character. Help us all to do so to the best of our ability.

Urbana IL My Amazing Community

Urbana IL: My Amazing Community

Our family has moved frequently enough that our kids voluntarily keep a roll of duct tape in their assigned room colors on hand “just in case” we get the itch to move them again. One wraps boxes in blue, the other green. This way the movers place items in the correct locations when we arrive at our new locations. 

The other day as I was grabbing a few things from one of my favorite grocery stores I saw a familiar look on a woman who bumped into me as she was shopping. I smiled and asked if she needed help.

As tears filled her eyes she asked, “Is this the right store?” It turns out she’s new to town, recently moved from the east coast, and felt our community was a bit overwhelming.

When we don’t move frequently (or at all) we may not realize that in America things are different as we move from state to state. Brands change names even when they are made by the same manufacturer. It’s exhausting to decipher a store layout in every new store. But when you finally find “the right” place you start to feel at home.

That’s what we all want, isn’t it? We want our hearts to feel settled. We want to come home. 

Part of feeling at home is loving where you live. It’s a blessing to live in a place that you can also love, even it’s for a short time. That’s what I love about Urbana Illinois. Our Illinois community amazing is because it is incredibly diverse, it’s one of my favorite things about my home.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Carle Hospital, and the surrounding farming communities comprise much of Champaign County. Because of this, we get the best of both worlds when it comes to accessibility and small town living. 

Our diverse community brings boasts a huge variety of restaurants and grocery stores. You can walk down Green Street to grab shwarma, boba tea, and the most amazing fish tacos all within a few steps of each other. We also have the best farmer’s market in the state with local produce including peaches, strawberries, freshly butchered meats, and goat cheese used in Rick Bayless’s Chicago restaurant.

If the farmer’s market scene isn’t your thing have no fear, Lake in the Woods has boat rentals, hiking trails, and botanical gardens.

Besides the fabulous food, outside areas to explore, and the university to keep you entertained with athletics and cultural arts you’ll also find that Urbana, IL is an amazing town because of all the eclectic voices the community supports. Diversity in our area extends to The Women’s Business Council of Champaign County, Mentorship programs like cu1to1, and the Urbana and Champaign Park Districts which strive to present unique programming for every age group.

Are you moving to Central IL? Check out how Champaign/Urbana is featured over on our Community Resources page. 

Do you have a community you would like to feature? Coaching families move frequently and we’re always eager to learn about cities and towns where we may need to purchase a home and plant roots. If you have a community, ministry, or business you would like to feature as part of our My Amazing Community series email hello@fridaynightwives.com

 

 

Dear Veteran's Coach's Wive Series

Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife: I’m Going Crazy On My Own

 It’s Monday, and we’re answering another question in our Veteran Coach’s Wife series.

QUESTION FROM NEWBIE WIFE

How do I deal with being home all the time by myself with just the dog?? I’m going crazy!!!

Going Stir Crazy

ANSWERS FROM VETERAN COACHES WIVES

Dear Going Stir Crazy,

Figuring out large amounts of time by yourself is a hallmark of the coaching life. When I was sans-kids I filled it with being in control of the remote, working out, and connecting with friends. When we had kids, I found other women who had coach/pastor/farmer/doctor/police husbands who also had weird hours. These women helped me remember that coach’s wives are not the only ones who deal with this. There will be days in your future when you’ve finally adjusted and may find yourself craving time alone when the husband, dog, and/or kids are home. It’s a season of life. Enjoy that puppy and all the interests you can pursue on your own until it changes!

Signed, 

Your Fellow Social Bug

 

Dear Going Stir Crazy,

Even though your letter was written when it was more difficult to get out and about we know that loneliness isn’t something that goes away just because shopping is more accessible. On paper, it sounds wonderful to have your days to yourself to read, exercise, and chip away at your bucket list. But, in reality, you can only clean your kitchen counters so often and your bucket list isn’t all that fun to chip away at by yourself.

You haven’t offered many details, so we aren’t sure if the hours you’re referring to are all through the day or after your workday is complete. Certainly, this will impact the number of hours you will want to fill each day, however, I want to encourage you to make sure you not to OVERfill your days. Soon enough the time will come where you will want to spend a lazy weekend with your coach before the next season is in full force again. Regardless, I’ve learned that it’s best to look at the empty calendar space as an opportunity rather than a burden.

For those weeks when the calendar is looking empty and you know you’re going to feel like climbing the walls try sticking to a routine. Create a plan that includes a list of things that need to get done as well as some fun things you want to do. Is there a new store you’ve been meaning to explore? Take time to grab a coffee and check it out one afternoon. 

If you have a lot of extra time on your hands seize the day! Do you love photography? Check out the local park district or community college to see when the next photography classes are offered. You will sharpen your skills and keep yourself busy doing something you enjoy. As a bonus, you’ll be around people who also enjoy the same hobby!

If all else fails, bake some cookies for the team. They will love it and your coach will know you’re thinking about him while he’s on the field. 

Every Season is an Adventure, Embrace it!

Beth Walker

 

 

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Dear Veteran's Coach's Wive Series

Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife: I feel like I don’t have control over my life

 It’s Monday, and we’re answering another question in our Veteran Coach’s Wife series.

QUESTION FROM NEWBIE WIFE

How do you deal with feeling like your life isn’t your own? I feel like my life is dictated by my husband’s and I have no control. I know I’m supposed to say God is in control no matter what, but I’ve lost my sense of self & identity because even the decisions I make to invest in myself have to be worked around my husband’s schedule.

ANSWERS FROM VETERAN COACHES WIVES

Dear Katie,

The first step is to stop fighting it. Accepting the fact that your life isn’t your own makes it so much easier to move forward, because then you can start to work with it instead of against it. I’ve been there. I wasted so much of my time and energy obsessing over the fact that what I needed or what was important to me was last place for every aspect of my life. It turned into resentment and that was exhausting. I had realized that I slowly chipped away at my things (and therefore my identity), because it was frustrating to hear that either I would have to do it alone or I would have to get a babysitter. I started always planning on having to take care of the house and kid stuff on my own. If coach could help, it felt like a bonus (and a quick vacation.) Then, I found things that were non-threatening to the schedule and I could do whenever I could fit in, like an at-home workout or church group where there was childcare. When I started doing things that might compete with his schedule, coach got involved. There were so many times when I committed to something and okayed with coach in terms of his schedule, only for a last-minute change to occur. Most of the time, before he even clued me in to the issues, he has found a babysitter, a friend, or a family member to watch the kids so I could still do my thing (and the stress of figuring it out was on him, not me). God is in control, but I can promise you that He doesn’t want you to be miserable. For me, I can now see that God had allowed my identity to be stripped, so I could build it back up better and for Him. It’s never going to be headache-free, but you have to find the things that are worth the headache and do them when you can!

