It Happened Again

It Happened Again


News alerts started sending out notices. The 24-hour news stations, as well as regular news programs, are sharing as much information as is available.

Choppers are circling a school, and ambulances are seen lined up around the school. Cut to stunned faces of teachers and students, some crying, others in shock.

As I watch, I pray for those there dealing with another act of violence at a school that has taken lives, broken families, and destroyed the bubble of normalcy that staff and students had when they walked in the door that morning.

My stomach clenches, my breathing shortens, and my heart races with every report. Teachers, students, administrators, and coaches are doing all they can to help victims, comfort others, and contain the situation as they deal with violence that has taken students and co-workers from them.

I cry…for the loss, for the hurt, and for the pain that they are and will deal with.

And yes, I cry because I know that if this scenario plays out at my husband’s school, he may be one of the ones who does not come home.

The first time we had this discussion was many years ago, 1999 to be precise. He had been teaching for quite a few years at this point, but Columbine rocked everyone.

I had never thought to talk about those kinds of events before. He told me about students in his classes asking what they would do at their school if a shooting started. They were all surprised to hear he had a plan in place long before active shooter drills were a part of the school curriculum.

He had always kept his classroom door locked, arranged his room in a specific way, and kept the door window covered, and now kids were understanding the WHY of those actions.

One remarked, “So you have thought about this before? You’ve made these plans before this happened?”
His response? “Yes, you are in my care, and I will do whatever it takes to keep you safe in a dangerous situation. I’m always looking for things that are not normal, behaviors that are red flags, noticing if I see someone who shouldn’t be here, is that student struggling and on edge…I’m watching so you can be safe.”
I had always known I had married not only a teacher/coach but a protector, but his sharing that with me let me know just how deep his love for what he does runs. And that night, in the shower, I cried because I knew without a doubt that if confronted with this type of situation, my husband might not come home.

If you are married to a coach, chances are you know that there is warrior/protector blood running through their veins.

You know that those students and athletes are not just kids he deals with and comes home. Those are “his kids,” and he worries over them. He prays over them, and he has hard conversations with them. He is there to teach, to lead, to protect.

There are some people who are the ones to run TO the accident, the fire, the trauma because they have the ability to help. I have never met a coach who wasn’t one to run TO the area needed. It is simply part of who they are.

I have had conversations about scenarios of events and the procedures for his school. I need to know what they will do in the event of major, catastrophic events. Knowing what he has planned and what school procedures are gives me a bit of peace because I know there is a plan in place.

But I also know that if it comes down to taking a bullet for one of his students, he will protect that student at all costs; it’s just who he is.

Our teachers and coaches deal with so much that goes unseen by others: students on the edge, parents who refuse to see issues with their child and want to blame everyone else. Add to that, a lack of respect for a job very few other people would sign up to do.

Pray over your coach, pray over the students, pray over the administration and first responders.

And hug your coach, a lot.


Jana has been married to her coach for almost 43 years and considers herself to be his biggest cheerleader. She loves all his sports, but most especially wrestling. She loves writing, sharing encouragement and her two adorable grandkids.
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