On Transition

Football and Family Coaches Wives are not single parents

November-January are some of the hardest months for me when it comes to college football life.  These are the months when friends lose jobs, friends move, and other coaches transition onto staffs all over the country.  January especially seems to be the month when families live apart while new jobs begin.

It is in these months that other coaches’ wives become my lifeline to keeping perspective on the realities of this lifestyle.  One wife summarized this season so well.  She said December is the month certain topics of conversation are not entered into, and distance may be needed while decisions are made, and above all remember it’s not personal.  (Although let’s be honest…sometimes it is personal)

Having been the staff that was left behind and the staff that moved on leaving others behind I’ve seen a few trends pop up.  I wasn’t sure if they are just unique to my life or universal until I asked a few coach’s wives about a transition.  Their thoughts were so similar to mine I thought I’d share a few things to consider when in transition.

When leaving don’t say things out of guilt.

Say what is true, and say as little as necessary.  What do I mean?  As someone on the receiving end, I’d much rather hear I’ve loved my time on this staff, thanks for all the fun times instead of I’m so sad to be leaving, I wish this could be different, I know I’ll never have as much fun anywhere else…because the reality is often times you aren’t sad to be leaving, you are excited to be leaving, and you don’t wish things were different.  Now I know, someone is going to jump in with “some moves can’t be avoided, ” and that may be true, but you are still better off leaving with a “thanks” than a regret.

When leaving remember others’ lives are changing too.  

In our most recent move, we left a place, we’d lived for 10 years.  That meant that we had watched 2 full classes of students graduate.  We had our boys there are students who watched our kids grow up for the first several years of their lives.  When they came to say goodbye they were not only saying goodbye to our family but to our house, to the expectation of seeing us at homecoming, to the hope of living in our basement, us attending their wedding, and whatever else they had depended on.  We had many people who came over the day the truck was being loaded who wanted to walk around our house one more time.  It surprised me until I realized they had memories in our house as well and needed to have closure in their own way.

I was also surprised by how many text messages we got the first homecoming we were not in the cornfields anymore, and how bothered some were when they found out we had bought a new car and I no longer drove the white CR-V I’d driven for years.  “But every time I see a white CR-V I think of you” was said A LOT. (yes, we moved from a VERY small town 😉 )

All of these experiences were a great reminder for me that not only did we make an impact where we were, but that our home was a place memories could be made.

Lessons on Transition

When leaving people may think you are doing the wrong thing…they may be right.

When leaving people may think you are doing the wrong thing…they may be wrong.

When staying behind remember we are called to bloom where we are planted.  It may sting that you aren’t going, but there is likely a team that is happy you are still around.  Love on them and move forward.

When staying welcome in the new staff quickly.  They are transitioning, and there is a lot to learn about the community, team, and school. Help when asked, offer help when possible.

When staying or leaving new staff dynamics are a good time look at how things can improve.  Every staff has a personality, and new people will shift that.  Some traditions may need to end, others begin.

When staying or leaving enjoy the ride…it is a crazy life this football life and to say it is without emotions would be a lie.  Have fun exploring where ever you are, invest time in the people around you, and bloom where you are planted.

When looking in from the outside please be aware it is very unlikely you will ever know the full story as to why the staff is transitioning….and you shouldn’t.

When looking in from the outside, the new staff doesn’t want to be compared to those who left.  They will live their lives differently, the team will look different, and that is ok!

When looking in from the outside remember that the life of a football coach involves transition.  Don’t ask when the rest of the staff will move, they may not know, and they can’t tell you anyway.


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