Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Real Thoughts From The Coach’s Wife In Transition.

My husband, Jason, was named the head coach at the University of Idaho on December 18, 2021. It was a crazy, exciting time, as we played in the semifinals of the FCS playoffs with South Dakota State University earlier that day and Christmas was right around the corner.

We flew out for the press conference the next day before returning to celebrate Christmas as a family. Jason left after the first of the year to start his new job while I took care of everything (and everyone!) back in South Dakota. As the wife of a college football coach, transitions such as these are common, and most college coaches’ families can relate. Many outside of coaching, however, don’t really understand our lifestyle and all it entails. 

So here are some real and vulnerable thoughts from this coach’s wife in transition......

Everything is not ok. 

I have to laugh out loud thinking this, but it’s really true. Friendly Reminder: Check on your friends or family in transition....we are not ok๐Ÿคน๐Ÿผ‍♀️๐Ÿคฃ. They may need hug. Just be supportive. 

You find out who your real friends are. 

In this coaching profession we’ve gone through plenty of ups and downs. I’ll always remember who has been there cheering us on, but I also will hold close to my heart the ones that have been there to support us when times were tough. 

It does not get easier. 

I am going into my 10th move as a coach’s wife and I have been reminded more than a handful of times that “You’ve been through this before” or that it’s “it’s not your first rodeo.” Yes, I have moved before…..and no, it doesn’t make it any easier. I have moved pregnant more than once, have packed up an entire house after just having a baby, and moved twice in one week because our furniture would not fit through the door in a house my husband picked out, and my list could go on.

You are sad more than you’d like to admit.

I miss my husband. I miss my family together. A new ritual at our house is counting down the days until the next time our “team” is all together again. My kindergartner reminds me everyday “how many sleeps until he sees his Dad.” I love my children because they remind me to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

You tend to feel like the odd man out. 

It feels odd to still be living in a town where your husband used to coach. The whole town rally’s around that team and you are no longer part of that. In all honesty it can be really lonely. 

Loyalty is a two-way street. 

Home is where football takes us. This is our livelihood and we will always pour our hearts into the team my husband coach’s for. Unfortunately, you sometimes lose friends over it.

You cannot make everyone happy.

It’s kind of like a trick play that helps win the game....people will love you when it works and you win the game. The next week when a completely different play doesn’t quite work out....they will be lashing out about it all over Social Media. The same goes for families in coaching....not everyone will be happy with the decisions you make....but in the have to do what’s best for your family. I have to continually remind myself to Ignore any judgment or what I like to call background noise. 

There are always tough decisions no matter which way you turn.

Sometimes as a football family in transition you’re faced with challenging decisions to make. When will you move? When is the next time you’ll see your husband? Will the kids finish the school year? What about your Senior in High School? The list of questions could go on and on. I personally don’t know of many families outside of coaching that have to face these questions/decisions regularly. I have learned throughout the years that there is no perfect answer. The right decision is what you think is best for your family, and sometimes that decision will still be really tough. 

Haters gonna hate. 

Some people just can’t be happy for other people, or are only going to cheer you on if it benefits them. I will be forever loyal to the people in my life who’ve been supportive and had my back....and you better believe I’ll have theirs right back.

Change is good. 

Change can be hard....but it also is good. My family is onto our next football adventure, and I am thrilled because we are returning to a place that we once called home-Moscow, ID. My husband is going into his first year as a Head Coach....and I couldn’t be more proud of him. We’ve loved every stop we’ve had throughout his career for different reasons, but we are so thrilled to be Vandals once again. Transitions are tough, but I am excited for this next journey and to be moving back to a place where we have friends that have been like family to us. I-D-A-H-O....IDAHO....IDAHO....GO GO GO!!!! #GoVandals ๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿˆ๐Ÿ’›✌๐Ÿผ

Friday, June 25, 2021

The unseasoned coach’s wife......

