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Life as a Coach’s Wife

I have always loved football. Although I don’t remember it, there are pictures of me in Penn State cheerleading outfits (my Dad’s alma mater) when I was 5 years old. Which is why fall is without a doubt, my favorite time of year. The weather, the excitement, the social networking and just the competitive nature of it – I really do love it all. I do not have children yet, but when Friday hits at this point in my life and everyone gathers at the stadium, I am there too, number one fan cheering not for the players, but for the coach.
When I was first introduced to my husband several years ago, my friend prefaced the introduction with “He is a really sweet guy, he plays ithe guitar… oh and he is a football player”. I was hooked then but I had to get him hooked on me. Which is why I spent the next couple of the nights with him spatting out my love of the game as if it would mean something to him. I couldn’t just say that I liked the sport though, because girls everywhere claim to love the sport but for them, it’s only show. No, I REALLY did love the sport and I was convinced if he knew that I knew what a tight end was and who held the record for the most TD”s in the NFL at the time, that I would be in for good. To top it off, he was in school to be a football coach. Football in my life forever, I thought, could life get any better? I automatically started fast forwarding my life as a coach’s wife… team parties at the house, becoming best friends with all the other coaches’ wives… it really was an unhealthy obsession.When we started dating, I was elated and when we got married, I knew football would be in my life forever.

Call me stubborn (and I am) but when people would tell me “oh you are marrying a coach, get ready to turn your life over to the game” and people started to call me a “football widow” I didn’t quite get it. No, I thought to myself, certainly this wouldn’t be the case with MY husband and HIS football teams. I naively thought we would have winning seasons and happy players every year. My hubby was the best coach ever right?
Enter a few examples of the many sacrifices we coaches’ wives deal with when football season comes around each year:
Example #1: During the fall, accept the fact that you will never see your husband. I’m lucky if my hunny gets home before 8 on a weeknight and most nights we are so tired by that point that we tell each other hello and plop in front of the television for the rest of the night.
Example #2: Weekends aren’t much better either. Friday night you see them on the field… you MIGHT get a wave, if the team is winning and they are feeling lucky, but other than that… kiss Friday good bye. Most Friday nights (actually they are Saturday mornings) he gets home around 3am exhausted obviously but still rev’ed up about the game….. rethinking failed plays in his head, trying to figure out how to teach the offensive line to give the quarterback better protection and, sometimes, how to keep his job another year with such an awful record.
Example #3: Don’t get excited about Saturday’s either. You might think, “Game over! We are free for two days.” Right? WRONG! Of course, coaches need to meet at 8am on Saturday to talk about the game (could be shorter if they played well, longer if not), watch film, wash clothes etc. By 2pm when your exhausted hubby gets home, you feel so bad for him that you let him off the hook from all the things you have been waiting since the summer for him to finish (in our house, this is namely a fence) and retreat to your own tasks for the day.
Example #4: Whereas football games used to be all about fun and excitement, you now find yourself feeling like you are going to throw up because you are so nervous for your man. You hear the stories everyday about the good players and the team improving and you become so invested in the boys and each game that when you lose (and you feel like YOU lost) you feel like you are a presidential candidate that just lost the election. You go into a state of depression all the way home until coach gets home and you have to put on your adoring wife, “you did your best hunny”, we’ll get ’em next time face.
Example #5 and this is a biggie: You might think your husband is the absolute best coach in the world and you believe in him and what he stands for wholeheartedly, but unfortunately, not everyone does. And so on certain plays, and certain calls, you get to hear from the fans next to you in the stands how much your husband sucks, how awful he is as a coach, and how so and so’s 80 year old grandmother could do a better job coaching. And these are the people you consider your friends most days! The one’s that greet you and ask how you are doing. And while you want to turn around in the stands and stand up for your man telling them if they knew how much time and energy he put into those kids and the game and how many restless nights of sleep he has during the season and how passionately he feels about what he does, you grit your teeth and bat it off with a smile and something about how not everyone is perfect until they forget about that one play or call and go on their merry way.
So you see, being a Chicago Life coach wife is a multidimensional task. There are good days and there are bad days… great games and awful games. Tired husbands and husbands so pumped about winning the championship that they turn into a 10 year old again but you smile and take it all in: every moment, every game for what it is worth, because you really love football… and that coach… that much.

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