Some days were ugly. I have genuine faith in a big God, but faith doesn’t negate ugly. We had incredible support, but no amount of love negates ugly, either. Again, that’s called tension, and it’s allowed.
They were the first ones to run up to daddy after a game and after a loss they were the only ones who could put a smile on coach’s face. They were the first ones to run up to daddy after a game and after a loss they were the only ones who could put a smile on coach’s face.
Next, there is a time and a place for this conversation. It is not now, not after a game, no matter the outcome. It is not while his family, friends, colleagues, and community are watching. Not in the middle of the field or outside the locker room. Certainly not at the volume you are speaking; the time and the place is not now.
If my son grows up to become a man who is: loyal, hardworking, and spends his life serving others, just like his dad, what else could I ask for?
My kids aren’t leaving games wondering why their dad chooses this life. Football has been a part of their lives since birth. This is as natural and normal for them as going to school each day is. It’s just something we do.
My husband isn’t choosing football over us; we are choosing football with him. We are a football family.
For this reason, I do feel that I often have difficulty connecting with other coaches' wives who lament about traveling to games solo with children, getting up during the night to care for children, worrying about their children finishing their homework, making it to their own extracurricular activities, the list goes on. We all struggle, but the struggles look different and sometimes I feel there is an unbreakable barrier between us.
You never want to think, "What if I don't outlive my kid?" But recently, my husband and I did have that thought. And recently, we changed our wills to bequeath our child to another coaching family.
Now with four, seven and under we had a little time to experiment. For us this is what I’ve found works…
I hope you know in the depths of your soul that you will be okay wherever we go because we go together. We have been a part of a lot of different teams in your lifetime. But our family, this home team of five, will always be our first priority, our first love, and our home—no matter where it is.
You know what IS the best for them?
Working harder than everyone else.
Getting better just for the sake of being better than they were yesterday.
Learning to have hard conversations.
Staying late at practice.
Taking extra shots.
Running extra sprints.
Busting their tail in offseason.
I had parked myself right in front of a broken cistern. I'd fill it up, but all my joy and peace and compassion still seeped through the crevices and cracks, until it was once again empty. I would fill my tank up and only get a mile down the road before I was out of gas again. I wasn't filling it with living water; I was filling it with muck, sludge, and junk. It was broken. I was broken.
Not every kid has a team full of older siblings who care about what happened in school today or who will listen to the plot line of your most recent favorite Disney episode. You get to have them over for dinners or make them snack bags for the road. You get to make them signs, cheer them on, and even get a high five after the game. You get to travel and tailgate.
There are so many amazing things about the coaching life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But, as our sons get older, I’m learning to create space for them to flourish, and right now that means working a little harder at the “non-coaching” areas of life.
Dear Coach Daddy, I know you worry about me. I know you wonder if you’re doing alright at this Dad thing, if you’re gone too much, if you’re striking the perfect balance between work and family. But I just want to tell you something, Daddy. I love that you’re my dad. I love running out …
But my Heavenly Father knew I needed this. He knew I needed to serve without receiving a “Good job” or a “Thank you so much.” I needed to perform without someone to impress. Without expectation of a compliment. He wanted me to learn to serve just for the sake of serving others and serving him, not self-serving.
As I write this, we are coming up for air from a two or three week rut.
Nothing huge forces us into the ditch. We just slowly lose our concentration and drift out of center, ignoring the rumble strips of silence and busyness. Sometimes we sit there for a while before either of us look up and recognize where we are. Sometimes one of us feels it before the other. Sometimes we both feel it but don’t put forth the energy we know it will require to get out of it.
I grew up in West Texas where every away game is a solid three-hour road trip through nothing but wide-open spaces. I played a lot of Mad Libs and M.A.S.H. in the backseat of my parents’ minivan (or the lesser-known, MASH IT, I = Igloo, T = Toilet). Now, I get it. My kids are …