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Happy Birthday Ordell

Happy Birthday Ordell

Walker Family 2018

Dear Ordell,

Today’s your birthday and we’re celebrating you the way you prefer. We’ll go out for dinner, maybe catch a movie over the weekend, and spend time at home. Three of your favorite things. Celebrating you is easy and comfortable and so much fun because it means we’re always together.

For many years we spent your birthday apart while you were on spring break missions trips. We’re used to taking time to acknowledge the passing of another year at some point in March. The opportunities to celebrate you on your actual birthday are just one more bonus of this current season of life.

Reflecting on the past year the thing that stands out is your consistent presence and availability for a spontaneous conversation with the boys or a spur of the moment date. Your intentionality is strengthening your bonds with our sons at vital ages. I’m so thankful for your unwavering commitment to invest time in our sons as you have so many other young men over the past two decades.

I’ve always believed the way you approach your career impacts God’s kingdom for future generations. I see that same investment in our home as well as you engage the boys in direct conversations about their Spiritual lives and invest in their character development as well.

Your years on earth aren’t wasted, I’m just thankful you’ve chosen me to partner with you in this adventure.

2019 Christmas Gift Guide for Coaching Families

2019 Christmas Gift Guide for Coaching Families

2019 Christmas Gift Guide for Coaching Families

It’s the most wonderful and stressful time of the year for coaching families! We’re in the middle of playoffs, or starting a season, or moving, or interviewing or maybe some combination of what’s listed. We may be saying goodbye to seniors and preparing to say hello to new students. Perhaps we’re wrapping up the semester of classes and coaching in the state championships. It’s crazy.

So when family calls and asks what the kids want for Christmas it’s understandable that we don’t always remember the full list. We solved some of the challenge awhile ago by creating Amazon Wishlists and Wishlistr.com lists. Still, there are so many possibilities it’s nice to get some new ideas to add to your lists!

Here are my top suggestions for Christmas gifts in 2019 for every member of your coaching family.

Great Gifts for Coaches’ Kids

I’ll start by saying that experiences are always a great gift. Go explore the area where you grew up, take the family to a waterpark overnight, or go see a musical. Doing something special together creates memories and exposes your kids to new opportunities they may want to explore in the future.

We’ve always appreciated family who gives gift cards to fast food restaurants or movie gift cards as well. Allowing our kids to buy themselves popcorn and an icee at the movies without taking out a small loan is a wonderful holiday treat experience!

For the Active Family:

  • Does your coaching family participate in a lot of park district activities? Those fees can add up.
  • What about a membership to the local YMCA?
  • Has your child or grandchild expressed interest in sharpening their athletic skills? What about getting them a few sessions with a personal trainer?
  • Passes to the local pool for the summer are always a great gift as well, although this would require delayed gratification! 😉

For the Family that Travels:

  • Kindle Fires have dropped drastically in price and have great parental controls and expandable storage.
  • Over the ear headphones are great for allowing everyone to watching their own videos or listen to audiobooks in peace.
  • Do you have kids who are starting to drive? The Tile is a must-have for keeping track of keys, wallets, and phones.
  • DrinkintheBox and SnackintheBox have adorable and functional travel boxes for multiple snacks.

Coaches’ Kids Clothing:

It may seem easy to find a shirt on Pinterest and go have it made, but many of these adorable designs are copyrighted. Support your fellow coaches’ wives and order coaches’ kids’ apparel from one of these two great suppliers. I can personally vouch for the high-quality products.

Speaking of supporting coaches’ wives…if you’ve got a book lover or you need an extra stocking stuffer grab a copy of I am Strong like MOM

Im strong like a mom

Subscription Boxes and Services:

  • Our kids love getting their yearly Xbox Live Subscription renewed
  • Kiwi Co is awesome for the budding STEM or STEAM explorer, Engineer or Crafter
  • We Craft Box is another fun option for your crafty kids
  • Audible is great for the audiobook lover
  • Netflix, Hulu, AppleTV, AmazonPrime, Sling, and Disney Plus are all streaming services that will be the gift that keeps giving all year long.

Great Gifts for Coaches’ Wives

As long as you are ordering a t-shirt for the coach’s kid in your life you should check out the adorable items for wives as well!

My personal favorites from Friday Night Wives include Dibs on the Coach and May Your Coffee Be Strong and Your Season Be Long

The Fly Fox Apparel’s For the Love Hoodie is adorable and looks so cozy! Friends Fans don’t miss my other favorite t-shirt The One with the FOOTBALL

Other Clothing

If you Live in Cold Weather States

Kitchen Tools

Does your coach’s wife love coffee from a french press? This $8 stocking stuffer will make you the hero in her life. I don’t know why it works so perfectly, but what I can tell you is that I no longer avoid cleaning my french press!

OXO Brew french press spoon

What to add a french press to the mix? I love my stainless steel one!

Our boys love popcorn. With two teenage boys in the house, I’ve found that popcorn is a fast, cheap and semi-healthy snack to have available for days when they come home ready to raid the fridge. Microwave popcorn bags are a compromise for me. I’d much prefer they use the air popper.

Pampered Chef Popcorn Popper

The chemicals in the microwave bags plus the extra calories are negatives, coupled with the higher expense, you can imagine how intrigued I was to discover this silicone Microwave Popcorn Maker by Pampered Chef.

There is an individual size and a family size available and it works with oil, butter, or without either. This tool has been a game-changer for our family and it collapses down to store flat making it an amazing tool when it’s time to move too!

Fairtrade Items

Noonday – The Rustic Leather Tote is the only purse I’ve been using for about 2 years now and I love it! It’s lined on the inside with 2 zipper pockets. It’s also deep enough to carry everything I need and plenty of extra.