Jess Gilardi

 

Dear Katie, 

Try finding something that is just for you; something that is your own that you can separate from your husband and his career that gives you value. We are called to be partners for our husbands, but not to be a servant or to forget ourselves for him. And remember, it isn’t a one-way street…he is your partner, too. Support for a new endeavor for you may look a little different coming from Coach than you expect, but it needs to happen. When he fell in love with you you weren’t a coach wife; you were YOU. It’s important that you stay in touch with YOU so that your marriage stays healthy and resentment doesn’t build up toward Coach. As with everything, pray! Tell God how you feel and try praying for clear answers and a renewal of spirit. You are fearfully and wonderfully made in HIS image, sis. 

Best of luck! 

 

 

 

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Dear Veteran's Coach's Wive Series

Dear Veteran’s Coach’s Wife: Is this Normal First Year Coaching Stress?

It’s Monday, and we’re answering another question in our Veteran Coach’s Wife series.

QUESTION FROM NEWBIE WIFE

Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife,

This is my husband’s first year coaching. I truly think he is having a hard time balancing time with the team & time at home. I am home 9/10 times by myself each night. The nights he is home, he isn’t fully at home. He comes in and lays on the couch, doesn’t help with the household chores, & just complains about being tired. He has no idea how I feel & every time I try to discuss it with him he makes me feel like the bad guy. I am overwhelmed, exhausted, lonely & just depressed. We are a long way from family & every morning I wake up wanting to live near my parents again so I’m not home alone all the time. How can I get him to understand that he needs to learn there is a time for sports and a time for home? And when he’s at home, he needs to be fully there?

Signed, 

Lonely and Exhausted

 

ANSWERS FROM VETERAN COACHES WIVES

Dear Lonely and Exhausted,

I could have written a similar letter a few times in our marriage. Coaching can certainly be an all-consuming profession. Especially if your husband is working with a head coach who requires a lot of hours or is trying to prove themselves as a first-time head coach. I know it’s an odd year and a lot of life is just starting to open back up. That seems to be complicating things in some states. I want to encourage you to try to use your short-term moments of independence to focus on something you’ve been putting off.

If you’ve wanted to explore a new hobby or take a college course now is the time to fill that calendar with things you’re interested in for you! Have you had a chance to explore the community? Are there evening classes through the local Y or park district that seem interesting? Don’t hesitate. There are so many online options these days between Craftys.com and Masterclass.com that you don’t even need to leave your house to dive into a new interest. 

After the season, take time to talk about what did and DID NOT work the previous months. When you both have the emotional and mental bandwidth to talk about solutions to connect during the season you’ll both feel heard. 

You ARE seen and heard,

Beth Walker

 

Dear Lonely and Exhausted,

We fell into the trap that coach always being gone was just part of the job. We both accepted it as gospel and didn’t even think to question it. Coach felt as the new guy or the young one that he had to prove himself, be in before the head coach and not leave until he was gone, and he said yes to anything and everything that was asked of him. And I knew no different. It wasn’t until we started a family that I began to push back, but by then we were set in that difficult to break pattern. Communication was key. While I wasn’t always kind or eloquent about it, once I started asking if it was necessary for the program or just busywork, did it need to get done ASAP or could it wait, change started to happen.

Coach was very defensive in the beginning, but I realized it was out of guilt and not a lack of caring. While it definitely depends on the head coach and time of year, coach learned to work smarter, not harder. With life changes (new baby or job change), we’ve had to continually communicate and adjust. I’ve had to accept that there were just some things he couldn’t get out of and he’s had to learn that there just some things that weren’t a dire priority. Now that he’s a head coach, he extends the courtesy of reasonable flexibility that we wish we had (or at least felt comfortable asking for) to his assistants. 

I’ve also noticed how big of a role nutrition plays in coach’s energy level. There will be no changing the fact that he gives it his all, but for him to have any left over for home life, better nutrition is key. I’m talking a lot less processed foods and more real, whole foods and not necessarily a type of diet. It will be a lot of work initially, but once it becomes a habit, it’s worth every second.

Jess Gilardi 

 

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don't devalue the sidelines

Don’t Devalue the Sidelines

Our family is in another season of newness. To start, we’re closing the door on middle school, and come fall; we will have two high schoolers in the same building as their father. We’ve also moved again. This is our third home in this same town. We have moved a total of 2 miles distance-wise more than doubling our square footage with each move, but this one brings significant change. We are homeowners again after a long stint. These moments of newness are layered on top of the world emerging from months of mandated isolation. I’m proud of our sons. At 14 and 16, for the most part, they are handling all the changes with ease. But then again, they’re coaches’ kids, and for them, change is as much a part of life’s routine as buying new clothes when they’ve outgrown their favorite outfits.

One of the interesting things I’ve learned about seasons of change is that while most people resist them, many opportunities are built into each season. Seasons of change demand a pause so we can regroup before forging ahead on a new course. By default, we spend time on the sidelines strengthening our plays, resting for a moment while others are on the field. We observe what we’re up against, and (as my husband is known to say) we make game time decisions on our next moves.

As we embrace the moments of change in front of us, it’s possible new opportunities we hadn’t previously considered will arise. We have the choice to lean into our strengths and gifts in new ways. In these moments, we can embrace how God may be calling us to partner with him, or we can run. One of my favorite podcasters, Emily P. Freeman, recently addressed her response in these situations:

“When hints of my own potential show up in me, I haven’t always welcomed it, but I’m starting to. And in recent years, I’ve done it more and more. And I have to tell you, it feels like waking up.”

In Episode 180 of The Next Right Thing Podcast, Emily goes on to say, “I hope we can all benefit from this reminder to pay attention to places where we’re afraid of our own potential and also to pay attention to our own voice, to how the spirit of God might want to move within and around us.”

As I listened to Emily’s well-timed encouragement, I was grateful for these few moments, and then a sentence stopped me in my tracks. “Second, there’s still blessing, giftedness, leadership, and strength all the way in the back, all the way on the sidelines and in the shadows.

There’s still blessing all the way on the sidelines and in the shadows? Frustration welled up as I pondered how Emily was devaluing the sidelines. Didn’t she understand all the work that occurs on the sidelines? Doesn’t Emily know how intense the sidelines of a game can be when coaches are working coach players to step into their full potential?