After 19 years of being married to a coach, I guess I would consider myself a “seasoned football wife,” as I have had plenty of experience with the coach’s wife lifestyle. Our family certainly has been through the ups and downs of the coaching carousal through the years: Many great wins and too many devastating losses. An exciting transition to a great new opportunity and a disappointing move after a losing season when the head coach was fired. Oh.....and the time my husband picked out a place without me seeing it and our furniture did not even fit up the stairs (yes, that actually happened). The list could literally go on and on.

This past year the ups and downs of our football life included our Fall season being canceled due to Covid-19. From there, the football gods threw us a curveball.....a spring football season.

It was amazing and a rarity to have my husband around so much in the Fall. For the first time in our marriage, I had an extra pair of hands with our new baby girl. He was home to help change a diaper before a team zoom meeting, and tuck our preschooler into bed while I nursed our baby. Selfishly.....I have to admit....I loved teammate was there for me when a mom was struggling at being a new mom to 5. He was also able to be present at all of our sons’ fall sports. He saw our senior in high school run some of his last races in cross country, as well as being able to watch our 10th grader play under the Friday Night lights and make it to the State Championship game. As some of you may know, in a normal Fall, that just wouldn’t be possible when your Dad is a college football coach. My children have always just understood.....Dad is working to get ready for that next big game. 

Jason was there for those moments that some families outside of coaching might take for granted. Our children’s Fall birthday parties, a trip to a pumpkin patch, trick-or-treating, and so much more. We were overjoyed. I felt spoiled. 

Then 2021 came....our spring football season was approaching. It seemed absolutely bizarre to me to have our season that time of year. I don’t want to come across as an unsupportive coach’s wife writing this, but at the start of it I questioned why we would even have a spring football season. Even though I’ve spent 19 years being married to a coach.....I suddenly felt “unseasoned.” I struggled after spending so much quality time with him after our season was canceled.....I missed him...we all missed him. 

So, like a player does before a game,  I had to mentally prepare myself for the “spring season.” I know I am preaching to the choir with most coaches’ wives when I say that....because that’s just what we do. So, I baked๐Ÿ˜‚. It may sound ridiculous to some, but it’s how I have gotten myself ready season after season over the years as a coach’s wife. When our preschooler was missing Dad a little more....we brought lunch up to the office so he could see him. Our family had to embrace the new normal, and I had to make sure our football family was prepared for it. was game day. I was more emotionally involved in that game than I had ever been before. Seeing the masks, our eager fans socially distanced in the crowd, the coaches anticipating every play of the game, and witnessing the team battling on the field after so much time had gone by without playing. 440 days from the last playoff game to be exact. 

Then....oh what a season! Our team was focused ...week after week, we eagerly awaited our team‘s covid tests results, and week after week they came back all negative. We ended up winning the Conference Championship by beating our arch rival on the road in the last game. Our team made it all the way to the National championship Game for the very first time in school history. Suddenly all our team’s covid testing, the social distancing in the stands, the masks at games, and feeling as though our entire family had to quarantine all season seemed to pay was all worth it. 

The championship game was different. I honestly don’t know if I will ever forget that game. All over again.....I felt “unseasoned.” After 19 years of being a coach’s wife you’d think I would be a little more numb to a loss. It stung. I tried to stay strong, but tears filled my eyes the moment I spotted my husband on the field. Then, when I saw one of our offensive lineman’s mom....well, I just lost it. We just cried and consoled each other. It hurt. 

For the record. It’s not easy for a team to lose their quarterback to an injury on the first series of a game. Our team battled and found a way to stay in the game when so much adversity was thrown at them. Our players stepped up and found a way to make some big plays, including a go ahead touchdown with 5:41 left on the clock. Unfortunately the other team had an amazing long drive and scored with only 16 seconds left in the game to take the lead back.

It’s taken some time for me to get over this one. Although as cliche as it sounds....time does heal all wounds. Over a  month later, I reflect on the season we had....and I am just so unbelievably proud. Our team went farther than they ever had.....and battled through a lot of unknowns. They made history in a challenging time....and what a ride it was. 

