Journal, Marriage

Hey Friend, Let Him Fish

At the end of every basketball season, my husband comes home and makes the same announcement we hear every year:

“The season’s over. It’s time to go fishing.”

He puts his clipboard and whistle down on the kitchen counter. He texts his fishing buddies. Plans are made. Dates are put on the calendar.

Wait. You may be thinking if the season is over, he should be at home. Projects and honey-do lists are at the ready.

Yeah, you’re right. The garage needs organizing (and sweeping). The screen on the girls’ bedroom window needs to be replaced. There are light fixtures to hang. Rooms need to be painted.

Wait. You may be thinking that reads like a list put together by a wife who has lived through two more sports seasons and has come up with a crop of ideas of things to get done around the house during those few precious weeks between season end and spring football.

Yeah, you’re right. On late-practice evenings when my girls are in bed and all the household chores are finished, I look around the house and come up with to-do lists. Game nights and film days are also time for me to wander online or at Home Goods to find nifty décor to go in my one-day-soon painted hallway.

It’s a balance around here. I’m not talking about work and life balance. I’m talking realistic expectations of projects getting done over fishing.

I must remember my husband does not have a vacation or days off from end of July until end of February. And, May is spring ball, June is strength and conditioning camps and July is coaches’ school. OK, he gets a few weeks off in March, including spring break – unless there is a track meet to work.

This end-of-season thinking is plain out wishful. There is a moment where there are no practices, no training, no games, no film. Maybe a day or two. Those days are sweet. We eat dinner as a family. We play a couple of board games. We find a television show to watch together.

Then, a sport picks up or there is a game to go watch.

It feels as if basketball season just ended and spring ball begins next week. What happened to March and April? Track meets.

My husband is a basketball coach. He also coaches football, but his ability to have five players up and down a court, running a zone defense (rarely man) and call time outs right when they are needed is his gift. There have been years where he starts a season with players who do not now how to shoot a left-handed lay-up. Even if the season ends with more Ls than Ws, he celebrates the improvements of his players each year.

Except he’s had a few tough seasons of late. He’s such a good coach. All around our district and our city, people know he is a good basketball coach. Even the best of coaches have a hard time day-in and day-out.

But this year when he said he wanted to go fishing, he added that he may want to coach track instead of basketball. He said he wanted a break between seasons. He wanted to be able to go on a Christmas vacation.

Wait. You may be thinking that makes no sense for a stand-out basketball coach to want to switch to a different sport he hasn’t traditionally enjoyed.

Now, he’s been fishing quite a few weekends since basketball ended. We have the fish in the freezer to prove his success.

He’s not finished many of my projects around the house. I have the list with unchecked boxes to prove we’ve still a screen window to put up and some rooms to paint.

And, while he fished, he reflected on his skills. He knows when to go to a box and one and when to consider pressing. He knows when to go opposite (most every time when you are bringing the ball up the court) and when to run the baseline after the opponent makes a basket.

The projects may never get finished and we may never go on a winter ski trip, but we’ll at least have spring weekends for fish fries.