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.