Coaching and Finances

Well, whoops. It’s been two months since I’ve given attention to this blog. I’m going to go ahead and blame it on being a new mom with an almost four-month-old baby girl. And I’d like to say I’ll be around more in the new year, but I’m not ready to commit to any promises like that.

I’ve debated writing this. I’ve always believed the topic of finances should generally be private to a family and not openly discussed. Plus, I try to keep things positive here while still being authentic. Maybe I needed time to process and find that balance. So I decided to write this because it’s such an integral part of the coaching experience, and I think a lot of coach’s wives can relate to the challenges. So, can I be real about this?

People who don’t know much about coaching tend to think of it as a prestigious career. They see pro coaches and big Division I coaches on TV. They see small town coaches as local celebrities. And they determine it must be a job that pays well. I’ve mentioned before on this blog that my husband was once asked to log all of his working hours to see if the college would approve a raise—nothing crazy, maybe the equivalent to minimum wage. But once my husband compiled this and had evidence of just how little he made for the time he put in, his athletic director told him to throw it away because an increase to minimum wage would be asking too much.

People who do realize just how little coaches make tend to recommend a second job. But when? My husband works 10-15 hours per day, 6 days per week for most of the year. It’s exhausting for both of us. He can’t do his job well if he works less or pours energy into something else. Some suggest I work a second job. But at what sacrifice? Neither of us gets to spend time raising our daughter? That’s an awful alternative.

So we pray. We trust that the Lord will provide us our daily bread. And sometimes it’s just that: our daily bread. We find ways to give to others, to spend time and money to feed others, especially our baseball players. Maybe we shouldn’t spend our money this way, but it’s what God has called us to do even with what little we have. Even when it means we don’t have a surplus to put into savings. I try to rest assured that there is biblical truth in living this way. But we live in a culture where it’s stupid to do this, to reach our age and not be saving for retirement, to not have enough saved in an emergency fund. It’s stressful when we go through those spurts where we are scraping the bottom, when we have to use dimes and nickels to buy clean drinking water.

And now we have a daughter. We worry for her well-being and her future. We want to provide things for her, like a college fund. She doesn’t want or need much right now that costs money, but she will eventually.

So when things started getting tight very quickly this month, my husband started talking very seriously about changing careers. He’d give up his passion to better support us, he suggested. He’d make more working at a fast food restaurant, he said. And maybe that’s what our society would consider the smart thing to do. But God has called us to this ministry. He has called us, and He has provided so far. So we choose to continue to trust even when this world suggests we choose differently. We pray that the near future will bring a more stable financial environment. And maybe someday God will call us a different way, but we pray we will know that calling with clarity, and it certainly hasn’t happened yet.

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