Tag: coaching life

Anniversary 19

Anniversary 19

Dear Ordell,

Year 19 is the year we can define by surprising ups and downs that made this one like none other. This is the year the entire globe faced a viral pandemic and our country reacted to racism in a way we’ve never seen. It’s been overwhelming and at the same time clarifying. In many ways, what we’re seeing play out on the news is confirmation of every challenging conversation we’ve had through the years. I’m thankful for every location we’ve lived and for the way you’ve prayerfully moved our family. I’m also deeply thankful God moved us ahead of 2020 to where we live now. You’ve led our family well by listening to God even in the most challenging seasons.

We’ve moved around this country for your career and I’ve tried to support you and partner with you in helpful ways. Whereas most of our marriage football has been the all-consuming factor, in the last few years there has been a shift that has allowed me to focus on a long term project I’ve felt called to pursue for over a decade. In a few weeks, my first book will release. As the submission due date neared and the tasks intensified you stepped up to fill every gap our family needed to keep moving forward. More than that, you embraced cooking as a whole new adventure and we’re all enjoying your experimentation with the smoker and grill. I’ve not said this enough; thank you for your calm and consistent support.

Serving each other in the mundane tasks with joy isn’t always easy, however, it strengths our connection as a couple as well as the ties of trust. As an added bonus, our sons see that your actions at home match the words you speak in public. I’m so thankful our sons have a visual example of how marriage is a daily partnership.

Traditional and Modern Gift Anniuversary 19: Bronze

According to the Knot—just like the traditional eighth-year gift, bronze indicates that our relationship has grown stronger. Additionally, bronze signifies health within a marriage union even through tough times. Bronze was chosen because some believe it has healing properties.

Gemstone: Aquamarine

The Knot also explains that the Aquamarine is the gemstone for anniversary 19. Interestingly, this is also both of our birthstones. The aquamarine represents protection. The stone is said to keep everything that’s bad out but still keep all the love in for your 19th anniversary. Of course, this is interesting, but not a value to hold on to any more than good luck charms.

Marriage is a Partnership

As I reflect on the past 19 years of marriage and our years dating before then it amazes me that there are still moments when we encounter completely new experiences. What is comforting is the consistency in knowing that we will walk through these situations (good and difficult) together even if it means starting by giving each other space and sitting shoulder to shoulder. I’m thankful for the partnership we’ve built and look forward to how that grows in the years to come.

Who knows what this fall holds. Will we have a football season? Will we have a season that allows our presence by your side? Will we resume online teaching and learning? Regardless of what the next adventure holds I know we’ll tackle it together.

Love you always.

Athletes Who Choose

Athletes Who Choose

athletes who choose

An educator made a comment recently as we discussed the transition to e-learning and the impact on older students. It’s one I hadn’t considered before. She said past a certain point in a child’s education teachers do not educate, students choose to learn. Her point was that a teacher can stand and give a lecture, require as many assignments as necessary for a concept to become second nature, and even if a student completes the assignments correctly that doesn’t ensure they’re learning.

We Absorb What We Want to Retain

Think about how many songs you know the lyrics to and how quickly you can recall the melody to sing along when you hear the song on the radio. Do you pause to consider the story of the lyrics? Are the words sinking in as you’re singing them? Or are you enjoying the melody? Depending on the genre of music you prefer this may not be a big deal. However, I’ll pause with me to imagine a room full of elementary age summer camp children singing the latest Justin Bieber hit Yummy. (Or can we say Yucky?)

This same principle applies to athletics. It’s always an athlete’s choice to listen. Coaches can have players watch film, repeat plays until they become second nature, run them through drills, and try to show them the bigger picture of the game plan. But if an athlete only focuses on how the play will impact them at that moment the team will find themselves in a disappointing or shall we say yucky situation.

Athletes Who Choose to Engage

Athletes who choose to engage in the process of learning the why and how will find themselves at a much greater advantage than those who simply memorize the plays, call signs, or running routes.

