Journal

Murphy’s Law for Football Wives: If It Can Go Wrong, It Will Go Wrong at an Away Game

It would be impossible to describe all the ways my Coach shows up for me.  

Really, he’s my hero.  He is there when I need him most.  

If my car breaks down, he comes. 

If it’s raining, he’ll drop everything to get me inside. 

If I forget my lunch, he’s there for me.  

And on those days when I’m just feeling down, he is my rock. 

I feel like the Princess Bride. I’m Buttercup and he’s my Westley. “Hear this now: I will always come for you.”

Except when he doesn’t. Because it’s a Friday night.  

And sometimes, complicated things happen on a Friday night. And when they do, Coach’s phone is off. He’s not coming.   

Do. Not. Disturb. Go call your mom. 

And if things are going to go wrong—you better believe it will be while you head out of town for a game. Because if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong at an away football game.  

Maybe you’re not the “go-to-away-games“ kind of coach’s wife. Lots of wives just don’t do it. I admire you—you cook for the team, kiss the Coach and wave as the bus pulls away.  

But that’s not me. I’m more of the “go-to-football-games-even-when-it-kills-me“ type.  

I think it happened by accident. Coach’s first season at the helm was rough.  They just weren’t winning any games. So I traveled to every one because I didn’t want to miss his first win.   

After the first season, I was in. I had to go to every game. Twelve years later (with five kids in tow), we’ve visited half a million fields (or something like that). And I can tell you this universal truth: if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong at an away football game.  

So let’s play a little game of “Me Too!” I’ll share a couple of my stories and you drop yours in the comments!  

Rain, rain! Go away!  

We’ve all spent rainy Friday nights under the lights. But on this night, I was driving through the rain. This wasn’t a typical rainstorm. There must have been a hurricane in the gulf because I couldn’t see anything while driving.  

Just as I pulled into the parking lot, my windshield wipers stopped working.  They collided with each other and now they just wouldn’t budge. They formed an X across my windshield—like the buzzer on a game show that tells me to get off the stage and go home. 

Only, I didn’t go home. I unloaded all of my kids with only two umbrellas. I sat there drenched, wishing for one bolt of lightning to end the game.  Instead, there is constant rain. 

Who determined that football should be played during hurricane season?  When the game finally ended, I loaded my wet and cranky kids back into the van. That’s when I see the X. My broken windshield wipers are mocking me. Who’s driving home at midnight in the rain without windshield wipers?  

Me.  

Pay the Toll?  Ain’t nobody got time for that!  

Coaching in central Florida means driving through Orlando for a few games. During rush hour. On a Friday night. And there are countless mini-vans displaying stick families with mouse ears. And all of them are competing with me in 72 lanes of traffic looking for the right lane to toss in the quarters. And the baby’s crying, while my kids are trying to kill each other in the back seat. 

Also, kickoff is in 10 seconds.

Then I get the text from Coach—What?  Your phone really does work?—and the text says, “Are you here yet?” Let’s just say the tolls are not my priority.  And I’m thinking, If they take me to jail for toll violations, then I won’t have to wash the team jerseys. I can live with that.       

A few more honorable mentions—

A GPS that can never seem to find me (or the field). 

The outrageous cost of admission (tell me again why we are playing at Disney’s Wide World of Sports?)  

And the crowning moment was when my son slammed the van door with my hand still inside.   

I know what you are thinking—why do you go?

I go because that’s how I show up for him, my Coach. Because our marriage isn’t all about me, it’s about us. Loving him means loving football. So, I will travel to all the games. Because it matters to him that I am waiting for him at the end of the game. Because victory is a family celebration and defeat necessitates a loving embrace. Because the team’s gonna sit down to eat at a cheeseburger at midnight and Coach wants me and the babies there with him.  

So, bring on the rainy nights, bruised fingers and toll violations.  It’s all for Coach. My hero.  

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