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 it....my 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 baked😂. 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.
Finally....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 off....it 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.
What an incredible year for you guys! You are absolutely the glue that holds everybody together! Stay strong mama, but make sure you let it all out when you need to as well! Hugs! 🤗 (Heather Leliefeld)ReplyDelete