Every great purse deserves to have an awesome wallet! The Debre Wallet from livefashonable is also a fair trade item. It comes in multiple colors and is the perfect size.

Sseko Designs Ribbon Sandals allows the coach’s wife in your life to design fair trade sandals to match your team colors wherever you move!

While you’re on these sites check out the adorable necklaces, earrings, bracelets, bags, and clothing too!

Personalized Home Decor

The Culture is not the Enemy: The Culture is the Mission

When my friend Kayla posted this quote from her pastor’s wife on her Instagram page months ago I knew it was something I needed hanging in my office. I wasn’t the only coach’s wife who thought so, it inspired this printable! Kayla has several other adorable wall hangings in her store over at The Fly Fox.

Memberships

Coaches Wives Ministry is an excellent online support opportunity for wives at all levels. The yearly membership fee increases in January so this is the time to give a membership! From the website:

COACHES’ WIVES MINISTRY IS A GLOBAL OUTREACH DESIGNED TO STRENGTHEN AND EQUIP COACHES’ WIVES THROUGH DISCIPLESHIP ON THE MISSION FIELD OF SPORTS.

Fab Fit Fun This box is a fun surprise 4 times a year with seasonal gifts on-trend. From the website:

As a FabFitFun Member, you’ll get a box of fabulous finds in beauty, wellness, fashion, and fitness? hand-picked by the FabFitFun team! Each box will contain $200+ in retail value. You will receive a Seasonal Box (4) four times per year.

Great Gifts for Your Coach this Christmas

Qalo Silicone Ring

Ordell switched to a Qalo ring awhile ago and it’s held up really well. His gold band became pretty misshapen from strength training. Qalo has a great message, tons of variety and a discount for sis.life members!

Rocketbook

No more doodles all over the house! The Rocketbook system connects traditional handwriting surfaces with the power of the cloud and seamlessly transfers doodles to the computer. This book is also erasable and reusable up for a certain amount of times meaning that your investment will also reduce waste.

Backpack/Laptop Bag

North Face has a top-rated combination backpack and laptop bag. Not only will this allow Coach to carry all his gear and clothing for game day travel in one bag, but it will hold up for a long time.

Tickets to a Game

Send him and a buddy for a gameday experience. Coaches rarely get to be fans.

Memberships

  • Audible is great for coaches who are hitting the road recruiting or don’t have time to actually sit and read.
  • KlutchClub gives the gift of healthy snacks

So there you go! A few items to add to your Christmas wish lists this year. Hope you found a few new ideas.

Please note: Occasionally a link will redirect you to a website that is a business run by another coach’s wife! I’m not receiving any money for promoting their businesses. Please support them if you choose to order products from the companies I’ve highlighted.

Now What? A Post Season Reflection

Now What? A Post Season Reflection

coach's wifes post season reflections

Our season ended and its one we’re all happy to have behind us for numerous reasons. One of the hardest parts of being in the first few years with a program is that you don’t have a history with the older groups of students. The influence from how “things used to be” remains and regardless of how hard things were and how unfairly players felt they were treated, when egos get the way memories from past years get very cloudy.

It takes several seasons to attract players and parents who will buy in and consider doing things a new way. Change is hard for everyone, however when the players on a team who are supposed to be the team leaders choose a rebellious path instead it’s miserable for everyone.

While we’re eagerly waving goodbye to the season we aren’t doing while so on vacation which many assume. Life doen’t stop. Yes, Ordell no longer needs to hit the road recruitng, but he still carries a full teaching load and there is a lot of coaching that continues for coaches after the last game.

Even though its bewildering to me that many still assume coaches only show up on game day to coach the game, it’s also still surprising when they assume that they only work during the fall.

Football is a Year-Round Job

Some players will go on to play other sports. This is great! But those who aren’t competing need to hit the weight room and begin to prepare for next season. Depending on what part of the country you live in, practices will continue for part of the fall or pick back up in spring. In Illinois they aren’t allowed to start organized practices again until the summer.

Coaches Teach

As I mentioned, Ordell carries a full teaching load. He’s not unique in this. In addition to coaching many junior high and high school teachers are in the classroom all day. At the small college level coaches also adjunct classes.

This also means they are grading papers, attending meetings, working on CEU’s and dealing with all the things teachers need to do on top of their coaching responsibilities. The only thing different about the Monday after the last game is that the team meets in the weight room instead of on the field.

We All Move Forward

Fall sports are odd because the seniors graduate from the sport, but they are still around for several more months. Former teammates will be in classes and sometimes in the weight room.

It can be challenging for rising juniors and seniors to step into leadership roles when the previous seniors are still around, but great coaches know how to cast vision with the next year’s team. They know that the best thing for next season is to get encourage those new leaders to step up as soon as possible.

Moving forward also occasionally includes saying goodbye to coaches. Whenever possible it’s great to have a staff remain intact, but it’s also important to do what’s best for the program and players. Sometimes coaches aren’t a fit for a head coach’s philosophy and other times coaches choose to move on. Either way it’s okay!

We Embrace Downtime

Our weekends are amazing the first few weeks after football. They aren’t completely empty, but they last for days instead of hours, so we are able to sleep a little longer, catch up on things we’ve put off like cleaning out the closets where we’ve stashed things the past few months.

The best part about downtime it watching all those amazing tv shows and movies everyone raved about all fall and planning a few more dates throughout the month.

While many others around a coaching family may ask “now what?” when we complete the last game our family breathes a sigh of relief and eases into the part of the year.

After a decade and a half of Ordell packing a suitcase and hitting the road recruiting we are embracing the high school post season. We are grateful for the weeks when we see our favorite coach a few more hours each week.

Editor’s Note: This content was originally published in October 2018, but has been edited and updated.

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