I’ve Never Been Where I Wanted to Be—But Always Where I Needed to Be
I’ve never actually wanted to go where the job was taking us.
If I had my way, I’d still be in my comfort bubble that is the 270 outer belt surrounding the amazing city of Columbus in the great state of Ohio.
But while attending the Ohio State University, I met a boy who would become a man filled with purpose and fueled by passion. So, I agreed to “go wherever he goes and to make his people my people.”
In the beginning, I would cling so tightly to the illusion that I could control the world around me. Knowing that we had to go wherever the opportunity was, (in my mind) I had only said “never” to two places.
From very early on (well before there was even any rumors of openings), I thought to myself “as long as it’s not at X University or in Y location, I will manage to make it work.”
But coach always says “You can control two things—your effort and your reactions.”
So, slowly over the years, I began to let go of the reins. I had seen far better things unfold too many times when I didn’t get my way.
I learned just how important faith is in this lifestyle. Even though we cannot control where or when there will be an opening, what an athletic director wants in a candidate, or any of the other hundreds of things that are factored into a coach getting or keeping a job, the One planning the path has your best interest in mind. God sees the bigger picture and has greater things in store.
Knowing this helped me to trust that when things didn’t go our way, something better was coming. Whether it was a high stakes loss, a rejection after an interview, or hearing about a potential opening, I had faith that the doors that didn’t open (or that were slammed in our faces) were never ours.
That has kept me from getting stuck in a “what if” downward spiral.
And would you believe that 2 out of his 3 interviews for head coach were at those two ‘nevers’?
One school was where coach had his first-ever interview to be head coach. They even asked me to participate in the interview. The other one (it was more a general area and not a specific school) was where he ended up becoming a head coach.
And even after a whirlwind year of a cancelled season and a global pandemic, we found our footing and an amazing community. It is nothing like I envisioned it would be (in a good way).
My coach’s wife story is one of consistently never being where I wanted or thought I should be, but always being where I needed to be. After 16 years in the coaching life, I can 100% guarantee that the “what ifs” aren’t worth anything.
They will never be as great as you imagine them to be. And all they do is rob you of the joy of the present. They steal your chance of planting seeds at the school and in the town where you are.
The one thing I wish for all my nomadic friends (whether it’s from athletics, military, ministry, or something else) is to approach your situation with an open heart and an open mind.
You actually might not know what is best for you and your family.
Jess Gilardi is a lacrosse coach’s wife who recently moved to Long Island when her husband became a head coach. She has three kids, ages 7, 6, and 3. She was a mental health therapist in the school system before becoming the full time chaos coordinator for the family (a.k.a. stay at home mom). She does manage to fit in a little work here and there. Outside of lacrosse and family, she loves Jesus, the Tracy Anderson Method, and empowering others. You can follow her crazy adventures on social media, Instagram @jessgilardi and Facebook as Jessica Gilardi.