Friday, August 29, 2014

Football Friday Guest Post! My Mom on Being A Coach's Wife

My mom is my special guest writer for this week's Football Friday post!  She has been married to a high school football coach for 40 years and wanted to share her side of football   She also wanted to give a few pieces of advice and encouragement to the young football wives out there who are struggling this time of year.  Thanks Mom for writing this fabulous post!  

I have been the wife of a high school football coach for 40 years.  The game to us is much more than a game and definitely more than a job.  Dedicated high school coaches do not go into the career of coaching to get rich.  Yes, it has provided us with a home and  a good life.  But, it is so much more than that.

Our lives are determined by fall  football season, off season work outs and summer football camps.  Everything you do centers around these “seasons”.  Vacations are planned according to the “dead period”.  Luckily, our child was born in the spring before football started in full swing.  Do not plan on elective surgery during one of the “seasons”.  This has been our life for more than half of our adult lives.  It has been a good life and I would not change it for anything in the world.  Our daughter and I have a very special bond.  I feel it is because for so many years of her life, it was just she & I.  Dad was either at football practice, workouts or coaching a game.  On Friday nights, we tried to go to every game.  Dad would leave home around 6:00 a.m. on Friday morning and may not come home until after midnight, sometimes as late as 3 or 4:00 am if there was a long bus ride.  Saturdays have been spent in the locker room washing dirty uniforms.  Sunday afternoons are spent at the coaches’ office reviewing film and planning the next game.  I remember one Sunday afternoon, my daughter had a bike accident and broke her arm.  Dad had to leave films & meet us at the hospital.  There have been many Halloweens that trick or treating was done with friends or relatives.  Dad was likely coaching a JV football game or it was a football Friday.    Even at home, time is spent watching film and working on plays (my kitchen table and table beside the recliner in the living room are covered in play sheets, scrap paper, and news clippings).  There are phone calls to other coaches and to players that may have been injured in a game or practice.  You are never “off the clock”.  This is how it is in the world of coaching and all coaches’ families experience the same.

There is one part of my "job" as a coach's wife that bothers me.  It is when fans or parents sit in the stands and criticize the coaches and players.  Has that parent missed his child’s school activity because they were coaching another parent’s child?  Have they missed tucking their child into bed or reading a nighttime story because they were coaching another parent’s child?  Stop and think before you criticize.  Would you spend as much time away from your family?
(photo copyright of Ashworth Photography)

Football coaching is a calling.  It is a ministry.   You have the responsibility of building character, honor and discipline in the lives of so many boys.  This is how my husband has viewed his “job”.  It is worth all the time and effort to make a difference in the life of just one child.  I have seen this for myself.  I have seen high school boys who were going astray only to change his ways because a coach cared.  I have been proud to hear a parent thank my husband for his influence on their son’s life.  This is why you coach.  This is our way of life.  

What advice would I give to the younger wives?  That is hard as we each have different personalities and needs.  I can tell you for at least 6 months out of the year, you will not have a 50-50 partnership in your marriage.  While your husband is away working with the young men on his team, you will be left to run your household and to be a single parent.  It is not easy, especially with young children.  I was very fortunate to have a strong extended family support system.  My strongest advice is to accept help from family and friends.  I learned too late that the house does not have to be spotless or meals home cooked.  I worked a full time job in the corporate world and put unnecessary stress on myself to be the perfect homemaker & mother.  In all honesty, I never accomplished perfection.  As I have matured, I know that is impossible as we are not, nor can we be, perfect.  Looking back, I would not change my life.  I would put more emphasis on enjoying my life and my family.

