It's nearly football season once again. It's almost time for the Herculean task of running a household almost exclusively alone. To paraphrase Charles Dickens -- it will be the best of times and it will be the worst of times.
I will love it almost every day. And I will loathe it almost every day. I will sing its praises from the rooftops, and I will curse it under my breath. It will rob me of time, and it will shower me with blessings.
Football is a paradox of ginormous proportions.
This past Sunday morning I sat on my back porch, the silken and slippery humid air settling and sliding off my limbs, making everything feel slow and sweet simply because it was Sunday morning. You know, all easy like...
So I breathed in the easy. I breathed in the sweet, succulent calm, and I held it deep down in the core of my soul. Where it will remain. My future calm in the storm of the impending football season.
The poet Wordsworth was fueled by powerful emotions recollected in tranquility. Me, I’m fueled by the opposite: tranquility recollected in powerful emotions.
Because starting in less than a few short weeks (and then for the next five months), my life will be FILLED with powerful emotions. Wave after wave of powerful emotions. No doubt about it.
Starting with love. I’ve always had a hard, strong love for the game. It began in middle school, when I fell hard for the Dallas Cowboys of my youth and the TCU Horned Frogs of my hometown. This was no puppy love. It was true and it was deep and it was eternal.
And with that love comes butterflies – a tickling, nervous anticipation every, single game night. When I see those stadium lights -- haloed in the gloaming, sparkling with the wings of a thousand frenzied moths, saluted by the cheers of a thousand frenzied fans -- my belly goes downright giddy.
But along with all the love comes intense resentment -- resentment of the time it steals from our family, and the demands it puts on the man we love most, and the demands it puts on the rest of us left alone back home.
As the season looms closer, our coach will come home later and later. There will be two-a-days and padded camps. There will be community outreach and fundraising. There will be coaches' retreats and field readiness.
And one night soon -- so incredibly soon -- our coach will come home with calves flecked in paint from lining the field, and the season will be upon us.
He will come in past the boys’ bedtime for the first (and hardly the last) time. And they will have missed him. And they will have said so. Several times. And we will miss him almost every night for the rest of the season. And if we are lucky, if we are truly blessed, we will miss him every night well into the post season.
And it will be the best of times and it will be the worst of times.
Yes, sometimes football will make me sad. And sometimes football will make me mad. But most of the times, football will make me glad -- so very glad that I live this football life and so very glad that I am a football wife.
Because football does for me, what it does for every member on the team -- the players, the coaches, the managers, the trainers, the wives (make no doubt about it, wives are a part of this team) -- football teaches me life skills.
Football has taught me to work harder than I ever thought possible-- and then how to work harder still.
Football has taught me to be accountable -- to others and to myself.
Football has taught me to set lofty goals -- and how to meet them.
Football has taught me when to push forward -- and when to lean on others.
Football has taught me to appreciate the victories -- and how to learn from the defeats.
Football has taught me to be an active and vital member of a team.
Football has taught me how to be a good sport and how to be an even better person.
Yes, I am so very glad that I am a football wife.
So when my husband comes home late one night very, very soon (all paint-flecked and sweat-stained and flat-out worn-out), and he kisses me (all train-wrecked and sweat-stained and flat-out worn-out), I will channel my sweet, succulent, Sunday Morning Calm from this past weekend.
And I will remember. I will remember that this is my love -- this man and this sport and this life. This is my destiny -- a destiny written long ago, in the helmeted stars of America’s team.
Yep, football season is the best of times and it is the worst of times. It makes me crazy. And happy. And angry. And ecstatic. And jealous. And jubilant. And frantic. And warm and fuzzy. And… well, you name it, I feel it. All the feels. All the great, big, powerful feels. Except for sorry.
Football never makes me feel sorry.