And that’s when I realized that Emily was referencing the sidelines as if we stand on the line alone. But here’s the thing, my friend, as a coach’s wife, what we take for granted isn’t naturally understood by the rest of the crowd. While many miss the work that happens on the sidelines, we know the truth. The secret to a team’s success often lies in how responsive they are to the necessary adjustments on the sideline’s benches.

When an athlete determines they will move in their own strength, gifts, talents, and timing, the chances of success for the team reduce drastically. However, when someone remains coachable on the sidelines and uses that time to study, rest, stretch, and ready their body for the moment, they are called upon to step onto the field, the whole team improves regardless of the scoreboard at the end of the game.

No one stands on the sidelines alone, and it’s vital for personal growth that we don’t devalue the opportunities that await us as we regroup.

You may not be in the same season of newness as our family. However, it’s difficult to deny that we’re all feeling our way through some sort of new normal right now. Life is going to look different in the months to come. We’ve been impacted by what we have seen, heard, read, and felt the past year. And that is a good thing.

As we’re released from the sidelines this summer, and into the fall, we will notice that some of our teammates have left the field never to return. The challenge was too much, or God has called them to pursue a different path. Some are running onto the field refreshed and ready to go. Others are looking for ways to linger a little longer on the sidelines.

You may discover that you align with new teammates now. Whichever camp you’re in, don’t devalue the time spent on the sidelines. The work put in learning, the time resting and re-evaluating goals was necessary and important. You learned significant lessons for a reason. Now it’s time to put your lessons into action. Step into your sweet spot and thrive. Your contribution matters and we’re here cheering you on when you need the extra encouragement. That’s what teammates do. 

Dear Veteran's Coach's Wive Series

Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife: How Do You Handle Young Kids During the Season?

It’s Tuesday, and we’re answering another question in our Veteran Coach’s Wife series.

QUESTION FROM NEWBIE WIFE

How do you manage your first football season as a new mom? I know I’ll basically be a single parent, especially with the school he’s at is over an hour away which means at least an extra two hours he’s away. Just feeling anxious about it all. 

ANSWERS FROM VETERAN COACHES WIVES

Dear New Mama,

First of all, you got this. Pioneer women ran a household of kids by themselves with no electricity, indoor plumbing, and God forbid no formula or disposable diapers while their husbands worked 18 hours a day… so in comparison, we got it good!

By no means are coaches’ wives single mothers; we are married to the hardest working men who work their butts off every day to provide for their families. But I think you’re absolutely right to mentally prepare to handle so much of the day-to-day like you’re a single mom because it will make you strong and help you to realize you can tackle anything by yourself. 

Now some coaching mommas will disagree with what I’m about to say & to each his own, you’ll find out what works for your family but for me, I say “load up the kids and go!” We handle football season by attending everything we can: practice, games, social events you name it. The absolute best part of being a coaching family is watching your kids immerse themselves in the program. Your child will live for seeing Dad on the sidelines and the older they get it’s so fun to see them develop relationships with the other coaches and the players. 

The newborn football season is the best, other wives will volunteer to hold your baby while you get to enjoy the game! You’ll spend the second season chasing the baby all around. I would much rather drive two kids all around the state then sit at home for hours waiting on Dad to come home. Plus, kids tend to sleep in a moving car and you’ll appreciate the silence. 

My last piece of advice would be to stay plugged into the community we find in Friday Night Wives. Every day we see thousands of women across the country who are killing it as coaching wives and mommas. If they can do it, so can we!

 

You can do this!

Jessica

 

Dear New Mama,

First, Congratulations! You’re already doing an amazing job. The thing you may already know about kids is that you can’t think and plan too far in advance. If you do, they tend to catch on and try to outmaneuver your plans. 😉  Just kidding….sort of.

In all seriousness, I understand the tension you’re experiencing as you anticipate all that this season might hold. But you don’t know what will happen. You may find that your child is an amazing sleeper and the drive to and from games is the best thing for him or her. You may discover that a routine that really works for everyone most days and the weeks aren’t as stressful as you have heard from other wives they can be. 

On the other hand, you may need to start looking for a mother’s helper in the form of a young teen who can come watch the baby while you get a few things done around the house. 

Remember that the season is only a portion of your calendar and it’s important to take each week independently with little ones regardless of whether your husband is present or working far from home. Kids rapidly change their preferences when they are young and we must stay adaptable as they are growing. 

Bookmark this post, To the Young Mama in the Middle of the Season, and remember you’ve got a whole tribe of women who are ready to cheer you on when you have a bad day. I say when because you will have them. We all do. No one is perfect. But having a bad day doesn’t require you to have a bad season.

From One Whose Been There,

Beth

 

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Dear Veteran's Coach's Wive Series

Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife: How do I Develop Community on Our Staff?

It’s Monday, which means we’re answering another question in our Veteran Coach’s Wife series.

 

QUESTION FROM NEWBIE WIFE

I long for a close-knit sisterhood with the other wives on our staff but it’s just not there. We always have beginning-of-the-year get-togethers (with the exception of this year, of course), I have created a private FB group to try and generate a little camaraderie, and I regularly ask about caravaning/carpooling to games. I’m at a loss. We are finishing up our 7th season in our current job, we are quite a bit older than most of the staff, so, I’m not sure if that’s the issue or what?

Signed,

Longing for Sisterhood

ANSWERS FROM VETERAN COACHES WIVES

Dear Longing for Sisterhood,

Every staff is different from year to year and that includes the wives. Some years are great, others not so much. Two things I want to leave you with first; sometimes people are quietly struggling or missing the mark of connection. I have been burned before by others, pretty badly so when we join a new staff, I get anxiety times 10x. I worry all the time about whether not I fit in or if a person likes me. Because I am struggling, I tend to miss the mark of connection with a person. So, please keep trying. People like me need it. 

Second, I want to applaud your effort and encourage you to keep trying. Host a wives only event, my current HFC’s wife did this. We crafted team mascot door hangers. It was so much fun and gave us an opportunity to get to know each other without husbands and kids. One other thing I do to try and ease my anxiety and kindle friendship is I give all the wives a small gift. I am a crafter and make things, this year I made custom team earrings and gave them to each wife. It opened the door to new friendships and made everyone feel welcome. 

I hope this encourages you. Please keep trying, I know from experience that there is a person on that staff that needs friendship. 

Cheers, 

Stephanie Windon

 

Dear Longing for Sisterhood,

My husband has often said that the loneliest job on a coaching staff is that of a head coach. I believe the loneliest volunteer role is that of the head coach’s wife. The reality is that any way you look at things your husband eventually will determine the future of the rest of the staff. If your husband takes a new job or resigns then the rest of the staff may answer to a new boss, lose their job or get a promotion. If your husband isn’t pleased with someone he may have to fire someone. 