Whatever we will do when he finally decides it is time to finally hang up the clipboard & whistle one last time?  Yes, I will miss the excitement of the games.  The anticipation of the starting whistle.  I have watched more games than I can count and been to many stadiums, some very elite and some, not so much.  I have sat through monsoon rains, temperatures near 100 degrees and even below freezing, snow & sleet and perfect fall evenings.  I have ate many bags of stale popcorn (there is nothing like stadium popcorn, by the way!)  and drank many cups of coca cola or hot chocolate. Most of our couple friends have mainly been other coaches & their families.  Yes, I will even miss the bad referee calls.  There is nothing like high school football and being married to a coach.
(this was us last year during a downpour at the 1st game of the season.  Just one of many that we have sat through together)

After decades of living with a high school football coach, I am still humbled, but proud, when we are approached with "Hey, Coach, do you remember me?"  Yes, he does.  Every.  Single. One.  Believe it or not, sometimes I also remember the player.  I have cheered for and prayed for thousands of young men by name.  We have seen many former players mature into ministers, teachers and coaches (two of which are head coaches in our area currently!), soldiers defending our country, doctors, dentist, lawyers, successful business men and many who have become hard working construction workers or blue collar workers trying to do their best to provide for their families.  That is the reward for a coach's sacrifice.

At the end of the day, when the stadiums lights have dimmed and the fans and players have all gone their separate ways, it is not the touchdowns, tackles or the numbers on the scoreboard that matter.  It is the lessons learned by young men that will follow them into adulthood.  That is what truly matters.  I 
am blessed beyond measure.  I have a husband who is a dedicated husband, father, Pawpaw and coach to so many young men.  There will be jewels in his crown one day.  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thoughts On Thursday

I told you I was going to make a good attempt to keep up with a couple of blog series!  Well here I am for the 2nd time in a week with a Thoughts On Thursday!  I am going to start backtracking and post our summer while doing Thoughts On Thursday (possibly moving Tuesdays???), a Football Friday post, and weekend wrap-ups.

1.  I have been reading a lot this Summer and I read Good Enough Is The New Perfect.  I struggle with balancing everything and this book really spoke to me.  The chapter I needed the most was on being a "good enough wife".   It has made a difference in how I approach my marriage and relationship with Michael.  I highly recommend this book to any woman struggling to find the right balance in life!

2.  It's consignment season again!  I sent 120 items to a sale 3 weeks ago and have another 30 at one starting this weekend!  I have already found some good deals for Nicholas to wear this Fall and Winter!  I have also noticed that in the 4T-5T sections the selections are getting smaller.  I am sad that consignment shopping may be ending soon for me.  

3.  Nicholas is in PreK this year and just casually told my mom a couple of weeks ago that he wanted a "pack pack" and lunch box.  This arrived on our front porch last week...

4.  About 6 weeks ago I joined a new gym and I have really enjoyed the change.  It is a little further from home so I am losing about 15 minutes a day, but I'm still seeing a change and losing weight, so I'm happy!  There is a lot more room for growth there and my personal favorite part...the stair mills and ellipticals have TVs!  It makes the time fly by! 

5.  Anyone else excited for Fall?!  I saw this at Costco a couple of weeks ago and it made my heart happy!  :-)  I'm ready for cooler weather, pumpkin spice lattes, sweaters and boots and all the other things that come with Fall.

6.  Speaking of Fall coming, who else is happy that college football started TONIGHT?!  Last week's post on football was one of my most read posts and I received a lot of feedback.  I have a lot of friends who are also coaches families and coaches wives, so I've decided to make a weekly Football Friday post, starting tomorrow with a guest post from a surprise guest!  It will be my 1st ever guest writer and it is a fabulous post that you do not want to miss!  Hope you come back tomorrow to see what this person has to say about football season!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

When The Game Is More Than A Game

Tomorrow is a big day at my parents house and many other houses across the state of's the official beginning of high school football!  It's a day that my Dad has been preparing for since November 23, 2013...the day after the season ended last Fall.  For those of you who do not know, my Dad has been a high school football coach for almost 40 years.  I grew up around "the game", I've been to more stadiums than I can count.  Friday nights in the Fall always meant that we were headed to a game.  My Mom and I have seen it all and sat in monsoon like rain, 100 degree temps, 30 degree temps and my personal favorite, snow!  We have been part of a team that had one of the worst records in the state and a team that was the state champion.  There was a 10 year gap from the time my Dad retired until he coached again and I will tell you, I never dreamed we would miss it like we did. Football isn't just a game to us, it is life.  

