You see, my husband is a high school football coach, and he’s been married to the game for a really, really, long time. They were a thing long before he and I were a thing. And when we started dating, I had to come to terms with the rules of engagement.
So, whether we go to a cookout, munch on samples at Costco, or even vacation across international waters, he’s almost always guaranteed to be wearing at least one high school football item.
Yes, football and being a football family requires physical demands and emotional commitments from everyone involved. There are so many lonely dinners and difficult bath times. There are so many rushed labor-day cookouts and daddy-less trick-or-treats. There are so many tears from kids who miss their daddies -- and occasionally from mamas missing them too. Because there may not be crying in baseball, but believe me, there is crying in football. A lot of crying.
But most of those tears are the good kind.
If you give a coach a scrap of paper, he’s going to want a pen.
When you give the coach the pen, he will draw a play on that scrap paper.
After he draws the play, he is probably going to want a chair to sit down and think about it.
6. Bring a friend.
This is for the older ones, but bringing one of your kid's friends along is easy entertainment. Occasionally, it'll be closing in on the end of the fourth, and I'll have no idea where a kid is because they've been playing somewhere with their friend.
Whatever conversation others may have with me in hopes I will share with my husband, will NEVER get to him! The coach’s spouse is often treated like a side door into the coach’s office. No, we don’t know what our husband is going to do about playing time. No, I don’t know our husband is going to handle your child missing practice. No, I don’t know why freshmen are playing more than the upperclassmen.
Yes, we step into that space and remind our men of the kids who do listen … of the kids who become adults and still reach out … of the kids who needed a surrogate father … of the kids who played out of their shoes … of the kids who just need one caring adult and our men stepped into the space, the space between winning and losing—and that made all the difference.
It's true. He might not have done anything wrong. But it begs the question, Why would you ever put yourself in that position? Male coaches: mentoring female students is NOT YOUR JOB.
The sight that met me inside those doors was one I will never forget—and one I have not stopped loving since. There they were, a sea of men. Old and young, many with excellent beards, all of them wearing football apparel.
When I walk out of my room, the bright light stings my eyes. Mom asks why I’m up so early but she already knows the answer. It’s Friday. I’m too excited to sleep on Game Days. “Like father, like son,” Mom says. She gets me. I love Fridays.
You, and me, and thousands of coaches’ wives all over this country are in this together. Knowing we are done where we are, possibly unsure of where we are headed, but all collectively grieving, trying not to worry, and praying.
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.
I am not just a coach's wife and that's okay. I'm allowed to be selfish and think about myself and my other identities. I'm a wife, a daughter, a friend, an educator, an advocate, and a fur mom.
We are partners in ife. For us, that life includes football and all it entails. Please know, Coach, just because you are in-season, that doesn’t mean my needs are put on hold. I don’t need less of your time or attention. I don’t need less of your focus or your love. I don’t need less physical closeness and intimacy.
Thank you for teaching your athlete to respect their coach. To try their hardest in school and at practice. If there is a concern, thank you for teaching your child to come to coach instead of badmouthing to peers.
Some people will talk about you behind your back because they’re jealous of you. But some people will love you because of who you are. They will love you because your daddy took the time to help their son or brother when there was no one else that wanted to deal with him.
It wasn’t that bad early in his career. But, several years ago we went through a couple of tough seasons and were (ahem) “not rehired.” That event took a toll on me I never would have anticipated. Now, I have to be very intentional about managing fear and anxiety during the season – even if the season is going well.
They’ve eaten hundreds of meals from a concession stand or from a drive-thru after cheering for the boys of the communities they’ve been a part of, while their dad drives the team bus home.
They’ve eaten supper at the table alone with mom, while dad counseled or drove a player home because, in that moment, that player's needs were greater than their own.
My boys have grown up, waiting for the moment they could participate.
My Dad sacrificed time with his own children to help raise others, but what I hope he knows is that I and my sister were watching and learning how important it is to love those around you and show that love through action.
Even if we don’t get to play a single down, students will still need our husbands. They will need them for stability, leadership, and discipline. They will watch to see how they handle the disappointment of a missed season. What better time to teach them, by example, that circumstances can take your happiness but it can’t take your joy. Joy comes from the Lord, not the world.