More times than not the football field has saved me.
It’s been there for me to scream and yell. It’s allowed me to let out frustrations without judgement.
It’s been there for me to laugh and cheer out in joy.
It’s been there for me to cry when the chips are stacked against me.
It’s picked me up when I’m down, and knocked me down when I was too high.
You see, the same field that pulls my husband away, is the same field that has saved me over and over again. The football field gives me energy. It gives me a sense of perseverance.
Long before I ever knew I would marry a football coach I spent my Friday nights cheering on the home team. I think now it was God’s way of preparing me for the life than would ensue.
I grew up in a town that lives and breathes football. Almost nothing is as special as a Fall Friday night down there. It doesn’t matter if it’s the rival team or a team that you will handily beat, you’ll be there. Everyone in town has “their seat”, people notice when it’s missing, just like an empty church pew on a Sunday morning. Miss a game and people think you’ve been hospitalized.
Have a bad week? That’s ok it’ll disappear at kick-off. Did your boyfriend break up with you? It’s ok, by halftime someone else will have your attention … usually in a uniform on the field. Bombed that math quiz you studied so hard for? By the time the game’s over you won’t even remember taking it. Get into an argument with your friends yesterday? You’ll make up on the spirit line.
Those are the things it saved me from as a child. I never imagined what it could save me from when I became an adult.
In college it’s where I let loose. Maybe if I would have studied as hard as I cheered on Saturdays my GPA would have been higher. In college it was my distraction from watching toxic friendships unravel. It was my pick-me-up after a long week of exams. It was the ability to release so many emotions while just appearing to be cheering for my team. But most of all, it became an extension of who I am when I met my coach.
As a girlfriend the football field slowly became the place I resented in the spring, but adored in the fall.
As a fiancé it became the place that dictated wedding planning.
As a wife is became the place that housed my 75 “football sons” that I felt I needed to look out for, protect, and encourage. It also became the center of our calendar; can’t have a baby during football season, can’t attend a wedding during the season, and certainly can’t go on vacation unless it’s during the dead period. As a mother it’s become the place I watch my little boy imitate his father and dream of being one of the big boys.
No matter what is going on, I’m always brought back to life on the football field.
It’s here I’ve grieved the loss of a best friend and fellow football coach.
It’s here I’ve watched teams rally together and beat teams they had no business beating. I watched them show heart and courage that inspires me to be better.
It’s here I’ve celebrated being engaged.
It’s here I’ve gotten my first look at wedding photos in an unexpected email.
It’s here I’ve learned how to cook from my tribe of coaches wives.
It’s here I’ve cried on the shoulders of friends, family, my tribe, and coach friends for the loss of my grandparents.
It’s here I’ve celebrated some of my son’s biggest accomplishments in his short little life.
With the first snap of the game, I let out a breath of air that feels like it’s been pinned up for eternity. With the first touchdown of the night I let out a cheer that feels like I’m letting go of everything that has ever held me back. With every scream at the ref I feel an elephant of frustration from the week climb off of my chest.
And with that final buzzer, win or lose, it’s here that I feel immense pride for my husband and his team, and gratitude for my Lord and Savior for allowing the football field to be my therapy, my saving grace.
It’s here that I’m saved.