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Football Might Bring Us to the Stadium; But Community is What Gives it Life

Football is the reason we’re brought together, to cheer on the game and its players, but it takes on life because of the surroundings—I am moved by the music, join in with the cheerleaders, become gracious in a win, remain respectful in a loss, join in the celebration of our school, and most of all, I also find imperfect people around me who are trying to grow a community.

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To All the Sideline Critics, From the Football Coach’s Wife

If I was you, I would try supporting these men that give their energy, time, passion and love to your children ... using football as a tool to prepare them for life. Especially when your son is with the coach more than you. Get to know them, how you can help, get to know their families sitting next to you in the stands. I’m sorry if they made a play call you disagree with; they have quite a bit on their plate.

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5 Ways to Support to Your Husband During Season

There are hundreds of opportunities as coaches' wives to choose a good attitude about whatever is coming up. It could be him arriving home later than you expected, an event he forgot to tell you about, an added scrimmage or picked up game, or finding out he has to work when you thought he had off that day. The scenarios are endless, but the opportunity is the same. What will your attitude be?

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When Your Coach is a Mountain Climber

Have you ever driven past a big fancy turf field with shining new lights and your husband leans over to ask, “How would you feel about moving to Georgetown?”

Or perhaps you were taken aback by a dinner conversation he struck up out of blue saying, “You know, there is this opening in Houston….”

Just when I feel like we are in a regular rhythm of life and things are settled, he surprises me with the idea of picking up and starting somewhere new. Our little football family has only worked for two schools so far in almost 15 years of coaching, but every once in a while an idea will pop into his mind and start a chain reaction of possibilities.

I realized today that when it comes to my Coach, I married a mountain climber. Thankfully, not the literal kind that spends years training and heads for Kilimanjaro or Everest, but the kind of man always looking for the next challenge, the next thing to conquer.

That competitive spirit is a requirement if you are going to make a living showing young people how to train and fight to win. I love that my Coach is always thinking of ways to strengthen both minds and bodies, equipping them to be tougher for their journeys ahead in both life and sports. But can I be honest and say … it can be a bit nerve-wracking to be married to a mountain climber.

Coaching is one of those professions where the view of the next mountain over can seem really appealing. Almost every year there is a shuffle of staff members who have decided they have conquered the mountain they are on and are ready to move on to a new challenge. Perhaps they have made the same climb for several years and the thrill is gone. Sometimes the idea can even come from well-meaning parents or former players that say, “Don’t you want to come over to the next mountain with us?” Mountain climbers just have it in their blood.

Some coaches like the challenge of a new crop of students every year to work with. For my middle school Coach, that coaching mountain can be steep and grueling because it is condensed into two years rather than four. Coaches have to build a solid foundation of technique and discipline, but every once in a while they want to take risks and see how far they can push those skills. He sees the potential in his players for them to become experts, but those time constraints mean he hands them off to a different coaching staff and only gets to watch that development happen from afar. He knows the next mountain over will be even harder for them to climb and hopes that he has equipped them with everything they need to make it to the top.

In other years, the climb can feel like he has started all over on the same mountain but now we are on the opposite side and the territory is unfamiliar. The dynamic of leadership can change just by bringing in one new member of the coaching staff, so even if the mountain is the same, it feels like a new path is being forged and the view can seem brand new.

In the best circumstances, coaches can feel challenged and energized at the start of a new school year, but there may also be years where the journey to the top feels strained, with team members that leave the rest of the crew off balance or left behind.

The challenge for me is to recognize that mountain climbing spirit and not squash it. My Coach is wired the way he is and I do love him for it, but it is quite the opposite of my nature. We have known many coaching families over the years that moved on to the next mountain far before we even considered it. Their family may have a far more adventurous spirit than ours! Every time my Coach even mentions another mountain, I immediately think of our house, my job, my kids’ schools, our network of friends…. But I can still encourage and support my husband’s need for a challenge.

Some day we may be on the same page about packing up our gear and staking out a whole new spot. For now, I will remind him what an accomplishment it is to have made it through another year with his current crew. They have risen above so many challenges and kept pushing through. They have helped each other become wiser, more disciplined, more patient, more creative, more appreciative of what it takes to shape their students into champions.

That sure seems like Everest to me.

Friday Night Wife of the Week: Brittany Sloan of Marietta, GA

Each week, “Friday Night Wives” recognizes a coach’s wife by asking her the same five questions. We go through lots of submissions to find entries we think are especially encouraging or insightful. We hope this gives our readers a chance to connect with others’ through their struggles and hardships, as well as learn from someone who has come out on the other side.

Meet Brittany Sloan

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you and what do you do?

I’m 30 originally from Spartanburg, SC and graduated from Clemson University. My husband and I have a one-year-old son and I work from home as a bookkeeper for Firehouse Subs thru a CPA firm and I am a MONAT Market Partner.

2) How many years have you been a coach’s wife and what schools have you been to?

My hubby and I have been married for 3 years and this is our 4th season together but he has been coaching for 15 or so years. He coached at Chapman High and Byrnes High school before we got married. Then we got married and moved the next day to Marietta, Ga to Walton High School and now he’s the head coach at Kell High School in the same town.

3) If you could go back in time and have a conversation with yourself as a first year coach’s wife, what’s one thing you would tell yourself?

To not let the fear of not being in one place long keep me from investing in community while I am there. I was pretty miserable our first year because we moved 2.5 hours from my friends, family, and a job I loved to a place I knew no one and a job that I hated. With of the potential of moving, and the fear that comes with that, I waited to invest in the community around me, so I felt so alone most of that first year.

4) How do you find balance between supporting your spouse and supporting yourself so that you don’t lose your mind?

Still working on this one! I think it’s changed since we had our little one, before him it was easy to take a night to myself, grab a drink with a friend or get a pedi. Since having our little guy it’s harder to find the balance in taking care of myself and my family. We spend a lot of time at the school and field to see my hubby. With the hours football season entails it’s harder to get time without feeling like we are being a burden. Right now, I am really just having to force myself to take a break and have some me time.

5) What encouragement do you have for a fellow coach’s wife who currently finds herself in a difficult season and doesn’t feel like she’s measuring up?

Know your life will not look just like anyone else’s, including other coaches’ wives, and that’s perfectly fine! Everyone one must figure out what works best for them, their marriage, and their current stage of life. You do what you can do and don’t feel down on yourself for not doing more. Find yourself a community, in and out of the football world! Know where your entire identity and purpose come from and cling to that.

** If you have a wife you’d like to nominate as our FNW Wife of the Week, please email Lindsey at lnipaver@bellsouth.net **

coach's wife, marriage, love, compassion, judgement, friendship

To the Bare-Minimum Coach’s Wife, You’re Fine

Look, we’re all in this business together, and though we need support, we have to realize that everyone has different versions of it. Some people need to relate to others in the game; some find solace with friends who are far removed. I would rather spend my extra time with my family in one room, laughing and watching our kids wrestling each other, than plan a party that coaches and their families feel obligated to attend.  

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