A friend recently asked me if I’d always known I would be a coach’s wife. She’d seen how I embraced my role so naturally and wondered what may have led to that. It struck me as an odd question, though. Do many people grow up knowing what their spouse’s profession will be? As a single young woman, had I gone to baseball games and batted my eyelashes at every coach without a wedding band? Definitely not. However, I do believe I was prepared to embrace this role.
First of all, I love baseball and have for much of my life. In fact, I remember going to Safeco Field to watch the Mariners (usually when they played the Angels, of course) and thinking to myself that I would love to own an MLB team. It was a far-off pipe dream, one that I believed would only become a reality if I married someone who was in line to inherit a team or someone with enough money to purchase a team should one come on the market. I knew this was a ridiculous notion. Yet somehow I found myself owning and operating a summer collegiate baseball team. It was much smaller-scale than an MLB operation, but in my mind, I was living my childhood fantasy on a larger scale than I ever truly thought possible.
For a couple years in my early- to mid-teens, I wanted to be a sports psychologist. I loved the idea of working with collegiate or even professional athletes. I took a sports psychology class at the local university and read a book on the subject. I was desperate to understand the mental side of athletics and what made athletes “tick” on and off the field. As a high school athlete, I loved talking with struggling teammates and offering words of encouragement and mental strategies to help them get back on the track of success they were capable of. Although I changed my career path, those experiences equipped me with a level of understanding of my husband’s career that I may not otherwise have. It also allows me to understand his passion.
I’ve always been highly independent, and I value my alone time. I also have experience living alone. When my husband works long hours or goes out of town, I’m okay. Yes, I miss him when he’s gone. But as an introvert, it gives me the time I need to recharge. I also don’t mind cooking for myself and eating alone. I can read, get work done, clean the house, call my family, and work on my blog. Sometimes I’ll even meet up with a friend if I’m feeling up for some socializing. At least now, in our pre-kids marriage, I know how to make the most of the time when my husband is away for work rather than mope around or complain about the lack of help around the house.
My older sister is a coach’s wife. For eight years before I met my husband, I attended at least one college football game each year while sitting with a coach’s wife. I also heard her stories about life on and off the field. By the time I met my husband and the prospect of being a coach’s wife became a reality, I already had a model in my mind of what it looked like to be a coach’s wife. I never wondered how to support my husband in his coaching career because I’d seen it done before. I’ve had to find my own way and make the role my own, but this, too, prepared me to be a coach’s wife.
So, when I married a coach, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. I anticipated the long hours and the weekends (or week days) away. I knew I could handle the unpredictable schedule because I understood the value of my husband’s investment into the lives of these young men. There are days when my husband leaves the house before I wake up and doesn’t come home until I am already in bed, but I know he is doing something he loves, so I am prepared to understand his calling and value the hard work and commitment he puts into his passion.
Perhaps I have been more prepared than some coaches’ wives. Certainly I am also less prepared than some others. While I may not have spent my life searching for the perfect coach to marry, I do believe God led me to this role through trials that have prepared me to bring strength and confidence to my marriage.
As much as I may have been prepared, as much as I may have anticipated, as much as I may understand, I still find myself continually surprised.
I am surprised when a quick trip to pick up apparel turns into 90 minutes of sorting apparel by individual order. I am surprised when a few quick recruiting calls turns into two-and-a-half hours on the phone. I am surprised when the first day of winter break turns into a recruiting trip on a whim.
I am a planner, and I’ve learned I need to let go of most plans because our life does not have room for them.
I’ve learned to expect to be surprised or have no expectations at all. I’ve learned to never plan but to always be prepared. But that is easier said than done. Nothing could have prepared me for that.
This is where faith makes all the difference. On the day we said “I Do,” I walked down the aisle to “Walk By Faith” by Jeremy Camp. My husband and I both knew this would be the theme of our journey together. When we get the unexpected curveballs thrown at us or we are entirely unsure of what way our life will go next, we remind each other that all we can do is trust in the Lord and walk by faith.
As a coach’s wife, I must plan for nothing and be prepared for anything.