For the better part of the first decade in this lifestyle, I hated it. Literally, everything about it.
I saw coaching as the villain in my life’s story.
You would find me in the stands on game days wearing the team colors, cheering on the team and protesting unfair calls.
But inside, I was zoned out, telling myself that I just had to get through this next half, this next game, this next season.
Coach even had a running joke (although I didn’t find it funny), that I was that cat from the motivational poster that says, “Hang in there!”
I was sick of moving (or the potential of it). I was tired of starting over. I was drained from the constant uncertainty. I was crushed by the extra load I was expected to carry to make up for coach's absence.
It wasn’t only just from the losses, like most people think. Even successful seasons proved to be just as, if not more, exhausting as the losing ones. And unpredictability usually resulted either way.
I tried to make coach quit (a few times). I demanded that he choose between the job and me on many occasions, typically after a move or adding a child to our family. The only reason I would eventually take it back was that I knew he’d choose me and end up regretting it the rest of his life.
After two moves and two kids under two, I finally decided that something needed to change. And if it wasn’t going to be his job, and if it wasn’t going to be our marriage, then that left only one thing—me.
These are the things that helped provide that change.
I started soaking up any and every piece of advice from trusted sources. From reading, listening, and praying, I realized no one is truly in control of their life.
It’s just more noticeable for coaches' wives.
While that can seem dark and discouraging, it’s just the opposite. Knowing that the One who has the power to heal the sick, move any mountain, and raise the dead is in the driver's seat takes a lot of the stress and worry out of the equation.
We all have plans for our life, but so does God. And His way is far better than any idea you could envision. They are plans for good and prosperity, for true happiness and purpose.
For coaches' wives, I truly believe that this lifestyle is just the vehicle He uses to take us on His journey.
Our church sermons seemed like they were written specifically for me, giving me advice like, “In everything you do, do it to please Jesus,” or, “Why would God trust you with the big things you want when you’re mishandling some of the little things He has already given you?” It helped me get out of my head and my funk.
The pastor kept repeating ideas like, “He is using these circumstances and taking you to these places to make you the you He created you to be, not the you that you think is best.” And more than just wondering and waiting for what He’s trying to do in and for me, I’ve come to realize He is also using me to help those I cross paths with along my way.
It could be my kids, my new neighbors, players or parents at the new school, or even the community at large that might benefit from following God’s path, not just me.
And I know to say to a coach’s wife, “It’s not all about you,” is laughable because this lifestyle makes us literally the last person to get our needs met. Still ... it might not be about you but what you can do for others.
Connecting with other coaches' wives and this community at large made me feel a lot less alone.There are women all over the country, from different sports, levels, titles, etc, but all who are willing to lend a supportive ear. They can say, “I know it stinks. This is what helped me.” Or, “This is what I wish I'd known when I was dealing with that exact scenario...”
No one else can put themselves in your shoes like another wife. The wives that have lasted the longest will tell you that the score of the game or your family’s livelihood doesn’t solely rest on your ability to be the picture perfect coach’s wife.
There are a need and precedent for rest (remember, on the seventh day even God rested?).
There will be games, seasons, and even stages of life where you need to give yourself grace and sit it out. That doesn’t mean you’ve failed as a coach’s wife, but rather you’ve reached expert status.
This doesn’t make things much easier or any less stressful. But knowing that whatever happens, God can use it for a greater purpose and wherever you go, you are never truly alone, makes just enough of a difference to get through the next half, the next game, the next season.