Week after week, our team reminded me why I love being a coach’s wife. Thank you Jackrabbits for helping this football wife become a little more seasoned. 

Friday, September 18, 2020

A Fall Without Football....

It’s strange for me to even imagine a fall without football. Colorful leaves, pumpkin lattes, crisp weather, and football.....there has always been football. I’ve spent 19 football seasons cheering on my husband’s team in the stands.

We have 5 children, all born in different states.....home has always been where football has taken us.

I’ve filled countless Saturday’s in the football season carting little ones to Daddy’s games. Always reminding them to cheer hard and stand up on third down.....probably enjoying way too many meals at the concession stands.

Our family, like so many coaching families, has sacrificed through many football seasons. Week after week, I’ve handled our children, the house, and well.....pretty much everything on the home front. All while my husband worked extensively to come up with his game plan for that week.

I’ve spent many nights during the season with my apron covered in flour, baking treats for our players. In my heart, I always believe that those sweets will somehow help get us a “W” on Saturday.

Every Thursday night during the football season is family night. It’s the one and only night during the season that Dad will be home for dinner. My husband always tells me he is going to rush home right after practice, but dinner still ends up being closer to 8 pm than 7 pm most Thursday's. 

Over the years we’ve spent more time in the fall with our football family than with our own extended family. We have missed weddings, birthdays, holidays, and more....because football is our livelihood. 

I’ve studied my husband from the stands proudly over the years. Seeing him week after week as he works excessively long hours developing his players and the game plans. Then watching his passion and energy come to life on the sidelines.

We have celebrated wins....those amazing wins, and suffered together through the losses. 

Every fall after games, I am scouring the field for my husband. Giving him kiss whether we win or lose....all while my children scurry around like Jackrabbits, imagining themselves making the game winning play. 

And when even the best of the seasons have had to come to an end, I feel like a kid does on Christmas night, not quite ready for it to be over.

I write this post today filled with emotion and with a heavy heart. I write with tears in my eyes because I know so many other coaching families and players are also hurting right now. Our big FBS game against Nebraska would have been this coming Saturday. Like so many other families in this football profession....there are so many unknowns we are all facing right now.

So to anyone who has muttered the words “it’s just a game”.....let it be a reminder that it’s so much more than that to a coaching family.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The Unknown

As a coach’s wife, I have spent the last 19 years training for the “unknowns” that go along with the crazy football life. Like times spent wondering if our season would be good enough to stay put for for another year, or if we would be on the move once again. Or times in transition, when I didn’t know where our football journey would take our family next. This year, however, the unknown is so much different.

I look back to the fall of 2019. I was cheering on my husband in the stands proudly with a growing belly. I was excited for another year in the playoffs while also anxiously awaiting for our 5th baby to be born in March. So much to be thankful for!

Then just weeks before my baby’s arrival we were quarantined from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our little girl was born in a crazy and scary time. I had a new baby, and my husband was home more than he had ever been with any of our children (#coacheskidprobs). An absolute blessing to have him around more, but I’d be lying if I didn’t also say challenging at times. Countless zoom calls with players, staff meetings, and recruits....and when you have 5 children in a’s not exactly easy keeping things quiet. I was wearing a lot of hats. Helping children with remote learning, caring for a newborn baby, and basically living with a football office set up at my kitchen table. All on my “turf.” It was a lot.

Now, like many other coaching families right now, we face an unknown. We don’t know what our season may look like or even if we will have a season. I know plenty of coaches’ wives that have already been told that there will be no 2020 football season for them. Some of their husband’s are or will face furloughs and some are even worried about their college staying afloat in the face of declining enrollment. 

