The other day, my husband said, “I live and breathe with these guys.” He was referring to his pitching staff. He quickly tried to qualify the statement by adding, “At the field when we have practice.” But the initial statement struck me as entirely true, especially now that they are in-season. When he isn’t at the field, he is calculating statistics and planning how to help his players improve. When he isn’t at a game, he is preparing for a game by compiling scouting reports and thinking through various game situations. He lives and breathes all things baseball, and he loves it. He takes pride in what he does.
I can’t won’t compete with this. I’ve seen my husband two weeks after a season ends. He misses coaching, and he’s eager to get started again. If I start to see this as a competition for my husband’s attention, we will both lose.
If you can’t beat them, join them, right?
Coaching is a unique profession in that there are plenty of opportunities for spouses and families to get involved. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a good thing because sometimes it’s the only way I can keep up with everything that is going on in my husband’s life.
Here are some of my favorites:
- Go to the games. It’s that simple. Go and watch. At least the home games that fall on the weekends, and more if possible. The more I watch baseball, the more I learn about baseball. It makes for easy conversation at the end of a long day, and it allows me to know how the team is really doing in case my husband doesn’t want to talk about it. Plus, it’s fun to meet eavesdrop on the players’ parents, friends, and girlfriends while cheering on the team.
- Keep stats. Sometimes I will help my husband chart at intersquads. Other times I will help him calculate numbers and update the team’s stats after the game. It makes his job easier, and it helps me understand how each player is doing. Helping with stats has also given me a deeper understanding of baseball and what to look for when I watch the games. After all, baseball is a game of failure, and it’s best not to get discouraged by one strike-out.
- Take pictures. We have had teams with parents who have nice cameras and take excellent action shots. We have had teams where the school hires a professional photographer to capture the games. We’ve also had teams with neither luxury. In the case of the third situation, I bring my basic digital camera to the field and take pictures. I’ll admit, I have only two photography skills: 1.) point; and 2.) shoot. But I’ve found that if I take enough, there are bound to be a few decent shots. I post these to the team’s Facebook page, and parents who are far away are always thrilled to see pictures of their kids, regardless of the quality.
- Work out with the team. This may not work for everyone, but I’ve found that if I want to go to the gym anyway, it’s easy to go when it’s reserved for the baseball team. I’m rarely doing the same exercises as the collegiate athletes, so I’m out of the way. It’s a good opportunity for me to get to know the personalities of the guys on the team a little better, but most importantly, it gives me bonus time with my husband. Strength programs are my husband’s specialty, so he loves when I get to see that aspect of his work in action.
- Feed the team. Fact: 18- to 22-year-old male humans love food. Plus, their diets typically consist of ramen noodles, pizza, and fast food burgers, so they are easy to impress. My husband and I try to make it a priority to feed players as a means of building relationships and promoting team bonding. When we aren’t in-season, we have a small group of players over for dinner once a week. Our in-season goal this year is once a month since three days each week are already taken by games and a fourth evening is taken by a night class I’m teaching this semester. Last year we did a spring break breakfast for the entire team (they had to come to our little house in 4 shifts of 12), and we hope to make that an annual tradition. Like any good dugout mom, I’ve also brought cookies and other sweet treats to the field after practice. No one has ever complained about the free food, and I love getting to see who the players are off the field.
As a coach’s wife, there is never a shortage of opportunities to get involved, only a shortage of will. (Okay, sometimes there is also a shortage of time.) Seizing those opportunities has been a blessing to my husband and our marriage. The more I can feel involved in his career, the less I feel the need to compete with it, and the more content we are in sharing a common vision of how God can use our marriage to bless and minister to others.