As coach's wives, we often find ourselves in ridiculous situations and either have to figure out a solution (typically on our own) or survive and live to fight another day. In the moment, it's stressful and overwhelming. Sometimes, it seems unrelenting, and you don't know how you'll make it through another game, another season, another move, etc...
But over the years, I have learned that everything you are going through and all that you've been through in the sports industry will better you and your relationship with coach (if you let it.)
After learning about our impending first move, literally one week before getting married, the head coach's wife told me, "This will make you stronger." Moving and starting over was going to "bring us closer." While younger me didn't doubt her expertise or knowledge in this area, I didn't want to hear it. I didn't want to believe this hard thing could be a good thing. I just wanted to believe it was a negative side effect of marrying a coach.
What I didn't realize was that she wasn't just talking about the move itself. She might not have been able to predict the specifics, but she knew all that would come as we set off on our own without family nearby and eventually started a family of our own.
And I initially thought the hard times would only come from bad circumstances. But we've had difficulty come from too much success, as well as underperforming seasons. We've had uncertainty and instability come from being too good more than once, as well as coming after not being any good at all.
But after so many hard times, I had to ask myself if maybe there was supposed to be some good gained. I could either keep looking at this lifestyle as one never-ending hard times roller coaster, or I could believe that she was right. Maybe I would get stronger, and we would get closer.
All the times I had to turn strangers into friends, friends into family, and then turn around and say goodbye.
All the places we tried out that then became our favorite spots to places we will never go to again.
All the houses I turned into homes and then had to hand over the keys to someone new.
All the times I had to do it alone-whether it was church, bedtime, a family event, after-school or weekend activities, doctor appointments, traveling, etc.
All his hard work, dedication, and persistence on the field and in the office.
All of my sacrifices off the field and out of the spotlight.
I used to want to skip over all of that because the middle always proved to be too hard. I always thought that getting to head coach would be our "happily ever after," but getting from here to there was filled with a lot of learning, growing, resistance, endurance, and challenges.
And now, all of that is where I draw my strength from. The ups, as well as the downs, the hard times, as well as the good, the insane scenarios, as well as the beautifully perfect ones, have helped to create a mentality where I know I can do anything and that coach and I can weather any storm.
This is our fifth season as the head coach, and I can tell you one thing for sure: happily ever after does not come when you get to the top. We had more intense and difficult situations in season one as a head coach than we did in the 15 years prior as an assistant.
It was only because of all that we've been through in the past that we were strong enough and solid in our relationship to survive and live to fight another day and another season.
So, I will repeat the lesson that took me a decade to come to terms with: all you have been through in this lifestyle can be for your betterment. The pain is only purposeless if you let it be.