It’s a difficult balance with a dynamic where you’re interacting with the boss’s wife in any situation. Coaches’ wives who have been burned by previous coaching staffs are likely to keep their distance. 

Another thing to consider is that Facebook may not be the preferred method of communication. Try Voxer, Slack, or even email. It’s important to try to connect with people the way they are most likely to respond. Not everyone loves Facebook. 

Finally, it may be that while the wives are comfortable with you, there are some group dynamics within the overall group you aren’t aware of. Try inviting the wives out one on one to get to know them better. You’ll discover the things you have in common with each of them and they will see you genuinely care about them as well. 

Your efforts are to be commended, I hope the wives realize not all HCW’s care as much as you do!

Keep Going!

Beth Walker

PS- Have you read: Being a Head Coach’s Wife is Harder than I’d Ever Thought

 

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Dear Veteran's Coach's Wive Series

Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife: How Do You Deal with Head Coach’s Wife Conflict?

It’s Monday, which means we’re answering another question in our Veteran Coach’s Wife series.

 

QUESTION FROM NEWBIE WIFE

Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife,

How do you deal with a head coach’s wife that is trying to be a wife “leader” but is severely unfair? She and her children are allowed at practices/events but other wives aren’t informed of these opportunities. Parking passes, reserved seatings, event passes, wives get-togethers are all chosen by her and not provided for everyone. Some opportunities are even offered to her friends and family instead of staff wives. What do you do when the head coach’s wife is nice to your face and then talks poorly about you behind your back? Help!

Signed,

Head Coach’s Wife Conflict

ANSWERS FROM VETERAN COACHES WIVEs

Dear Head Coach’s Wife Conflict,

First, let me offer my sincerest apologies to you. I don’t have to imagine how you feel. I have been there. Here are some suggestions for dealing with this:

First, stay calm; easier said than done.

When things happen, take 30 seconds to collect, process, and think; this will keep you from retaliating or saying something you don’t mean at the moment. You are going to have to make a choice here: do you confront the head coach’s wife or not?

Second, you need to discuss this with your husband. If he is adamant that you don’t confront her; respect his decision. I would make it clear that he is expected to help you with parking passes, reserved seating details, and other things related to going to games. It will be hard to go that road (I have done it before with my mother), but I imagine you’re not the only one left out in the cold. Do your best to be positive; take care of your family, your husband’s players, and find a friend outside the wives group that loves your team. When my mother and I were in this situation, we chose not to confront the other wife. My mother explained to me that things would not change, and probably get worse, especially for my dad.

At the time, I wanted my mom and me to stand up for ourselves, but looking back now with more years under my belt, she was right. Whatever you decide, you need to have full support from your husband. That is the relationship you need to protect. 

 

Sincerely, 

Stephanie Windon

 

Dear Head Coach’s Wife Conflict,

Eek, this is a tough one. There are difficult people in every area of life but, when it’s in the coaching sphere it seems extra hard because we’re all supposed to be on the same team, right?! We’ve been at several different schools, some with super supportive wives and some with less-than-supportive. Sadly, I have not found either to change. They have remained in either the supportive or the unsupportive category throughout our time despite efforts to connect, kindness, etc. All that to say, we are called to our own integrity, regardless of how someone else acts.

I’m so bummed that you aren’t getting those choices that you mentioned. If there are wives who are trustworthy, cling to them, but don’t engage in “common enemy intimacy” (kudos to Brene Brown for the term). Y’all can be friends and support one another without bonding over your dislike of her leadership. Make the best of the situation as is and, if anything holds true in coaching, it will change at some point!

Signed,

Sometimes People Disappoint Us

Gifts for the Coach's Wife Who Deserves a Huge Thank You

Gifts for the Coach’s Wife Who Deserves a Huge Thank You

Dear Coach,

We don’t have to tell you that it’s been a crazy year and some months. We know you’ve been under a lot of stress. We’ve spent a lot of time praying for you. But, you know who has also been under a lot of stress? Your wife. 

If you didn’t know it before, 2020 was the year that you confirmed you outkicked your punt coverage when you married your wife. We know you’re already aware of this, but we’re going to document it for posterity. While coaches have been figuring out how to maintain team morale over zoom, install new plays over Hudl and execute team practices without contact your wife has had a lot on her plate too.

Coaches’ wives have adjusted to daycares and schools shifting to online schooling while still maintaining jobs, ministries, and volunteer positions. More than that, wives have mourned the loss of seasons, jobs, family, and friends with you. 

Coach, we know you are always grateful for your wife. But some years it’s nice to pause and really say thank you. As we start to see signs of  “normal life” returning and we all exhale in relief, we want to encourage you to say thank you before the season’s craziness requires you to dive back in full force. (We know you have a lot of catching up to do!)

We’re making things really easy for you coach! We’ve gathered all our best suggestions into one post. 

Gift Suggestions for the Coach’s Wife Who Deserves a Huge Thank You

We’ve given your wife gift ideas before and we’ve offered some general guidance on gifts for wives.

This year we’re getting very specific with suggestions for wives you can use for Mother’s Day, Anniversaries, and birthdays. You may want to bookmark this one!

The Gift of Music and Podcasts

There are some pretty awesome podcasts out there designed specifically to encourage your wife. The Coach’s Wife Podcast is a favorite if you’re curious. But in addition to podcasts when you have a Spotify Premium membership you give the gift of gab and tunes on the go without taking up your phone data. (For $2 more a month you and your wife can both enjoy memberships!)

Get Away or StayCation for Real

We know travel is complicated right now, but if you can find an Airbnb near a spa your wife would love the time away with your undivided attention.

If you can’t find a sitter for the kids or prefer to invest in something for your backyard there’s nothing wrong with a staycation. However, make sure your staycation also includes eating out or GrubHub delivery!

outdoor futon

Tips for a Great Staycation:

    • No smartphone
    • No email
    • No working from home
    • No cooking
    • No cleaning
    • No laundry

 

outdoor lightingConsider these Items for a Backyard Staycation that Lasts all Summer:

 

 

Clothing and Jewelry Are Always a Winner

The Friday Night Wives Bleacher Box only comes around a few times a year and FRIDAY is the last day to order! Of course, we always have adorable coaches’ wives’ gear in our shop

Over in the Friday Night Wives Marketplace, we also have the opportunity for you to support other coaches’ wives and small business owners. Check out Celia Bella Designs for some jewelry in your team colors. If your wife likes to work out Caylar Harper sells Zyia activewear which is super comfortable and very well made.

