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Save Your “No” For When It Matters

My husband began his career as a large high school’s Athletic Trainer and now serves as a middle school Athletic Coordinator. The high school in his cluster has many responsibilities given to their middle school coaches, including scouting trips, sideline responsibilities, game filming and more.

This year has been particularly challenging as the district opted to start a third football team for middle schools in both grade levels, adding another night when coaches stayed later and away from their families.

There were weeks when he had other responsibilities on top of just football, like PTA meetings and Meet the Teacher night. He tried to go cheer on other students at volleyball games and be a representative at Spirit Night fundraisers at local restaurants.

Sunday nights we usually had a calendar run down so I would know which nights we would even see each other before 9:00 pm.

Football season wears down even the strongest families as the weeks go on.

Months of telling your kids, “Daddy will be home after you go to bed, but you can give him hugs in the morning.” Making dinners while trying to help with homework and not just letting your kids zone out in front of the TV.  (Trying, not always succeeding!) Happy conversations when his team wins and frustrated rants when something just isn’t clicking and they lose.

Every once in a blue moon, my husband will call me after an event has ended and just ask if I am okay with him grabbing some food and perhaps an adult beverage with another coach.

Here is where I want to share a magical piece of advice that a friend shared with me. She told me that when her husband would ask to go out with a friend, she would say yes unless there was a really big reason to say no.

“Save your no for when it really matters.”

I do appreciate that my husband is considerate enough to ask, and most of the time, it is already so late that all the kids are already in bed. Sure, I miss him and would appreciate some time for the two of us.

But I can also sense that when he asks for this extra time, it is because he needs to relax or build up a relationship with a fellow coach. Maybe they want to celebrate just making it through another week or maybe they want to talk X’s and O’s. I trust that the men that my husband hangs around are good guys and I don’t worry about what they are up to.

Plus, and here is the surprising best part, sometimes it doesn’t work out.  There have been times when he texts me to check in, I say “Go for it,” and then he texts back to say that the other guys couldn’t go after all.

No criticism of their wives, because they may have had an exhausting night and really needed their husbands to get their booty back home. But then guess who still gets Wife Points for saying yes – Me!

My husband has learned that when I say no, it is because I genuinely need backup at home.

Maybe I am frantically trying to finish a school project that is due the next day, or I need him to pick up some groceries on the way home. There are plenty of legitimate reasons why it could be an “All Hands On Deck” evening at our casa.

The point is that we have that understanding between us. We respect that there are times when friends can refill your emotional tank, and as football season comes to an end I will try to schedule more of those opportunities for myself too.

It can be really tempting to be greedy of my husband’s time when I feel like it is already in such short supply this time of year.

However, the years have taught me that a coaching staff with great camaraderie is a special thing that can make the seasons better.  If an occasional night out is one way to keep it going, I am going to try to say yes.

I am going to save my “Heck no!” for the night when I am up to my elbows in craziness, and then thank my husband for coming to my rescue.

Are you a coach’s wife? Join our online community and connect with other coaches’ wives in the same season as you.

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I can’t promise you I won’t doubt it, complain about it and/or be about upset it. I can’t promise that the thought of having to start over again won’t frustrate me. I also won’t be able to stay off of Zillow, searching for houses, even with only a mention of a potential job opening.   

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Learning How to Support My Black Coach Well

Learning How to Support My Black Coach Well

Note to the Reader: To read the first part of Crystal’s story read I Married a Black Coach; This is My Story 

As coach wives, we support our Coach through the plethora of emotions that come along with coaching. We listen when he comes home at an ungodly hour venting about a frustrating practice. We are a springboard for new ideas on drills or plays. We console him after a tough loss.

We put Coach in check when he needs a dose of reality, and we get the privilege of sharing with him the many, many joys of this profession. The words and actions that I provide for my coach in most situations are, I am guessing, similar to those that every other coach wife presents to her over-worked sweetheart. However, in some situations, I have found myself at a loss of how to provide my Black Coach with the support he needs, specifically where jobs are concerned. 

Throughout our journey together in coaching (he’s been in the game for a while but I’m a new-ish coach wife), there have been a few, distinct times when I could clearly see that Coach needed support from me, but I just did not know what to say or do.

What am I supposed to say when he tells me that we can’t take that job because that community isn’t accepting of interracial relationships? Or, that he isn’t even sending in his resume to certain places because he has heard that Black coaches don’t get a fair shakedown there when it comes to upward mobility?

And, let me be clear, it’s not like he was trying to replace Dabo or Saban, ya’ll. We are talking about logical, practical, qualified career choices that he was opting out of simply because of the color of his skin.

What do I say to that?

How do I respond?

Do I encourage him to ignore the prejudice and go hard after his dreams?

Or do I listen to and trust in his wisdom where racial issues are concerned?

(After all, as a white woman, my knowledge and experience on this topic are quite limited).

I have been stunned, and frustrated, and angered, and hurt watching my Coach navigate through this bigotry that, I am guessing, white coaches do not have to experience because, you know…privilege. There is really no other way to describe it. 

As always, I am speaking solely from my own experiences and observations, nothing else. I am not claiming that my experiences are true for all, but they are definitely true for me and my Coach. Supporting my husband is part of what I am called to do as his wife and as his partner. For me, learning to support him through racial issues that are intertwined with his passion, his mission, and his calling is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. 

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