I have been a part of a coach’s family my entire life, first as a coach’s daughter and for the past 21 years, a coach’s wife. There are some things people outside this coaching world need to know about what it's like living the lifestyle inside the coaching world.
My fellow coaches’ wives, this is for your entertainment and to let you know you are not alone.
This is The Coaches' Wives Top 10:
Sports is our Livelihood, but it is not our Life.
Yes, sports is how make a living, but we do not eat, sleep, breathe, or want to talk about it 24-7. It is always funny to me that people find the oddest times to talk about last week’s game: bathroom, church pew, vacation. Nobody, not even a coach, wants to talk about the fourth quarter play call while in the urinal.
A coach’s family makes time sacrifices for team success.
My husband loves this game and works so freaking hard at being the best he can be so that the team can be the best they can be. Between practices, games, and watching film, many of their own kids’ games and activities are missed. People can see him for two hours on a Friday night and complain publicly and have no idea what coaches sacrifice privately.
My husband’s job depends solely on what 14-18-year-old kids decide to do.
The coaching staff must prepare 40 teenagers to play together as one unit despite what might be going on at home, in the classroom, or with the girlfriend. I have people tell me all the time how frustrated they are with their moody teenagers because they can’t get their one kid to clean their rooms, be respectful, or come home at curfew. Yet, we expect coaches, somehow, to get perfection out of these teenagers on the field on a Friday Night. It really should be called more of miracle working than coaching.
Coaching families don’t have a lot of close friends.
Coaches have so many walls put up when it comes to relationships because people can’t separate the personal life from the professional one. We tend to be guarded now because we have been burned before. People want to be friends until their child sits the bench, their child gets disciplined, or we aren’t winning anymore. Professional coaching can lead to personal loneliness.
Coaches are harder on themselves than other people could ever be.
Being around coaches my entire life, professionally and personally, I have never met one that wasn’t harder on themselves during a loss than anyone else. They stew over missed calls. They lose sleep over personnel changes. They are constantly questioning what they could have done differently. There is no email, phone call, or personal attack that makes a coach think, “Oh, I hadn’t thought about that, thanks for bringing that to my attention.” I know what it does make them think, but I can’t write that because we love Jesus.
Coach’s job is to focus on the team, not the individual.
As a parent of athletes myself, I completely understand the love for our children. And as parents our job is to watch, cheer, and encourage our child. But the quickest way to bring down a team is to focus on one individual, even if it’s your wonderful, needs-the-ball-every-time, be the first 300 lb. quarterback ever, child. People may not like every call the coaches make but know this: it's with the team, the whole team, in mind.
Coaches' wives are the best secret keepers ever.
Whatever conversation others may have with me in hopes I will share with my husband, will NEVER get to him! The coach’s spouse is often treated like a side door into the coach’s office. No, we don’t know what our husband is going to do about playing time. No, I don’t know our husband is going to handle your child missing practice. No, I don’t know why freshmen are playing more than the upperclassmen. And guess what? I am not going to ask him either. He’s not even going to know we had this conversation.
My husband can’t hear anything fans say from the stands, but his family can.
There is a reason my kids and I had to move our seats so we can’t hear what people say. After we started fostering our youngest child, he came to his first game with us (he was five years old). A man was yelling, “Man up, Roberts. When are you going to man up?” Our son turned to me so excited, “Miss Sarah, that guy is saying our last name.” He sure is buddy.
Coaching is a calling.
My husband makes $0.43 an hour for his coaching duties so we know he loves what he does because it’s not for the money. As followers of Christ, our jobs are not given to us by man but by God. As coaching families, we may think athletic directors, parents, or administrators hold our jobs in the palms of their hands, but the truth is God is control of our path because we have submitted our calling. There are tough losses, tough seasons, and tough jobs. We know when things go well, Praise God, and when things don’t, we will be okay because we have God.
Team is family and family is team.
We believe this with everything in us. This is why we call our family Team Roberts and why we believe the team is an extension of our family. So much so, when one of my husband’s players' parents passed away, we were in the will to get him, as his coach. We are His family! There are no two things that will put us on our knees in prayer more than football season and family. My husband is not just a coach, we are a coaching family; a sports-loving, Jesus-following coaching family!