Athletes who choose to stay in the weight room to encourage their teammates after their lifting session rather than hanging off or stepping out to of the room keeping their attention focused on themselves will build team connections. Relationships are built over time. Leaders establish themselves as they build teammates up rather than tearing them down.

Athletes who choose to engage in the classroom let themselves up for success. Students with higher GPAs will find college much more affordable. This extends the opportunity to continue their sport after high school.

Athletes who choose to engage will find themselves enjoying the journey. Sure, the daily grind of practice is rarely defined as fun every day. However, the people who are more than teammates, those who become brothers, they make the experience memorable.

Athletes Who Choose to Be Coachable

Athletes have the opportunity to engage with their coaches and continue to learn about their sports rather than deciding they know enough to get through the game. Coachable athletes aren’t satisfied with their technique or speed. Rather, they know that with the help of an outside perspective there are adjustments that can be made to improve their abilities.

Coaches see the big picture, they have more experience to lend to the the big picture on the field or court. They understand the physical, mental, and emotional game. They also understand the strategies necessary to compete. When athletes choose to believe their coaches voices are ones to engage with beyond absorbing the information great things happen.

Just like my educator friend explained about students, at some point an athlete must choose to continue to grow. This isn’t a decision anyone else can make. However, athletes who choose to engage will thrive.

The Value of Being Present

The Value of Being Present

picture says 1000 words

I love this picture. But not for the reasons you might expect. This photo is from 2016 and someone took it after a heartbreaking loss. We were ahead most of the game and lost in the last seconds. Regardless of the outcome, the crowd was thrilled with the progress that young team made from previous seasons. We stood on that field optimistic about the season ahead. As optimistic as we felt after this game, the season ended up being one that broke our hearts in many ways. 

Athletic seasons are practically impossible to predict.  This particular season included season ending injuries, deaths of family members, and common challenges young team encounter. It is an interesting faith practice to have the majority of your family’s income determined by 18-22-year-old mens’ ability and willingness to prepare for a football game. Coaches can prepare their players, call all the right plays and still lose their job due to lack of accurate or excellent execution on the field each week.

Progress has many layers, only a few of which the scoreboard reflects. The evidence that momentum is present is something coaches measure on the practice field, in the weightroom, and in team meetings.  I remember the feeling of joy this night held as well as the ache for our team, wishing they’d had the W they truly fought hard for and deserved. But that’s not why I love this picture.

I Love This Picture Because it’s Us

There is very little to say after a hard loss. Nothing will ease the frustration. But one thing I can do is be present and this photo is my reminder that those moments matter.

As coaches’ wives we know our lives have unique aspects. For fall sports this means August thru November our weekends revolve around football games, weekends out of town, hosting people for game day, and even sometimes saying no things like family functions or church events. These days I’m either cheering from the sidelines where I pull double duty as team photographer or cheering from home while I take a weekend off to relax at home. Either way, I’m cheering on our team the best way I can that week. My presence by my husband’s side is always my choice. I love cheering on our team each week, but more than that, I delight in the opportunity to let this man I adore know win or lose I’m always his biggest fan.

In the midst of the season, it can sometimes begin to feel as if my presence isn’t enough. It is so hard to watch one you love have to carry a heavy load, and coaching always includes one. Coaches focus on much more than X’s and O’s and that W/L record. Player’s with low GPA’s, poor class attendance and bad behaviour may face game suspension. Each school sets different factors in these areas along with the guidelines from the conference requirements.

Coaches’ Carry a Heavy Burden

Study hall times are just part of the plan to support academic successes. Recruiting takes a significant portion of each week’s focus year round for college coaches. Helping to prepare players and parents for the recruiting process starts with Juniors and continues for Seniors.  With hundreds of schools to choose from high school seniors have a level of expectation that includes frequent contact, but don’t always meet the criteria coaches are looking for; this can lead to challenging conversations about accurate perspectives.

