To anyone outside of the sports industry, I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself “What is a coach’s wife?” “Why does she identify and define herself by her husband’s job?” Well, if you haven’t had the pleasure of getting to know a coach's wife, it might be hard to get it. It’s not just cute game day tees, making goodies bags, and cheering in the stands.
It’s “Hey babe, I forgot my lucky khakis. Can you drop them off at the field house?” only to not know which one of the 50 pairs he’s referring to.
It’s pacing back and forth in the stands, muttering under your breath and/or bursting into screams, all while managing to keep the kids entertained and well behaved (and wearing your lucky game day tee.)
It’s a hug and a kiss after an exhilarating win or a longer, tighter hug after a heartbreaking loss and lending a supportive ear to go over the rights and the wrongs either way.
It’s having a large extended family that will be there for you in an instant when you need it, without question or hesitation. And vise versa.
It’s “I’m sorry, I know I said that we could go to that, but something’s come up. I have to go into work.”It’s biting your tongue and turning the other cheek when someone in the stands says “What was that? Why would he call that play? Does he even know what he’s doing?!”
It’s getting asked a lot “What does he do in the off-season?” “Coaching is a full time job?” And “What do you mean he can’t take the day off to come to my <insert event here>?!”
It’s “Hey babe. So, there’s this unbelievable opportunity that came up. What would you think about moving (again)?”
It’s a heartbreaking debate as to whether you go support your husband at his game or stand in his absence at your child’s event.
It’s having a heart big enough so there’s room for so many players, their parents, schools and towns, but strong enough to not break when it’s time to leave them.
It’s a faith strong enough to go through weeks or months of every year staring down the uncertainty of what the future holds and knowing whatever happens will be for your good.
It’s not knowing how you’ll make it through another game, another season, or another move, but digging deep to find the will and the way.
It’s more than just a game or just a sport. It’s more than winning or losing. It’s more than just supporting and consoling.
It’s handling all the personal logistics, so coach can focus on the program ones. It’s packing and selling the old house, and saying goodbye to the friends and memories made. It’s unloading and settling into the new house, and getting out into the next community to plant seeds.
It’s fading into the background of someone else’s dreams and not getting overcome by the darkness, but instead finding your glow in the silver lining. It’s not playing an active role in the decisions that affect your life but being flexible and open to what may come. It’s going where you’re called, but not necessarily where you want.
It’s hard times and beautiful ones. It’s stressful times and uplifting ones. It’s uncertain times and adventurous ones. It’s the times that are part of the game plan and the last-minute Hail Mary ones.
We don’t start out as coach’s wives. The road to becoming one is bumpy and complicated. It’s not that a coach’s wife is defined by her husband’s job, but that she is refined by it.