Encourage Self-Care 

As you’re browsing the FNW Marketplace you’ll notice there’s a lot of opportunities for your wife to pamper herself! Whether your wife loves to dive into a new book or likes to pamper herself with spa products you will find a gift for your wife. 

Something Personal

Are you on the move? Check out Lavender and Lemonade Design Co. Haylee Pitts custom home decor is beautiful. We are partial to the His Mercies Are New Every Morning sign for this season. But if your wife can always choose her own sign. Haylee also offers gift cards.

Maybe this move has sent your wife into a season of feeling a little lost? Gift her a session with Beverly Phillip. Sometimes the best thing a coach’s wife needs to hear is that her husband believes in her and is cheering her on in the middle of the unknown.

Well, Coach, we hope we’ve given you a few suggestions. We encourage you to bookmark the Friday Night Wives Marketplace and Shop and check frequently because we are always adding new items to both spaces!

Remember you have one more day to order the Summer Bleacher Box!

Dear Veteran's Coach's Wive Series

Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife: How do you deal with gender disappointment?

It’s Monday, which means we’re answering another question in our Veteran Coach’s Wife series.

 

Question From Newbie Wife

Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife,

How do you deal with gender disappointment? We were desperately wanting a boy for so many reasons – I’m a tomboy, I think bows are incredibly ugly, hubby wanted a boy that he could grow up and play football with and coach him, I wanted a mother/son relationship. I thought that once the baby got here, the disappointment of having a girl would go away. It hasn’t and I’m still struggling with having a girl. It’s just not something I ever pictured or wanted. I sincerely always thought we were meant to be boy parents that the thought never crossed my mind we’d be destined for something else. God clearly has jokes. Have any of you ever experienced this disappointment? 

Signed, 

I love my daughter but bows are ugly

 

Answers From Veteran Coaches Wives

 

Dear Disappointed,

My sweet coach was so worried; he’s the youngest of three boys and 110% male. When God gave us a beautiful red-headed, sassy girl for our firstborn, my coach was like, “What if she likes the violin and stuff…” I quickly responded – “Well I am not sure how she would fall in love with the violin in this house -but if she does, I bet you love the violin too.” 

Here’s what I can tell you – She is a gift. She will humble both of you. You will marvel at her – no matter who she becomes.

Our little princess got on base more often because she had been hit by the pitch, was a tenacious point guard, a fearless base on the varsity cheer squad, and incredibly impatient when the other girls didn’t understand the rules of whatever game for which she was cheering.  Her daddy could hardly ever say no to her and along with her excellent athletic ability, she was able to apply lipstick better than I could by the time she was two.  God gave her to you; you will have the time of your life finding out why. 

I avoided pink for years with my favorite redhead. I dressed her in baseball outfits, covered the snaps and hats with sunflowers or bows. She loved it, and we adored our ultra-competitive, never-say-lose, sassy, but very caring, fire-cracker. 

Much  love-

Lisa Witcher aka Mamawitch

 

Dear Disappointed,

You are not alone and I applaud you for asking this very brave question. Stepping into parenthood is easier for some than others. Having a baby rocked my world and I’m not sure if the gender would have mattered or not. Some people take a while to fall in love with their kids. I like mine way better now that they are big kids instead of babies. I suspect you will like yours more and more as she grows up, whether she ends up being a girly girl or tomboy. I got one of each and watching them grow up eventually made me change and love them more than I believed even though I am not naturally “bent” as a Mom. Hoping great surprises come from the choice God made on your behalf.

Signed,

He knows what He’s doing.

 

Dear Disappointed,

Children are one of the last mysteries on this planet. Rarely do we raise a child and find that our parenting expectations come true. I’ve never met a parent who says “Oh yes, my kid turned out exactly how I dreamed they would.” In fact, my guess is that if you would think back on your own childhood you’d remember resisting your parent’s helpful directions as you prepared for important life milestones. 

We have two sons and even though everyone on both sides of our family determined before their births that they would play football both have actively refused to engage in the sport.  Our boys are fun, funny, and exasperating. Just as teenage boys should be, and yet neither will follow in their father’s footsteps. 

We love them dearly. Now that they are more independent we also like them. It’s possible you will find you enjoy your daughter more as her personality develops. My encouragement is that you spend each day focusing on that day. There will be many moments you look back on and realize they passed by too quickly. 

God has entrusted you with an amazing gift. Enjoy her. She will give you many moments of laughter and tears. Every child does. 😉 PS. I’m linking this wonderful post in case you haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I hope you’ll read “My Football Coach Husband Has Three Daughters—And What a Sweet Gift”

Hang in there, 

Beth Walker

Note to Self Reflections on Life from Coaches' Wives

Note to Self: Ministry Will Include Conflict

Note to Reader: In the spirit of CBS This Morning: Letter to a Younger Self we are inviting coaches’ wives to reflect on the milestones of their past and reflect on different lessons they have learned about the coaching life. We are a stronger community when we learn from each other. We can’t wait to hear your story!

Note to Self from a Coach’s Wife

Dear Beth,

Your idyllic suburban upbringing will take your first challenging life turn in Junior High. Your parents will make the important decision to leave the only church you’ve ever known. This single decision will change your Spiritual development drastically.

You will meet and engage with mentors that will stretch your understanding of God’s character and how you read the Bible. You will meet people who expand your global view. Your friends tell you about their experiences living overseas and open your eyes to the realization that you must research and study things for yourself rather than taking the word of a self-positioned authority. They also plant a sense of adventure within you—a longing to explore new places.

It was a huge step of faith to choose a new church. Your parents trusted God with your unknown future.

Attending church in one community and school in another helps you learn to move through different circles of people with comfort easily. You also realize that friendships run in seasons, and some people are in your life for longer seasons than others. This will teach you that there isn’t a point in wasting time being anyone but yourself.

Just as you’re starting to gather your bearings balancing work friends, school friends, church friends, homework, and responsibilities as a student athletic trainer life you’ll find yourself heading to college for all new experiences.

Always remember your college years were challenging and a lot of fun.

As a freshman athletic training major, your days are spent on the football field. The quietest moments are at football practice, where you quickly fall into the familiar routine from high school. Fill the water bottles, respond to the injury, run through the evaluation, head to the doctor, and start rehab.

The classwork is only half as interesting as the hands-on work, and you find yourself more engaged in your Bible and ministry classes than the classes for your major. By the end of your freshman year in college, you are pursuing two paths. Balancing student staff with Young Life and while still majoring in athletic training, working with different teams, and trying various internships allows you to combine both interests, but your worlds are very separate.

You will pray for a clear path for all your passions to align, and God will show up in amazing ways.

