Program Pictures

Program Pictures

New shirts, pants, shoes, and hats arrived this month. Not for my children’s back-to-school wardrobe but for my husband’s upcoming season. That’s our sign. It’s our signal to remember we need to pull together program pictures.

The deadline looms. Pictures must be submitted at least a week prior to the first home game, which is mid-August.

This occurs every year, and each year I’m caught off guard. I know we need to wear school colors – red and gray. I mean, how hard is it to find a red or gray shirt?

At the beginning of this summer, I announced I would be ready for program pictures. The proclamation included statements such as scheduling in advance of any back-to-school activities and having outfits planned and purchased. To check in on that checklist, we don’t have the pictures scheduled, and the outfits have not completely come together.

We decided to go with a denim cut-off short theme this year – and by we, I mean me. While my husband will wear the official coach shirt and pants, my girls will wear t-shirts with the denim shorts. They have both the shorts and the shirts. We lucked out and found those early on during a summer thrifting session.

I do not have an outfit. Last year, I put on red-lined wool pants because I had nothing. I wore a white t-shirt. I sweated through the entire outfit because of Texas in August.

Any other red or gray that exists in my closet, I’ve worn before. This will be our 16th season at this school. And, while no one cares that I re-wear an outfit, I want something new.

Pair this need with my resolution of not buying new clothes this year, and we’ve got ourselves a conundrum. I added some items to My Likes in Poshmark and entered some search words in the Facebook marketplace. Then, no action. I saw a friend wearing the perfect red shorts, asked where she bought them, and then did nothing.

When my son played for my husband, we took pictures the same day as the players did. It made it easy. It was scheduled. My son was in uniform. My husband was dressed as a coach. And I showed up with the girls. The girls were little then, so I knew to order the monogrammed dresses and appliqued shirts ahead of time. We were up in the morning anyway, so it wasn’t difficult to get to the school early.

Now, our summer days are filled with activities as my girls and husband ready for school. My days are spent driving them to and from and working for my actual job. Somehow, I manage to pop in the annual recurring, repeatable events in the shared Google calendars, such as doctor appointments and dentist visits. I just can’t get the program picture slotted in when I need to do it.

I think I wait so I can hold on to summer. I think I put off the scheduling since that marks no more lazy Saturday mornings and weekday pool evenings. Once the picture is taken, we’ve memorialized where we are in life, but I don’t think it truly shows who we are and where we are in life.

I want people who see that picture to know we are a family committed to each other and to the families of those athletes. I want people to understand we are a family with busy schedules requiring us to be in many different places at once. I hope people get that we want summer to last and not have early strength and conditioning camps each day during those off months.

The picture we chose always shows us smiling and put together. Our photographer is also the assistant athletic director and head tennis coach at my husband’s school. We drive over to her house – a few minutes away – she poses us, snaps some shots, sends over proofs, and then I select which picture to submit. It’s easy.

A football program picture is not the most difficult task we have to complete or the most complex project we face each summer. But it is one that is an outward display of who we are to the school. Looking back at the pictures, I think of what each of those sessions was like and the summers we just had. Some summers were full of AAU basketball tournaments when my son was younger. Some were packed with trips to the beach. Others were sleepier.

Each picture shows our story. A coach’s family readying for another season, gearing up for late evenings and, hopefully, wearing the school colors as we cheer on the team.


Jill Petri lives in San Antonio and is the wife of a high school coach and the mom of three children. Her 26-year-old son, Chris, is a Texas Tech graduate. Her twin 14-year-old daughters are rising freshmen. Jill works full time at a Texas-based financial institution. With a Journalism degree from Baylor University, Jill started her career as a reporter and remains a writer. You can read more from Jill at
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