I looked up from my phone as the car made one last slow turn to find myself at Fredericksburg High School’s football stadium. It’s the third stadium we have seen on this trip having turned off the highway twice to “check out the facilities.” Romance, ladies, with a capital R.
But we are not single parents. Because tonight, even it’s really late, even if I'm already in bed and my eyes are already closed, at some point my husband will slide into bed and inch his body near; I'll feel his fingers slip into mine. And I'll sleep a little deeper knowing he's home.
Because when you pray to God, you are also praying to the Holy Spirit who is living inside your husband. I promise, it/he/she/that spirit will do a much better job of leading him than your frustration ever will.
If you are a coach's wife and this is your first time heading to this testosterone festival, here's a behind-the-scenes guide of what to expect.
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.
So you just got engaged and now you’ve been Pinteresting wedding Inspo like it’s your job! Okay fine, yes, your bridal board has actually been active long before you met Mr. Coach but now you’re Team Captain and you’re determined to get that W. After sifting and sorting through pins for the umpteenth …
You do not have to do this coaches’ wife thing alone. There are many who have walked before you, and there are many who walk alongside your journey. Embrace your title; it’s part of your calling.
This is part of marriage. It’s not as if one of you is choosing to only be 20% or 50% or whatever percent. The percentage may be dictated by what’s going on with your job, with your children, or with your family.
Most of us know what we want to do: use that big love to defend and protect our coach!
But what does that look like? Should we call out those who are actually at fault? Tell the bleacher coaches they have no idea what they are talking about and to zip it? Highlight the inequalities? Underscore the unfairness?
Most of the time we are silent partners in this deal, but we have to ask ourselves: are there times when enough is enough?
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 …
I can promise you I will go wherever you go, stay wherever you stay, and your people will be my people. I will put in the extra work to get our family settled and make the new place feel like home. I will be open and flexible to wherever this journey takes us.
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.
But nothing and I mean nothing, would get my goat like that handsome, brown-eyed man pointing his finger at me, raising his voice to that disappointed, irritated coach tone and speak condescendingly to me like I just ran the wrong route even after we drilled and drilled it in practice.
I, Mr. Coach, promise to:
Recognize that this woman is an actual superhero and treat her as such
When she is sad just hold her, don’t coach her
Make a valiant effort to not wait until the last minute to ask for something
Brag about her to my friends
Get her swag asap, especially at a new school
In a spare moment, keep the kids and send her out on her own
Remember that she is the one who is still there when the lights go out and the career is done
Love on my kids after wins AND losses
Consider that your career moves are her moves too
Find her before talking to the media
Recognize that I am a better coach because she is by my side
But then the games stopped. Sports and this lifestyle came to a screeching halt. Suddenly, he was home all the time.
I have loved him through the perfect, undefeated, state championship seasons, the heartbreak of great competitive losses, and the fickleness of high school athletics. After years of learning how to accept that he’s perfectly alright with doing NOTHING for literally H O U R S at a time except watching game after game, he began more than one morning of this holiday break with something like, “Babe, which of your projects would you like me to help you with today?”
In case you are eyeball deep in a playoff run, constantly scrolling Football Scoop, about to start coaching yet another sport, or already looking at next year’s prospects, let me remind you that it is already December. This means your amazing, remarkable, beautiful, intelligent, epic wife/fiance/girlfriend is soon to need some gifts that match her amazing-ness.
The coach’s wife life is this wild dichotomy of having your life (from your daily schedule to your entire future) be dependent upon someone else, their dreams and performance. But at the same time, in order to survive and thrive in it, you must learn to be independent from that person and function solo a large majority of the time.
And then there are the days when I want nothing more than to support you but I have nothing to give. I am physically exhausted, mentally spent, and I think if I hear one more spiel about offensive strategy or next week's opponent I will pull my hair out. Those days are hard.
Maybe changes need to be made. Maybe priorities and boundaries need to be set or straightened or reorganized. But also? Maybe your needs aren't being met by your husband because they were never supposed to be.
I hate this feeling of distance, like you're holding me at arms length, even if it's just to protect me. Protect me from issues at work. Protect me from hard stories. Protect me from the anxieties racing through your head.