The craziness of football season weighs heavy on a coach and his family. As each day passes and more practices, games, and meetings are held, the time that a coach can dedicate to rest dwindles down to an amount that you would be shocked he could survive on.
Our family schedule is filled with school events on top of family events, church events, appointments, child activities, and more. The extra room in our calendar does not exist. Always being needed somewhere and on-the-go really takes a toll on the coach, his family, and everyone’s overall sanity.
Chaos changes us. For months out of the year, we are weighed down by commitments. We fluster and reach out just to stay afloat and survive the fall.
As the first two-a-day whistle blows, his demeanor switches. I can picture the eight different hamster wheels constantly running in his mind. Thoughts about practice, game plans, committee meetings, teaching, grad school, family commitments, and all of his other responsibilities never cease to swim through his mind and stir up anxiety and stress.
Yes, he gets to escape the office and come home
each most evenings, but the focus of his mind wanders continually. He tries so hard to get a break from himself and his own mind, but just can’t seem to stop the many trains of thought overwhelming him daily.
As a wife, I want to create an exit route for him. I long to give him the rest that he needs, but the schedule often leaves me powerless. I feel as though I am useless, but he needs me so badly.
Unfortunately, there is not much that I can change. I cannot change his work schedule and the demands of coaching and teaching. I am unable to step in when it comes to grad school and complete his assignments. I try to minimize our commitments as much as the calendar will allow, but I find that even the required tasks command our time.
All I can do is be a sounding board and a safe place for him. I have to sit on my hands, listening to his pain and giving advice, hoping that it will slow down soon.
During football season, a weekend break is unheard of. For a coach to miss a game or a day of planning and film is nearly impossible. I’m sure that most coaches can count on one hand the times they have been absent during season.
This year, we slid in a weekend of escape—although the timing was difficult, we were so glad to attend/be in a wedding that took place smack in the middle of season. It forced us to slow down. It ushered in rest, relaxation, and calm.
For a few days, I got my husband back in the midst of season. As the miles between our car and the field grew, the weights came off one by one. As his shoulders relaxed, he took a breath. As his smile returned, his stress level fell. I could visually see the burden of our chaos change his stature and demeanor.
For the weekend, we didn’t have obligations other than being with friends and family to celebrate. He was able to stop the hamster wheels as he swung a golf club for the first time in months. I was able to sit with warm coffee and chat about life rather than rush off with my travel mug in hand.
A break was good for the soul. The anticipation of the weekend and knowing that he would be missed in the office was tough. Getting all of his film and practice plans in order added additional stress. However, a weekend away gave us both a break from thinking about the constant to-do list that follows us around.
I know that a weekend away and a break from the routine is somewhat like a pig spreading its wings and soaring through the clouds. To have a few days of no sports and no responsibilities seems impossible. I encourage you to carve out the weekend or even a day to shut your family down and just “be.” Force the wheel of chaotic schedules and unending stress to halt. Whether you vacation away from town or have a small stay-cation, find a moment to let the world around you continue without your family needing to be involved.
You will never regret the quality time you have, nor letting the load drop for a small moment.
As the car pulled back into town, his face changed. His brow furrowed and shoulders tightened as the stress level rose right back up. We will make it. We will survive. The calendar will eventually be clear. District, here we come ... but December, I am longing for you and for my post-season husband to accompany your arrival.