When I was growing up I never understood the big picture and the impact he was having on his players.  My Dad can remember the names of almost every player that has come his way.  He also can tell you about their families, where they lived, and the position they played. When you are 7 and your dad spends the majority of his time with other kids it is hard to understand.  I never got that Dad uses coaching as a ministry until I was 31 years old.  He has been a father figure and mentor to many, many young men who didn't have a dad or someone to look up to.  My Mom tells of how we came home from church once to find a player waiting in our driveway just because he needed someone to talk to. I remember a time when a player needed dress clothes for Senior Day and Dad let him borrow his suit jacket and tie.  I remember the time last Fall when a former player from 25 years ago walked up to our table at Longhorn to introduce his son to my Dad. Those moments are what makes the time away from our family worth it.  To know that by sharing my Dad with 1,000s of football players over the years he has made an impact on their lives.  

My Dad is one that gives 150% in everything he does.  This isn't more true than in his career. He spends countless hours reviewing film, breaking down offenses, defenses, and planning the next game.  I can call their house at 10:00 on a Tuesday night and ask what they are doing and my mom will almost always say "watching film!"  Coaches work hard and until you live with a coach you don't understand just how much heart, sweat, worry, nerves, bottles of Tums, and even tears go into a season.  As a child I heard comments about my Dad and other coaches that no child should ever hear about their parent.  My heart still breaks when I hear those things said knowing how hard coaches work. I always want to turn around and yell "how would you do if your job depended on the actions and decisions of a 17 year old kid?!"  Those actions and decisions can make or break a coach's career.  Think about that for a minute.  I learned early on to turn the other way and ignore the "coaches in the stands" that think they know more than the coaches, however even as an adult I find that heartbreaking. If only they knew how much time and energy went into that play or game they are critiquing. Every Friday night before I get out of the car I pray "Lord, please let the game be fair and help me ignore any ugly words and keep my mouth shut."   
I was lucky growing up.  Not only did I have a Dad who loves me, but I had a fabulous Mom who worked a full time job, but was basically a single mom in the Fall and made sure she never missed anything of mine at school or dance.  She has always been supportive of my Dad and his career.  She has prayed for countless kids by name and cheered for them all by name.  We have no clue how many football dinners and banquets she has been to!  We have been to who knows how many weddings, a few funerals for players parents, and Lord knows we have jumped and yelled louder than anyone on Friday nights.  I had to laugh when my cousins came to a game and were shocked how loud and into it we got.  Unlike me and my Dad, my Mom isn't very outspoken...unless it's time for football!  I just had to share this ecard because I'm convinced whoever wrote this one knows my Mom and I (and any other coaches wife and daughter out there!)
God gave my Dad and thousands others like him, a chance to impact the lives of teenage boys and make a difference in their lives.  Football gives opportunities to kids who may never have a chance to go to college or get out of a bad situation without it.  This is why football will always be more than "just a game" to my family.  It is my Dad's job.  It paid for my education, provided us with food and a home, and most importantly, allowed my Dad to make a difference.  And that is why football is more than "just a game" to our family and thousands others just like our family.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Anyone Still Out There?

Helllllooooo!!!! Anyone still out there?

Hi! It's me, the absentee blogger. 

I am really, really hoping to get into a groove now that preK has started and we are getting back into a routine at home. Of course, our Fall routine is crazy with consignment sales, football Fridays, and my OSHA work doubles with end of the year deadlines, but I am DETERMINED to check in at least weekly. Maybe thoughts for Thursday, a Football Friday post and a weekend wrap up... 

What's been going on with The Ledfords... We went to Destin with my parents, Nicholas turned 4 and had a fabulous Star Wars party on July 5, we went to a couple of minor league baseball games, we've been at the pool a lot on the weekends, and Nicholas started preK at his school yesterday. (He is in a fabulous program at daycare, but he will go into the lottery for a spot in our county preK program next year, but if he doesn't get a spot he will start kindergarten) I have been burdened to blog and actually sat down several times to get started, but honestly, this summer has been so much fun and I have really enjoyed my break from blogging, twitter, and I cutback on Facebook and Instagram (although both are used to keep out of town family in the loop, so I didn't cut back much). It's amazing how much life happens when you put down the phone and just enjoy the moment.  

I'm hoping by the end of the month to have a birthday and vacation post up and hopefully get back to some weekly brain dump posts again. Until then, just wanted to pop in and say hi...if anyone is still there!