Leadership and character development also play a key factor in adding to the burden many coaches carry. Ordell works hard to surround himself with coaches who agree with his conviction to influence players using football as a tool. Regardless character development is a multi-tiered effort these days and players need mentors who can build personal relationships with them on and off the field.

To live life as an example of Christ is a key part, but not enough. All surveys and studies whether religious or secular report the same thing about Generation Z authenticity is vital. MCCP says, “This generation grew up with reality TV stars, candid photos of celebrities, no make-up selfies, and vloggers. They are used to behind-the-scenes access. Everything generation Z have been exposed to creates an expectation that they can see behind the curtain and get the real story. And this extends into every realm of life.”

Mentoring athletes on and off the field takes time and intentional relationship building.  Consider this quote from Rethinking how to pastor the ‘connected’ generation “Although misunderstood in some ways, younger generations don’t simply want to be consumers of society; they want to be contributors. As we learn to disciple young adults in their own context, we need to cultivate curiosity, encourage intergenerational engagement, and lead them to understand how the gospel transforms all areas of both their own lives and the world around them.”

As my husband’s partner I desire to lighten the heavy burden my husband carries as he leads a football program. My instinct is always to look to help, but I understand that’s not always possible. If he could delegate a task during the season so he could catch more than five hours of sleep on a regular occurrence he would. But when his job hits the time of year when demands are all-consuming daily sometimes, hourly, delegation isn’t possible. 

Presence is Valuable

I love this picture because it reminds me that sometimes my presence is enough. Listening, encouraging, commiserating. These actions are all encompassed by my presence. I succeed offering my support some some times better than others, but my intentions are always genuine. How do I know this is a helpful? Because in situations where we have opposite roles and the burden is mine to carry I rely on Ordell’s presence for comfort and to keep me steady. 

As we strive to balance a committment to prioritize our marriage and mutually support each other as we each pursue our callings, our presence matters. Whether we’re looking out at a crowd to find familiar face, exchanging a glance after a frustrating call on the sidelines, or simply standing shoulder to shoulder after a hard loss or an amazing win, the consistency of our presence FOR each other matters.

It might look like a sacrifice to an outside observer. The commitment to be present is a sacrifice. Saying yes to any choice to do something means saying no to something else. As a coach’s wife I see value in supporting my husband both for our marriage and ministry. I’m thankful for the chance to support my husband, even it if simply means holding his hand in a hard time, because standing next to him in hard times mean that I’m around to celebrate the great times together as well.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on October 24, 2016 and has been updated with fresh content.

Team Traditions: Dad’s Day

Team Traditions: Dad’s Day

dads day game thoughts

Last month Ordell and I attended the U of I vs. Rutgers game. It was my first football game at the University of Illinois and I have to admit I was not prepared for the emotions Dad’s Day would bring.

The Illini Dads Association was founded in 1922 and is believed to be the oldest in the nation. As the Dads of the cheerleaders and football players took their places on the field to lead their sons out onto the field an announcer began to explain what was happening and all I could think of was the dads of the seniors.

How many years of games had they cheered in the bleachers? How many hours spent waiting to pick up their children from practice or listening as a child rehashed the day? How many checks did they write over the years for team fees? How many pairs of shoes, extra clothes, and bags did they buy?

Now it was all ending in a few weeks. I couldn’t help but wonder if those dads were wishing they had taken a few more vacation days to attend those early games. Were they wishing the years had gone differently or were they grateful for the moment?

As the cheerleader’s dads dutifully took their places next to their daughters they were so enthusiastic, working hard to keep the crowd engaged while also enjoying their view on the sidelines of the game. They did their pushups after U of I scored and even attempted to somersault out of their positions.

The best part by far was the traditional Can-Can dance performed by the dads during the halftime show. Check out the full show here.

