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 house....it’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 wife...is 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 him.....to 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 old😂). 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 week....win or lose....you 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 virtual.......how 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.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

It doesn’t matter.

I have learned that you can’t make people like you, love you, validate you, accept you, understand you, or even be nice to you......it’s simply out of your control. The good news, however, is that it doesn’t matter. Let that soak in for a moment......say it out loud even......it doesn’t matter.  I heard this concept years ago, but in all honesty, I’ve really struggled to understand it....until the last couple years. 

When you go through difficult times you really find out who truly cares about you. It’s the people that check in on you when life hands you lemons...the ones that are there to remind you to make lemonade.


I posted weeks ago about “my friend the coach’s wife.” My husband jokingly has referred to coaches’ wives as “my people.” All jokes aside though...they are my people. Some of them have been the ones to check in on me when life has thrown me a curve ball. As so many of us football wives can relate to.....this football life can definitely bring about some stressful times of uncertainty.  I have also gone through some bumps in the road that were not at all related to football. Everyone faces adversity right?!?! We may fall into the trap of thinking a friend on Facebook is perfect and always has their life together.....but social media is not reality.....it is just a highlight reel.

Sometimes when everything appears to be going great In life....that is when adversity strikes. November of 2018 was one of those times for me when I lost a baby by miscarriage. I learned a lot about the people in my life during an extremely difficult time. When anyone is going through tough times they need love and support.....pure and simple. I was bitter and extremely hurt when a few people in my life never even bothered to show concern or even acknowledge my loss at all.


Then, 8 months later after enduring my storm.....I got my rainbow.....I found out I was pregnant with another baby. It was interesting to me that the people who were not there for me with my miscarriage....were also the people that never took the time to reach out to celebrate my great news. On the other hand, the people who regularly checked in after my loss, just to see if I was ok, have also been the ones who have loved, supported, and celebrated with me throughout my entire pregnancy. 



It’s taken me two years and being pregnant with our rainbow baby to realize the real truth behind these simple words “it’s their loss, not yours.” To not let the behavior of others destroy my inner peace. 


The blessing in disguise from my hurt and disappointment is that I found my people. Life is precious. Stick to those who care.....I mean really care. If someone doesn’t....just remember it doesn’t matter....they aren’t your people.  Let’s be completely honest.....no response is a response. Step away from unhealthy relationships in your life. While you can’t control other people’s behavior you have complete control who you surround yourself with.

I choose happiness. To appreciate and love the ones that are “my people.”  We all deserve to be surrounded by love and respect. Stay close to and love the ones that feel like sunlight.



Saturday, January 11, 2020

My friend the coach’s wife....



Whenever I talk about a coach’s wife that I know of to my husband...one of the very first things he asks me is “where does her husband coach at?” He asks because in the tight-knit coaching profession, there is always a descent chance he may know the coach, or at least know someone on the staff. From my prospective, however, I don’t really care where her husband coach's at. 


It’s not that I don’t support her and her football season, it is that it really does not matter to me what school or level of football she is at. Coaches’ wives can all relate to each other because of our shared experiences.  Any football wife that’s a friend of mine...deserves the same amount of respect and loyalty. We all go through the ups and downs that come with the profession. Each one of our husband’s work hard from week to week. We all know what it feels like to win and to lose. Every single one of us has to make sacrifices for the love of our husband and his team. None of us were given a manual when we married into this lifestyle....and all of us are very unique in our own way. Different, yet similar stories......from moving, raising kids, the winning seasons, and the not so easy losing seasons.  So whether you are a HS coach’s wife, NAIA, or in the Power 5....it plays no factor on our friendship.


I believe that a good coach's wife/friend remains close and loyal to other coaches' wives.  When a coach loses their job (let’s be honest....we all know it happens to the best of them), other coaching wives are right there to reach out and show the coach's wife going through transition that they care.


This blog post was written to show my appreciation to all the amazing women I’ve met.....in all levels of football.....each with their own “football wife life”. While there is no set mold we fit into......each coach’s wife does what works for them and their family. Thank you to all the great ones....you are loving, loyal, supportive, helpful, independent, and some of the toughest women I know. Even though some of our weeks may look different on paper.....I think my husband said it best when he told me that “coaches’ wives are your people.”







Friday, December 13, 2019

The last game.

I cried last Saturday....a lot actually.....and not just because I am pregnant either.....I cry every year at our team’s last game. As I watched the seniors step out of the locker room for the last time, still in their uniforms...going to hug their families with hurting hearts and tears in their eyes.....I could not help it.
One of my favorite moments after a win is to look over the field with the brightly lit up scoreboard shining over happy faces. To see players with their families hugging and glowing proudly after a win. Closing my eyes and literally feeling the energy and joy filling the air.

Our season was tough.....we faced a tremendous amount of adversity, including a number of unfortunate injuries, and yet our team fought through it and was able to be a top 8 seed in the playoffs. Through the ups and downs they battled....second and third string players stepped up and made big-time plays. Unfortunately, last Saturday it wasn’t enough. I did not see those happy faces on the field post-game. Our season officially came to an end, as we lost by three points in the playoffs. 


I sometimes compare the last game of the season to the day after Christmas. The excitement and rush has to come to an end....

No more baking on Wednesday’s.......
No more screaming loudly on third down......
No more lit up scoreboard post-game.....
No more children running on the field after the game, throwing the football and pretending they are future Jackrabbits scoring the game winning touchdown.....
No more waiting for my husband to exit the locker room and giving him a kiss....
No more game days.....

They say all good things must come to an end....but I don’t think I am ever prepared for that moment. Like a kid on Christmas morning....I want more games....I wish it would never end.

In FCS Football, 24 teams make the playoffs out of 126 teams. Only one playoff team wins their last game in January.....for the others teams, the season ends in heartbreak. I have to remind myself of this frequently. 


So with that said....I don’t know if I have ever been more proud of our team. With all that our Jackrabbits faced this season....they battled. They accomplished making it to the playoffs for the 8th straight year, and as a top 8 seed for the 4th straight year despite all of their trials and tribulations.


My hope is that our Jackrabbit team holds their heads high, knowing in their hearts they battled valiantly, looking forward to the opportunity for greatness that next year provides!!
GO BIG GO BLUE....GO JACKS!!!