At football practice your Junior year, you will hear a common question from a voice you never hear on the field. “Is it boring watching us practice every day?” And at that moment, you will look down to see a smile on a classmate that always joined in on conversations. He never seemed all that interested in anything more than a casual friendship, but now he’s flirting just a bit, and you don’t mind.

It won’t take long for clear intentions to present themselves. This will include a conversation where you begin to understand that God was not confused when he gave me a passion for ministry and sports. His gift of a partner asking me to consider living on mission every day and use football as a ministry was icing on the cake.

You’ll Learn the Coaching Lifestyle is an Adventure with Heartache

Your dating months will stretch you emotionally and Spiritually. Within the first few months, you will learn what hypocrisy looks like as “friends” now walk past you with looks of disgust.

This is a lesson that will prepare you for future encounters for the rest of your life. You learn to accept that not everyone pursues authentic relationships by seeing your dorm mates now judge you for loving someone different. You’ll rely on your high school and college education in Biblical foundations, doctrine, and hermeneutics affirm your interpretation of Scripture. Developing these foundational truths before marriage will be important as you will face legalistic and racist words and actions your entire marriage.

Your adventurous spirit will be tested

Football will take you all over the State of Illinois and out to the Mountains of Virginia. No move will come when you expect it, yet each will include many important milestones and lessons. You will have seasons of fruitful ministry in every location. Your ministry is always clear, but you will also encounter many who use bully tactics, shame, fear, and Scripture’s weaponizing inaccurately to minimize your ministry opportunities.

Thriving in the Sweet Spot of Your Calling

You will thrive once you have distance from those who declare themselves false authority over your life.  Distance will allow healing in the deepest wounds and clarity about God’s character. Each lesson will build on the previous one, and your confidence will grow as the noise of other people’s voices gives way for God’s voice. You’ll learn to walk more consistently with God’s shoulder to shoulder, and as you do, your marriage will thrive.

You won’t avoid conflict; it’s a part of life. But you’ll deal with it more efficiently as you clarify who you are fighting for and how God is calling you to live on mission.

Remember you are always clay in the potter’s hands

There are several references to God’s people as clay in the potter’s hands. But there aren’t any moments where God says he is finished molding the clay. He never says he is finished shaping us.  Live like pliable clay. Don’t ever set on a shelf and demand to dry out. You have a unique calling, and you can only fulfill it if you remain teachable, tuned to God’s next adventure.

“Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8

we've all been that family

Because We All Have to be “The New Family”

We’ve only moved a few times in our twenty years of coaching, but those moves have been what I define as major moves. We moved from the suburbs north of Chicago, IL, to a southern IL farming community that had two stoplights and one grocery store. Our next move took us fourteen hours east to the Appalachian mountains. From there, we moved to Central IL. We live three blocks from the University of Illinois. 

That’s right, friends. After sixteen long years, we’re back in an area with Costco, Aldi, Panera, Target, and an actual mall just around the corner!!! The first day we woke up in our new home in Central IL, I realized we didn’t have anything for breakfast, so I ran to the local Meijer. I spent a good five minutes crying in the produce department before the stock boy asked me if I was okay. 

“Me? Oh, I’m fine. I’m just happy and completely overwhelmed.”

It’s HarD to be “the New Family” in town Again

When trying to decide whether we should move, we’ve always tried to obey God’s leading. Each job has different pros and cons, but we learned very early in our marriage that the most important part of any community is the people. The rest is simply icing on the cake but that icing is often difficult to spread around evenly.

When You Move You Need to Start Over

As the new family we start over with a new school to cheer for and a new house to turn into a home. But the changes extend well beyond that. We have to find new doctors, stores, gas stations, schools, churches, clubs, affinity groups, and anything else you need to make your new community work for your entire family. 

Starting Over Includes Learning New Traditions

One of our favorite things about living in very different parts of the country is how many community traditions our kids have learned through the years. We’ve eagerly participated in Apple Days, Dairy Days, and Fourth of July parades. We’ve watched the lemon drop at midnight on December 31st. We’ve hunted down free lemonade on Lemonade days and attended the Lemonade Festival. 

Our kids have hiked the Southern IL Garden of the Gods and the Southwest Virginia Cascade Falls. They’ve tasted shrimp and grits, fried okra, and compared St. Louis style pizza to Chicago style pizza. They’ve explored museums and zoos all over the country from Kansas City to Minneapolis to North Carolina. 

It’s been wonderful, and exhausting. When you’re always learning new traditions it’s difficult to establish reliable family traditions. Sometimes you just need a community to feel like home. 

You Can Help Wives Feel Like a Local 

You know that feeling you get when you’re driving around your new community without Google Maps for the first time? You feel like a local. You know where things are located! You that feeling you get when you just pull into the gas station without second-guessing if you picked the “right” one? 

Did you miss park district sign-ups this year? Not on our watch! We’ve got you covered because we’re creating the Ultimate Coaches’ Wives Resource for Families who Move into a Community

But we cannot do this without YOU!!!

We’VE Created A Resource Map

We’ve developed a map that we will build out by regions within states. We’re going to feature the most common things you need to know about each area.

  • Kids Activities
  • What are the best regional hospitals, schools, stores, and coaches’ wives restaurant recommendations
  • Which coaches’ wives are in our Market Place by region
  • Something important and unique to know about this region

Fill out this form to contribute

Dear Veteran's Coach's Wive Series

Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife: How Do I Hold on to a Career I Love?

It’s Monday, which means we’re answering another question in our Veteran Coach’s Wife series.

QUESTION FROM A COACH’S WIFE

Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife, 

How do you handle your husband’s career and moves always being above your own career goals? How do you not lose yourself once adding kids in the mix who will rely heavily on you more than him with how much he’s gone?

Signed,

Loving My Career

 

Answers from Veteran Coaches Wives

 

Dear Loving My Career,

This is the age-old dilemma for all of us coach’s wives. I was fortunate enough to know before I figured out my career that I would be marrying a coach, so I picked one that was needed everywhere. But even that didn’t make taking a back seat to moves and his career path easy. I’ve seen enough wives not let their coach’s career get in the way of theirs to know it is very possible. But it was a LOT of work and stress for them. When kids came into the picture, I realized just how true the saying “it takes a village” is. You won’t be able to do it all yourself and you won’t be able to rely on coach most of the time.

