“Like wildflowers, you must allow yourself to grow in all of the places people thought you never would” - E.V. Rogina
One of the great constants of the coaching life is change, and with that, moving. Sometimes, like in my first case, it is not across the country but just across the county, with no boxes to pack. There are, however, still two sets of boys to love and support. Then, a year later, your next move is merging those two sets of boys into one, and your heart is only on a single field every Friday again.
But, you do not feel welcome to be an active part of the team. For the first time, I was watching from the outside, and it felt like I could not get a ticket to my own life. Thankfully, the situation around it has changed this year, but that is not why I no longer have a sense of dread being carried around every time I walk into the stadium.
My priorities have changed just a little bit, and desperately wanting to belong somewhere I don’t was not something I would waste time forcing anymore. Last year, instead of dwelling, I threw myself into a bigger role in my husband’s sport by actually coaching.
With only one of the merging schools having wrestling before, there was plenty that needed to be done, especially with him so busy with football. We only had five athletes the season before, and we grew the team to 18, with 16 first years. I kept score, worked with our manager on running everything film and equipment-wise, all of TrackWrestling, and hosted a new tournament.
In the moment, I was too busy to see what was happening. But as an incredible season with a District Champ, Regional Runner-Up, and qualifying three first-time wrestlers for the boys and girls State Tournaments wound down, I finally got to take a look around.
I started in a miserable place where flowers should not thrive, but I made it an environment of growth. And this super awesome thing happened. Other people were intentionally planting themselves in my little corner of the garden.
Together, we supported each other to be the brightest blooming area around. Our assistant coach is single, so I don’t have another Friday Night (Wednesday Night, Saturday Morning) Wife in this journey with me, but I do have the best parent and fan community that pour into me as much as their kids. They show up and help me in ways I did not even know I needed.
I was lost, at first, in my corner, all alone. When I realized that I was not put in that corner to be punished, it changed everything.
I became more appreciative of what I did have, which made me work harder for what I wanted and what my athletes deserved. So, while I am not your typical football coach’s wife with team snacks and crashing practice, I do not miss a game. It is bigger than me and my feelings on the matter. Those kids do not care about the behind-the-scenes, just that I am there. They are my students first, before my husband’s athletes.
But I thank God every day for reminding me that I can move on and thrive in another identity, even when my old one is still a part of me. Everything happens for a reason, and whatever the reason that put me here, I am grateful for the chance to bloom where I was planted.