This will be my 19th year as a football wife and I can’t imagine not being in those stands come fall. To not spend my Wednesday nights with flour on my apron baking for my husband’s players. I’d miss seeing that scoreboard lit up on Saturday so beautifully with a WIN glowing against our faces. I want to be able to race down at the end of the game and kiss my husband proudly...congratulating him knowing all his hard work that week has paid off. On cold nights feeling the warmth on the field from happy families hugging and taking pictures proudly with their sons. I want our new baby girl to experience her first football season. I want football. It’s not just a game it’s our family’s livelihood.

The one thing I have really grasped from being a coach’s that there will always be unknowns. So I am reminding myself, as I type this blog post, to never take those happy moments for granted. There will be better days ahead. I never thought when this pandemic had started we’d be worried about a football season.....but here we are. I believe sometimes things go wrong so you can appreciate them when they go right. Football will be back. Until then I will have faith and embrace the unknown. 

Prayers and thoughts to all the football families struggling right now with their personal unknowns.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

18 Lessons...From 18 Years as a Coach’s wife!

My husband and I are celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary this week. As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post...marriage isn’t always perfect. Through the ups and the downs....the wins and the losses.....and all the moves, (9 in 18 years to be exact!) this is what I have learned being married to the game.
1. Marriage is never going to be 50/50. You have to sometimes give more than the other spouse in times of need. Any coach’s wife learns that REAL fast! During our husband’s season it can feel a lot like 10/90. 
2. Don't listen to the critics. We've had people (even those close to us) doubt if our relationship could ever work. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed proving them wrong....on and off the field.

3. Listen to one another. Pure and simple. It’s not my job to be the coach and tell him what I think he did wrong after a tough loss. It’s my job as his wife to be there for listen and be supportive of him.
4. The grass....or turf...isn't always greener on the other side. Water and take care of your own grass.....and you won't need to look for anything more. 

5. Date.....a lot. We have 5 kids and we date more now than we did with only 2 (even if we have a third wheel along-our Lola celebrated our anniversary with us this year since she’s only 2 months old๐Ÿ˜‚). Taking time to date is a break from the everyday chaos and time to enjoy each other. Even if that “date” ends up being somehow related to football....take it. I’ve learned to appreciate any and all time together. Coaches wives have to find the silver lining.
6. You’ll cry. You’ll fight. I saw this great line once “a lot of people will say don’t go to bed angry” but I say, “sometimes the dishes gotta soak.” Going to bed upset is better then staying awake and saying things you may regret. 

7. LAUGH.......sometimes even at each other. Have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously. In our marriage that is one thing that keeps me falling more and more in love, and kept us afloat during the rough times – having fun and laughing together.  

8. You’ll Grow. We’ve learned from our ups, downs, and in betweens. With every win, tough loss, hectic move, or transition....we learn and we grow.

9. Celebrate. Sometimes I joke with my husband that my birth wasn’t planned to accommodate football (my birthday always falls during the playoffs or recruiting.) His falls right in the middle of fall camp. I’ve learned in this crazy life it doesn’t matter when you celebrate as long as you get to.
10. Don’t compare. They say comparison is the thief of joy. Not everyone’s football journey is yours. No marriage is perfect, not every marriage looks the same, or even what it seems to the outside world. Couples are not always what they POST to be.

11. Everyone has a love language. I enjoyed reading this book written by Gary Chapman years ago called The 5 Love Languages. We all have a language and I believe it's important to know yours and your spouse’s, and then act on it. 

12. Don’t sweat the small stuff. I’ve learned to laugh about the silly habits that bug me, and I am sure he has things that bug him about me too. You learn to love the not so easy to love parts of your spouse. When you really love someone they just don't bother you as much. 

13. Communicate. There is a reason lack of communication is one of the leading causes for divorce. Don’t assume the other person understands something the way you understand something! Communicate! We talk about any big/little decisions together. Coaching jobs, money, camps, etcetera.

14. Protect. I've got his back and I need him to have mine. You are always on the same team no matter the situation. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again....there’s no “i” in team right?!?!
15. Work at it. There is a lot of work involved in staying together. We are still working on us.....every single day.