I thought becoming a stay-at-home mom would ease the burden a little by at least taking job demands and responsibilities out of the equation, but it only increased the “loss of self” aspect I was wrestling with. The truth is there isn’t one answer. It depends on each wife, each coach, each job, and even each stage of life. It’s a constant re-evaluation of your family’s priorities. You will need to decide on what can wait. For us, it’s a constant juggle to make those pieces fit. It’s realizing that there’s no such thing as balance, but instead, it is a sliding scale. When the kids are little, it might have to slide more towards home for you, but that doesn’t mean it’s fixed there. Find your people, and if you can’t find them for free, a reliable babysitter will be worth every penny. Figure out what you want and who you want to be, and be flexible and willing enough to make it work. 

Jess Gilardi

 

Dear Loving My Career,

Dang, this is such a hard part of being a coach’s wife. I think one of the most important things for us was to establish that we both wanted to support one another’s career goals, but that they were going to come at different times. Coaching careers are such a “ladder” and frequently involve moves. My career development, on the other hand, came in fits and spurts between what he was up to. It seems like his career was taking “precedence” but, in all honesty, mine was more flexible than his. I could pick mine up and figure it out wherever we went, he only had so many job choices.

He has absolutely sacrificed too by staying places longer than he wanted, letting me take a lower salary/no salary to return to school, etc. We did make a goal to knock out as much schooling as we could before kids came and that was a great blessing. I don’t feel left behind now, but it took me longer to get here than if I were single or married to a banker who stayed in the same town all his life. But, I don’t think I’ll give him up 🙂

Signed, 

I feel your struggle

 

Dear Loving My Career,

When my husband and I married close to twenty years ago the career I currently have didn’t exist. Regardless, if I had to write a job description from scratch and make up a job for myself I don’t think I could think of anything more perfect for my skills, gifts, and interests than what I do on a daily basis. The best part is that I work from home and most days I even set my own schedule.  But you know what? It took a lot of starts and stops before I found this career path. Every time I started a new job I was positive I’d found “my perfect fit” for a career. I finally realized that I needed to stop trying to force things to fit for everyone else and remember that God knew where he was moving our family and he knew my gifts, strengths, and desires.

The reality is that there are plenty of families that wrestle with balancing family and career that aren’t involved with coaching. There are many decisions to make regarding budgets, what is best for your kids at each stage of life, and what is best for you and your husband mentally, physically, and emotionally. Running around juggling a career and family is exhausting even without coaching!

Marriage is a partnership. We thrive when we both have the opportunity to pursue our passions, use our gifts, talents, and strengths. That doesn’t mean we will always use them in the same way at the same time. I encourage you to take life one stage at a time and look for out-of-the-box opportunities.  It’s amazing how many people can job share or work remotely if they ask. Even professors, doctors, and counselors can work remotely these days. Don’t assume you can’t do something forever even if you have to set something aside for a little while it doesn’t mean you can’t keep your skills sharp for the future!

Cheering you on!

Beth Walker

 

Do you have a question?

Dear New Wife Who Touched My Heart

Dear New Wife Who Touched My Heart

Dear New Wife Who Touched My Heart,

As a coach’s wife in an interracial marriage who will celebrate my twentieth anniversary this summer, I wanted to let you know how much I’ve appreciated your boldness over the past few months. I’m not sure you realize how brave you are, but as someone who has spent a few decades hearing her marriage is something God frowns on simply because of the color of my skin, well, I think you’re courageous.

I’m not the only one. I happen to have the unique position of seeing the analytics for the Friday Night Wives website and social media, and your blog posts are some of the most viewed, even if they don’t seem to receive a lot of public interaction.

Crystal, you said the quiet parts out loud. But, then again, it seems that you’ve had quite the unwelcoming start to your young marriage. I’m sorry for that. I wish I could stay things will get easier; however, you are facing situations that haven’t changed in at least two decades.

Just like you, I can only share my experiences. I’ve been around the football world a little longer than you, so I thought it might be helpful to let you know that you are seen and heard. My heart broke as you shared with the world what I’ve known for two decades. Interracial couples are prevented from pursuing jobs in certain communities because the towns aren’t accepting of a couple’s love.

The issue for black coaches runs much deeper than who they choose to marry. The most difficult part is that much of this could change if coaches treated each other with the same respect they hope to receive from others.

Unequal Hiring Practices

As a head football coach at the college level, I’ve stood next to my husband and heard every rationale as to why white coaches were passed over for the positions my husband received.

  • The college needed to meet a diversity quota
  • The college thought minorities would stay longer with a black head coach
  • The college was looking to diversify the campus as part of a long-term plan
  • The white coach would have been hired if they applied but knew the college wanted to look at minorities, so they didn’t apply

Every statement assumed my husband received his job because of the color of his skin. They ignored his resume, experience, and football knowledge. Yet those same coaches have no problem acknowledging they received most of their coaching jobs because of who they knew and the people who hired them when they were promoted.

I’ve often wondered if these same men walk up to random white coaches and say things like, “Oh yeah, I was going to apply for that job, but I knew the school had a white hiring quota to meet.”

The intention may not be to imply that a black coach isn’t qualified for the job they have, but that is exactly what happens. It’s a bold assumption for someone to determine if they know a stranger’s resume or know they are a better interviewer and understand the school’s hiring needs!

And to be clear here, hiring quotas don’t actually exist. Only in the NFL are they required to interview minority coaches. Nowhere does it say anyone must employ anyone.

Pay Discrepancy

Every year USA Today releases the salaries for the head coaches for the NCAA Head Coaches. Here’s the list of NCAAF Coaches as of November 2020, and here’s the list of NCAA Basketball Coach Pay as of March 2021.

Of course, it’s challenging to have a conversation about fair pay when the head coaches’ percentage is so low. The Louisville Courier-Journal explains:

Of the 1,073 head coaches in NCAA sports at Power Five programs, only 79, or 7.4%, are Black.

Of the 65 Power Five schools, 15 do not employ a single Black head coach in any NCAA sport, though seven of those schools do have at least one other head coach of color.  

Safety When Traveling

For years we have had to remind our sons they don’t have to privilege of wearing their hoods up when they are walking outside regardless of how cold it is. We tell them they can’t touch items on store shelves they think are interesting or put their hands in their pockets when walking through a store.

Now, with a child preparing to drive, I find myself rehearsing an extensive list of warnings. “Remember, if you get pulled over, keep your hands visible at all times. Don’t open the car door, don’t make sudden movements, and always speak respectfully.” I try to speak in a calming tone because I don’t want to increase the already present fear.

But there’s another layer to the concern that I hold as a coach’s wife married to a black coach. Whether during the recruiting season or while in charge of a bus full of athletes, there have been times when I’ve found myself momentarily filled with anxiety. What if the wrong person is driving this week? What if Ordell pulls off at the wrong stop while recruiting? What if he booked a hotel in the wrong area?

