Football Stole from Me

Football Stole from Me

I am not a hoarder. In fact, I love the purging process. I guess in that regard God wired me to thrive in this crazy life. But there’s one thing I’m not ready to give up…my moving boxes. Babies have security blankets; I guess I have security boxes.

I never even considered that I’d live a life where each year when I pack up the Christmas decorations or the Easter baskets that I’d place them in the box and silently wonder if they’ll come out in the same house next year—and to have that decision potentially not be made by me or my husband. Talk about unsettling!
But let me back up. I didn’t sign up to be a coach’s wife. My husband wasn’t a coach when we met, and it wasn’t on our radar when we got married over 10 years ago. But something happened in my husband’s heart in a go-nowhere office job—God laid a calling on his heart to be a mentor to young men through sports and teaching.

Fast forward through an alternative certification program and a cross-state move to follow God’s plan for us, and we found ourselves in a lovely, not-even-one-streetlight small town. And we loved it. Our children were thriving. We had an amazing church with such an awesome ministry and support system. And we’d established deep friendships.

The only thing that tiny town didn’t have going for it was the distance from our families. But even with that, we’d started having the discussions about laying down real roots there. We thought we found “home.” But football stole that from me.

Every coach’s wife has heard or experienced firsthand the tale. A school board member doesn’t like a few things about the program and basically escorts your coach out the door. The timing of everything occurring around 2020 created the perfect combination for the worst case of isolation we’ve ever gone through. 

You see, football stole my peace…for a season. The experience we had in that tiny town where the rug was pulled out unexpectedly unsettled my soul in a way I didn’t know I could recover from.

Who wants to continue in a job where your success is measured by the performance (or lack thereof) of teenage boys?

Where everyone has a very public opinion of your husband’s job?

Where I won’t even calculate what he makes per hour because I know I’d laugh (or maybe cry!)?

Who chooses a job where your livelihood depends on a school board vote? 

But despite the bitterness that grew in my heart during that time, God gently reminded me that what my husband does matters. And it’s worth continuing.
It took two moves in two years to get back to a place I feel like we can call “home.” But today I'm grateful to say that bitterness has once again been replaced with an eternal perspective. One where the late nights, the victories and losses, and even the school board votes are worth it to impact the lives of young men and thus generations to come. 

You see, football stole something from me. But it has given me so much in return—Friday night fun, friendships, a sense of resilience, and most importantly, a heart more aligned with the heart of God.

I said before that I love purging.

Purging that bitter season was one of the best things for me.

As for my moving boxes, I don’t know if I’ll ever give those up. I’ll probably always wonder when I pack up each holiday’s decorations if they get to be placed in the same location next year. But I do know God is with us, and we’ll follow His path for our lives. My prayer is that we’ve found “home.” And that someday I’ll feel secure enough to purge the boxes.

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