What “The Greatest Showman” Taught Me About This Life
“Some people long for a life that is simple and planned
Tied with a ribbon
Some people won’t sail the sea ’cause they’re safer on land
To follow what’s written
But I’d follow you to the great unknown
Off to a world we call our own.”
– Charity Barnum in The Greatest Showman
I know it might seem weird that I’m quoting a musical to an athletic-based audience, but Charity Barnum (of The Greatest Showman) believed so much in her husband and his vision that she was willing to go anywhere and do anything to support it.
People often ask me how I can do it. “How can you live the coaching lifestyle?”
If you met my husband, you’d know how. Coaching is his God-given talent and calling (and to be honest, he doesn’t really have any skills for another profession). So, my options were either live this life or live a life without him.
Like Charity, as coaches’ wives we put our faith in our coaches. We follow them anywhere, as many times need be, to a lifestyle most people don’t understand. And while our faith isn’t blind, it can grow weary if we lose sight of the bigger picture.
Even after all these years, it is still tough not to get caught up in the day to day issues, the last minute changes to the schedule, the hundredth time he wasn’t there to help with breakfast/dinner/bath/bedtime, the millionth fight you’ve had to break up between the kids, etc. It can easily become a quick spiral into a ‘why did I sign up for this’ rabbit hole of self-pity.
“Hand in my hand and you promised to never let go
We’re walking the tightrope
High in the sky
We can see the whole world down below
We’re walking the tightrope
Never sure, will you catch me if I should fall?
Well, it’s all an adventure
That comes with a breathtaking view.”
When this happens to me, I try to remember the bigger picture of boys being coached into men. The man I put my faith into to lead our family is also leading and influencing the next generation. I try to remember the adventures of traveling and tailgating, staying up way too late to see how the game ends, and the breathtaking view of our kids running down the stands and onto the field to congratulate Coach on an amazing win. And even though most of the time it seems like we are standing behind Coach, we are actually in this together, hand in hand.
So when he’s been gone from sun up to well-past sun down and the days are just repeated blurs of handling meals, drop offs and pick ups, tantrums and cuddles, don’t lose sight of the man you put your faith in.
And don’t sell yourself short. It is a rare type of person who can stand in the background, doing all the behind the scenes work, and not get any of the credit.
They don’t write articles about how you took that middle-of-the-night wake up from one the kids so that Coach could be well rested for the big game the next day. They don’t give trophies for the one who made sure the kids were fed, where they needed to be on time, and eventually tucked into bed safe at night, day after day, season after season.
So, while you’re rightfully putting your faith in him, don’t forget to put a little of it in yourself as well. You’re stronger than you think.
Jess Gilardi is a lacrosse coach’s wife in the Baltimore area and has three kids, ages 6, 4, and 1. She was a mental health therapist in the school system before becoming the full time chaos coordinator for the family (a.k.a. stay at home mom). She does manage to fit in a little work here and there. Outside of lacrosse and family, she loves Jesus, the Tracy Anderson Method, and empowering others. You can follow her crazy adventures on social media: Instagram @jessgilardi and Facebook as Jessica Gilardi.