Several years ago when our team lost early in the playoffs, one of friends at another school was still going deep. Really deep. Like sitting at 14-0 making a bid for the state championship kind of deep.
With our season over and uniforms packed away for another year, we headed down the interstate to join our friend’s wife for the game. I remember being surprised as we followed her through the packed stands all the way to the bottom, then to the middle, where we sat ourselves smack dab in line with the 50 yard marker.
We were surrounded by fans. Loud fans. Fans who, I suspected, were likely to have strong opinions about the game. She sits here? I thought to myself. I can’t believe it. She must be made of sterner stuff than I am.
I wish I could tell you the game went well. I wish I could tell you our friend was carried off the field on the shoulders of his players, surrounded by kind and supportive members of the community.
But it didn’t.
And he wasn’t.
And the very thing I avoid with diligence at my own husband’s games was what we lived through that night.
They turned on him. Their coach who had helped take them that far in an undefeated season became the enemy.
They said terrible things. They yelled at him. They questioned his competence and his loyalty. They did all the things we have all experienced when fans get upset during a loss.
But my friend? She was so cool! She took that game and those words about the man she loves and handled it like a champ. I was in awe of her composure and focus and floored that she didn’t seem to be affected much by the environment around her. When the game was over she collected her kids, kissed her husband, and graciously moved on. Wow.
And you know where she “should” have sat for that game? Right where she did. Right there in the middle of bedlam because that puts her close to her husband. And that’s what fits her. And that’s what works for their family. So she “should” sit right there.
I can’t watch scary movies because the images stay embedded in my mind. I don’t watch the news because it affects me too much. I can replay horrible things said about my husband from years ago with incredible mental clarity.
I’m not designed to sit on the 50.
You know where I “should” be? On the 30 yard line, of the visitor’s section, where I can choose to interact with people or not based on how safe it seems for my sanity. And where I have more room to watch my small children. That’s what fits me. That’s what works for my family. So I “should” watch the game from right there.
The trouble we get into is thinking that where we “should” sit has anything to do with anything other than you and your family.
All too often we “should” all over ourselves.
I “should” cook for the team. I “should” be at every game. I “should” (insert any sacrifice of self) because that’s what’s expected of a coach’s wife.
You know what you “should” do? Sit anywhere you golly darn well please.
Sit on the 50 yard line.
Sit in the visitor’s section.
Sit in the end zone.
Sit on the track.
Sit with the band.
Sit with the awkward middle schoolers—no one usually wants to sit by them anyway.
Sit in the gosh darn press box if they’ll let you.
And, for the love of all that is good and holy, feel free to sit your happy butt at home. On your couch. And watch the game. Or listen to it. Or don’t.
The only “should” that directs where your sweet little hiney is planted on a Friday night is to sit wherever you stay sane, where it works for your family, and where the capital “T” Team (you and your husband) determine is best.
We have enough “shoulds” in our lives as women, as mothers, and as coach’s wives. Let’s stop shoulding all over ourselves and take this one off our plates.
Happy game day ladies. And bloom wherever you plant yourself.