16. Be supportive. I am his biggest fan in the stands and he's my extra set of hands at home.....well.....when he can be. Love is in the details!  Strive to love and bless each other’s life by giving compliments, forgive each other, smile, hug, listen, and be there to support each other.
17. Love and keep the faith. Through the years of this crazy profession...I’ve learned to not take the transitions personally. Love each other and keep the faith that God has a bigger plan for you.

18. Enjoy all the wins but leave the losses at the stadium. It’s not easy to accept a loss when your husband has worked so hard to perfect his game plan. When you have missed each other all or finally get that time together after the game. So once you leave the stadium choose to leave any loss behind and move on for the next week. As I said earlier, you are always on the same team no matter the situation.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Someday I’ll tell her.......

Someday I am going to tell this baby girl cradled in my arms that she was born in the height of a pandemic.⠀

I’ll tell her how I was terrified having to deliver her at very scary time. How I was nervous about taking her anywhere after she was born.  How I was so scared because I really didn’t know what would happen.

Someday she’ll hear how we FaceTimed relatives, how much they wanted to meet her, and how they had to love her from a distance.
Her daddy will tell her how we did what we needed to do to protect her.......How her doctor’s appointments were strict we were with her brothers about social distancing..............all because we wanted to keep her safe and healthy.
Someday her brothers will tell her stories of staying in together. Playing monopoly, family dinners, s’mores in the fire pit, plenty of fresh air, and many nights snuggling together watching movies. 

I’ll tell her that the silver lining in all of this was that our family slowed down. Instead of racing around to various activities we spent more quality time as a family. We’ll share with her memories on how she was almost always in someone’s arms....and that my favorite time of day was when she would fall asleep in my arms and I could just cuddle her....enjoying and embracing every baby moment.

I am going to tell our Lola that she gave me unbelievable hope that things can get better. She kept this family going, and reminded us to cherish the moment. 

Lola Dakota is not only our rainbow baby, but also our sunshine on a cloudy day.

Someday I’ll tell her.....

Friday, April 3, 2020

Hello, Little Rainbow.....

A rainbow baby is a baby born after a miscarriage or stillbirth.  Just like a rainbow follows a storm, a rainbow baby follows the pain of a lost baby. Rainbow babies do not erase our memories or take away our pain, but they help us begin to mend our broken pieces. They bring light and beauty back into a place where dark clouds have taken up space in our hearts.

8 months and many tears after we lost a baby through a miscarriage, there was the faintest hint of a line on a pregnancy test. I think I took about 5 tests over the next week just making sure it was real. I think I can speak for most mamas out there when I say, you instantly feel connected to your babies from the second you know that they exist.

Then at 9 weeks came the sound of that beautiful beating heart, and seeing the sweet profile of our baby on the ultrasound. That was followed by those first kicks in my growing tummy a few months later. I celebrated every single day of my pregnancy.....enjoying every wonderful and not so wonderful moment.

At last...on Friday March, 20th, at 1:03 pm......It’s a girl!!! Hello Little Rainbow! Lola Dakota was a 7lbs 10oz, 20 inch long blessing.

This little rainbow babe is already filling my heart with love and helping heal the space of my broken heart. It does not mean however, that our storm has been forgotten. As I sat up in the hospital holding our sweet baby I couldn’t help but think about the tears and pain I went through to get this beautiful little girl. I have a charm necklace that holds the ashes of my angel baby.  I wore it around my neck, close to my heart when I delivered our Lola. I know there will still be days where I wonder about that angel and what they would have grown to be.

So here I am...writing this post...with our darling baby cradled in my arms. There will be plenty of sleepless nights, soreness from nursing, and dirty diapers, but I will be so utterly grateful for every squeak or cry that comes along the way from our beautiful rainbow babe. Life after the storm....I have found pure joy and gratitude.

I love you little rainbow.....Lola Dakota.