I arrived home tonight to discover my sweet husband deep in thought. I knew this because he was chewing his finger while he stared at his computer. 14 years of marriage has taught me a few things, and since it’s July my guesses were: 1) He was changing the playbook…again. 2) He was watching film or 3) He was prepping for pre-season camp. #3 won out last night, and I have to admit, I had some mixed emotions about it.
Since moving to our mountain campus the summers have become incredibly short. Our boys got out of school later due to snow days, and with one of the earliest games on the college football schedule, players report in early August. This summer has been jam-packed with obligations limiting our social time even more, and as our kiddos get older, I realize this is part of the deal. Summer is their chance to attend camp, go to art class and most important hang out with dad. August is rapidly approaching and with it will come even less time with our fearless leader, also weekends filled with late nights, long bus rides and fast food.
Sharing Ordell with the team and staff is a process for our boys and me. As August arrives, we will eagerly greet our team (new and old) and their parents. We will hear about summer vacations and plans for the fall. We will get the latest scoop on relationships and injuries too. We hang out at practice and take inventory of our red and blue clothing, and we will do it all with smiles on our faces and true joy in our hearts. At the same time, the boys and I will find our “new normal” for the coming year. They will begin another school year, get back into the homework routine and resume school year activities. Instead of bedtime devotions with Dad, they will do this by themselves. Why don’t I sub in you ask? They don’t want me to. It’s their time with Dad, and no sub will do, and you know what? That’s ok.
As we countdown the days until our team arrives, we will not do so with dread. At the same time, in the quiet of the evenings, when Ordell is in the thick of practice after a routine has been carved out for another school year, another football season the boys and I will fight some feelings of jealousy. There are only 24 hours in each day, and football season demands most of them. We will soak up our few hours each week with Ordell…I’m so thankful our boys understand the concept of quality vs. quantity time. We will say goodbye with a smile knowing the next time we see Ordell we will have his attention and there will be time to catch him up on all that he has missed out on. There will also be days where we are sad because we wish Ordell were around to see something for himself.
If you speak with any family member who’s life surrounds the coaching profession I’m sure they would tell you a similar version of what “in season” life is like. If you heard this story repeated, you might wonder why families continue to go through the grind each year. I can only speak for myself, but my guess is you might hear a similar response to the “why” questions as well.
I surrender Ordell each year because I know that he is making an impact on this generation of college students in a unique way. We cheer each weekend because we view each group as “our team” not “dad’s team.” We love those guys deeply. We bake for them, laugh with them, encourage them and celebrate them. Each team has a variety of personalities, life stories, challenges, and accomplishments. Each player brings experience, baggage, PER.SON.AL.I.T..Y, and usually some fun to our lives. I surrender Ordell each year because when he’s not looking those players sneak over to me to tell me how thankful they are “Coach” is there. They tell me he’s “crazy” because of how he challenges them to be men, and he’s “tough but fair” because he addresses behavior directly. They thank me for the brownies or caramel rolls they received saying it helps them feel less homesick, and we feel a bit more like “home.” I surrender my husband each football season because I cannot imagine a life lived a different way.
I am able to surrender my husband many have walked this path before me, and many walk it beside me. I’m so thankful for resources like The Coach’s Wife, American Football Coach’s Wives Association, Spouses in Sports and of course, my fellow staff wives. 🙂 I’m able to surrender my husband because I have a conviction that doing so is part of being obedient to God.
So, if you see my boys in August love on them a bit, but know that even though our transition may be harder some days than others, we have been counting down the days and are so excited to have our Rams back on campus!