Lessons Learned after Taking an Off-Season

Lessons Learned after Taking an Off-Season

My coach has been coaching for a decade, and while I'm pretty biased, I think he's one of the best coaches in the world. And every bit of that is because I'm married to him and get to see his heart in and out in the car ride discussions, the post-game chatter, and the early morning pillow talk.

This is my first official season as a coach's wife. Coach and I are going into our 4th year together and 2nd married. I've been the coach's girlfriend, the coach's fiance, and now, officially, a coach's wife for the first time.

We are so excited for this upcoming season, and it's taken a lot of prayers, a lot of discussions, and did I mention prayer to get back to this season. Last season, my coach made the decision to take an off-season following a pretty bad shake-up. It was rough– and there were moments when I wasn't sure if I would ever see coach take the field again.

He's been burned a few times and has spent a decade waiting on his opportunity to lead his own team, and feeling this following a pretty emotional and hard turnover is devastating.

If you are in the middle of a shake-up or in a season where your coach feels like he needs to walk away from everything he knows and loves, my deepest prayers are with you. It isn't easy to watch the person you love most struggle with their purpose in life.

As I write this, I can't help but be reminded of the scripture I have painted on the back of my bible from Esther, which basically says,

"Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created." Esther 4:14.

I am reminded of this passage because when you go through a season of hardship, and it feels like you're walking through a storm, it's easy to forget that God's hand will bring us through it. And that He knew the trials we would walk through.

The first thing we learned is, instead of questioning God, to change the narrative and remind ourselves that perhaps this is the moment we have been created for-o love your coach in this moment, this hardship, this season (and every season still to come.) 

When we stepped away last year, I thought that meant that I would suddenly have my Fridays back– to spend time with friends, to make weekend trips, to enjoy all of the family fun fall things that are harder to juggle around game nights and coaches meeting. I did not expect to end up spending most of my Friday nights at other football games for teams of coach's friends, former players, younger siblings, and any other game that looked interesting or promised good football on a Friday night.

But I married this life, and I knew what it meant. I thought stepping away meant just that– I didn't realize that stepping away from coaching meant coach would inevitably do whatever he could to stay connected to his favorite world.

Coach needs your love and support just as much away from the field as he does on the field. You see, what we both learned through this is how much football is truly coach's calling in life. To serve for the glory of the kingdom in this way, being around boys and teaching them how to grow in football, faith, and family. Being a part of a family that is as passionate and full of love for their mission field is a gift from God.

Sometimes, following is hard- when all you want to do is give up. But with God, even the most difficult things can be done. Pride is a hard lesson to learn, and it's even harder to swallow pride and walk in humility and grace back toward what you walked away from.

We walked away together from something that meant so much, and that was my husband's calling. It felt easy to walk away after everything. It was a lot harder walking back with a spirit of humility and grace for ourselves.

For the season that we were in, we needed time and space. Or so we thought. We should have never walked away. We should have held to our mission field. We should have shown grace to everything around it.

It was hard to come back. We worried that the other coaches and faculty would think less of us because, out of anger and pain, we said never again. But, just like God's grace, when we came back, we were greeted with open arms.

Despite the depths of our pain, God was always with us through the storm. And just like the promise of salvation and the story of the prodigal son, we returned with a humbler spirit, a hunger for the game, and a reminder that God is always waiting with open arms, happy for our return.

God's mercies are all around us. A shake-up season filled with so much pain and uncertainty is hard, but just like Esther was created to stand up for her people in a "similar" shake-up, and just like the prodigal son returns after walking away with pride, God had a plan for our family.

God brought us back. He extended the scepter, the ring, and brought us back into His mercies. 


Alexandra Kay is an football wife, mom of 2 boys in South Carolina. She and coach teach at the same high school where she teaches English.  
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