There are usually a few weeks to months after the season ends, where you don’t know if you should plan your future at your current school and town or if you need to start preparing your heart and home to leave. After almost two decades in this life, I can count on one hand the number of seasons where I didn’t have to stare down that uncertainty as our season wrapped up (and I’d still have plenty of fingers to spare.)
I dreaded it, avoided it, even pretended “this” season would be the one where we didn’t have to worry about whether or not we are going to move. It doesn’t matter how hard we try to think positive thoughts. These months are filled with worry, sadness, and impatience.
It’s almost as if your life is standing still while the rest of the world continues to move on around you. And the worst part of it is, you can’t really discuss it with the people who keep marching by. So it can be uncomfortable to talk about until you’re dealing with your new reality, whichever way that goes. And, of course, we never want to jinx coach’s chances by mentioning our season of limbo because most won’t understand it anyway.
The waiting can come out of nowhere; the head coach is fired or decides to leave, which puts so many others’ jobs up in the air.
Or maybe it’s a new Athletic Director that wants to take the program in a different direction.
It can also come expectedly, with a losing record or season after season of underperforming.
Or maybe coach finally has a shot at his dream job.
Here’s what I’ve found Helps in the Waiting
Talk to someone– preferably another coach’s wife who understands, but anyone with an empathetic ear will do. In the past, I wouldn’t talk to other wives on staff because our move could affect them. I didn’t want to worry them if it wasn’t a certainty. But now, I aim to be a wife that anyone can come to for help weighing the pros and cons of their future. I want to walk alongside others as the decision unfolds.
Don’t put your life on hold– Whether it was something as small as a play date or as large as a community event, I said no to anything and everything in those uncertain spaces. That only led to more isolation and heartache. So keep saying yes to things. Keep them mostly small and only schedule a few days out at a time. But these activities will give you something to distract yourself with and look forward to while the decisions take forever to be made.
Be open to what might come next– It’s easier said than done, but I used to hold tight to one specific scenario unfolding and couldn’t possibly ever imagine good coming from any other outcome. I thought I knew what would be best for me, best for coach, and best for our family. But the truth is that there is no possible way we could ever know the next best move, especially when it involves places we’ve never lived and new people we’ve not met yet. I’ve learned that if you’re truly open, the unforeseeable change may surprise you.
Life can appear more tolerable when you know your next destination. Of course, that doesn’t always make it easier or any less heartbreaking, but it seems to be more manageable.
But the times when you can’t see the new beginning on the horizon, and you feel stuck in this unbearable wait, don’t forget just to keep moving forward and remember you’re not alone.