These questions may seem silly however they started from a personal experience. An administrator of a previous college gave me a map before a road with a list of towns to avoid when traveling with my sons.

What Can We Do?

Crystal, I know that this post may affirm your experiences. But it could also leave you feeling hopeless if I don’t offer some suggestions on how to get through the difficult moments. Of course, nothing is foolproof, but I’ve found that the best thing I can do is listen. My husband has dealt with the challenges of life as a black man in America his entire life. As his partner, it’s my job to hear him and strive to see his side of a situation just like I want him to do for me.

Next, I spend a lot of time praying. God is the God of justice. In the book of Amos, God tells the Prophet that the Israelites are going to face divine intervention. God is bothered by the Israelites practice of religion without righteousness. By oppressing the poor and failing to practice justice, the Israelites were behaving unrighteously; justice was to be enacted as a core of God’s message in Amos’ prophetic teachings.

Amos Chapter 5 reveals this. A few of my favorite verses to pray are:

  • For the Lord says to the house of Israel: Seek me and live!
  • Those who turn justice into wormwood also throw righteousness to the ground.
  • 14-15. Pursue good and not evil so that you may live, and the Lord, the God of Armies, will be with you as you have claimed. Hate evil and love good; establish justice at the city gate.
  • But let justice flow like water, and righteousness, like an unfailing stream.

I stay connected to community that strives to value all coaches equally. I make sure my husband has the resources and community he needs. We can’t shoulder these things by ourselves. There are times when I send a voxer message to a girlfriend who understands my stress because she shares it. Find these friends and hold them close.

I’m grateful for your willingness to speak up. I hope you’ll keep sharing your story. Just know that as difficult as your walk is right now, these moments may lighten up and flare up again. There is a community of women who have been in your shoes. Our experiences vary, but our advice comes from the heart.

 

Check out these resources:

National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches

Minority Coaches Association

NCAA Leadership Collective

Minority Coaches Association of Georgia

Missouri Minority Coaches Association

 

How to Serve the Team without Upsetting the HCW

Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife, How Can I Serve the Team without Upsetting the HCW

Note to Readers: This post is part of an ongoing series “Dear Veteran Coaches’ Wives” and includes one question from a wife submitted anonymously. There are also several responses from veteran wives which offer encouragement, suggestions, and life examples. We can only write from our own personal experiences, but we’re committed to answering honestly and thoroughly to the best of our abilities.

 

Question From A Newbie Coach’s Wife

Dear Veteran Coaches’ Wives, 

How do you, as assistant coaches or a coordinators’ wife, fit into the mix when you want to be more involved with the team but don’t want to step on the head coach’s wife’s toes?

Signed, 

Just trying to avoid stepping on our HCW’s toes….

 

Answers from Veteran Wives

Dear Trying to Avoid Toes,

Sister, your heart for other service and respect will get you far in the world of school sports! First, do you have a relationship with the head coaches’ wife? If not, get that started first by inviting her to meet you for coffee or to take a walk. Then, ask directly—“I would love to do ____, but I’m concerned about stepping on your toes. If I did ____, would that cross a boundary?” A face-to-face conversation is a great way to make sure you are both certainly on the same page. 

Love Your Heart,

Becca Egger

Dear Trying to Avoid Toes, 

It is amazing that you want to serve right alongside your husband! I am right there with you! I’m going to assume other wives around you are not involved, and the HC’s wife is doing everything by herself. 

With that assumption, why don’t you ask her to lunch or coffee? At the girl’s date, express to her how you would like to get more involved. Ask her directly what specific activities she needs help with.  Make sure you tell her your heart’s desire to serve along with your coach. 

If she does not have anything specific to suggest, make sure she understands that you would love to help in any way if something comes up. I would also ask her permission for anything specific you want to do for the team, like goody bags or making signs for the locker room. One thing of note, if she asks for help, be there. 

In my experience, there is a reason why she is doing all things. Somewhere someone along the way has hurt her or let her down. She might be guarding her heart against that pain again. Trust is hard to earn when you don’t know someone, and you have experienced pain. Don’t take this personally, because girl, you are different! Once she sees that, hopefully, it will get better! 

Sincerely,

Stephanie Windon 

 

Dear Trying to Avoid Toes,

I love cooking for my man, and he loves it when I cook. At our school, our varsity coaches also serve as junior varsity coaches. Often on Monday nights, practice ends fifteen minutes before the JV kids and coaches have to get on a bus to go to a JV game. I make meatball sandwiches or something easy to grab and take with them as they get on the bus.  

The sandwiches are easier to warm up in the microwave, or they are delicious cold. I feel like I am contributing without competing with anyone else. As soon as another wife said, “Hey, can I take a Monday!?” I was eager to have help. I always snuck in quietly, left the sandwiches when I really wouldn’t be seen or made a fuss over because it wasn’t about me, right? It was about serving my guy and the guys with whom he serves. Maybe your quiet service starts a conversation about how y’all as a group can do other service projects.

 

Hang tough,

Lisa Witcher aka Mamawitch

Dear Trying to Avoid Toes,

I have been a head coach’s wife more than any other role. Here are my quick answers:

  1. Think about your desires, skills, giftings, etc., and how you would like to be involved. If you are on the team, that means you are part of the team, and you have something to give that may compliment the head coach’s wife’s gifts and talents, and desires or they may be different!
  2. Ask her how you can help. Some wives will have more of an answer for you than others. Maybe there are practical things and maybe she will just say sit next to me and be nice (that would be my answer 🙂 I can’t imagine turning down someone who wants to be helpful.
  3. Just straight say the fear, “I don’t want to step on your toes so…” and let her know what your desires are. I’d be kissing you and saying that despite my abnormally large feet (size 13, really) I am not easily offended and happy to support you in whatever you’d like to do.

From an HCW who Loves Help

 

Dear Trying to Avoid Toes,

We’ve made a few assumptions in our answers above so I’ll go a different way with my response. There are some situations where a head coach’s wife is insecure in her role or doesn’t believe in the ministry of coaching. 

It’s wise to avoid conflict on a coaching staff whenever you can, so I applaud you for that, however, I hope you won’t stifle your passions or gifts just to avoid a conflict. If you’ve attempted to help the head coach’s wife or had your offers met with resistance don’t give up.

I encourage you to create a specific list of ways you want to serve the team and have your husband ask the head coach if he has a problem with you and your husband together investing in your position group together. With the head coach’s blessing, you have the freedom to do whatever you want. 

Remember, coaching is your husband’s job, and conflict with wives can trickle into the staff. So make sure you keep serving the kids with the right heart the focus and protect the home team.

Don’t Stifle Your Calling!

Beth Walker

 

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