As a coach’s wife, I understand how invested many parents are in seeing their children succeed. The University of Illinois seems to have found a beautiful way to honor dads with long-standing traditions that are lighthearted and joy-filled that also have unique sentimental aspects each year as different families are featured.

The hardest working dads on the field that day were those of the cheerleaders, who luckily for them, took the second half off. It was a delight to see those fathers their sons and daughters with that familiar gleam of pride on that Saturday. Congrats to the University of Illinois for continuing a beautiful tradition that honors parents, athletes, and tradition. It was an enjoyable afternoon.

Coaches: Surprise Your Wives

Coaches: Surprise Your Wives

Coaches: Surprise Your WIves

Years ago I could tell that my husband was in need of a break, but as I looked at our calendars it was clear finding time was going to be a challenge because as a newer head coach he was still trying to figure out how to balance work and family. I packed our bags and booked a hotel in St. Louis and arranged for one of the coach’s wives to meet us at Elijah’s Upward basketball game on Saturday afternoon.

Instead of heading home we moved the car seats over and headed into St. Louis for dinner, dessert, and a restful evening. The next day we took our time heading back after grabbing our favorite Trader Joe’s goodies and for years I’ve known that if I ever do something like that again I need to figure out a way to pack Ordell’s laptop. It was the one thing I couldn’t get into the car without raising suspicion.

He Finally Surprised Me

Last month Ordell planned a 24-hour getaway for us that was a complete surprise for me and I have to admit I was pretty impressed. Not only did he pull off a complete surprise as far as the initial getaway, he also had additional surprises along the way.

The timing of this surprise trip was similar in that I’ve been buried in a project that has taken a lot of my focus and at the end of a very busy and extremely long football season (June-October) we needed time to have fun. Although we’ve been diligent about our weekly date nights on Wednesdays even those grow stale after a while when you are lulled into a routine of exhaustion.

Our weekend included exploring a new spa, a gluten-free bakery, middle eastern food, and some shopping. Ordell planned every detail of what we did while we were away focusing on many of our favorite things. Everything was preplanned so I didn’t have to make any decisions on than choosing a menu item. Similarly to when he was feeling exhausted in other areas and needed time away, this was a huge part of what made our time away special.

So here’s my suggestion coaches, surprise your wives.

  • Be intentional with a plan.
  • Take care of all the details from the hotel, to the date, to what will happen with the kids while you are away.
  • Prepare a budget so there aren’t any regrets when you come back either.
  • While away serve your wife. Let her sleep in if that is something she never gets to do.

I have to admit, the most shocking part of this surprise is that both our boys were in on it and neither one spilled the beans. I’m not sure if this is a good thing, because them not being able to keep secrets well has been a great comfort of mine. However, now that they are old enough to help arrange rides to and from school, I know this was helpful for Ordell.

I’m also deeply grateful for our local family members who were willing to stay overnight with the boys and carpool them around. It takes a village to pull off a surprise when you are busy, and in both our cases we needed help to make sure our boys were in good hands so we could relax while away.

If you don’t have family nearby consider swapping with a friend. I’m sure you will find that someone else will happily hand over their kids so they can have a kid-free night if you offer!

Start Somewhere

Is an out of town overnight out of reach with time or budget or both? There are a ton of ways to surprise your wife and show her you are intentionally thinking about the things SHE loves without leaving your house.

  • Send flowers
  • Show up with a babysitter and take her out for dinner
  • Arrange for someone to clean the house while you are out for the day
  • Take a day off work and send the kids away for the day

So coaches, take time every once in a while to invest in your marriage by surprising your wives. I guarantee you will both appreciate the effort.

Evergreen Senior Gifts

Evergreen Senior Gifts

evergreen gifts

One of the challenging things about finding the right gifts for seniors, besides staying within a budget, is finding a gift that students will appreciate for a long time. There are only so many trophies and plaques that will hang in an office or bedroom. In fact, most of those will end up in a box in an attic when a player goes to college or moves into their first apartment. But if you can give a future alum with an evergreen gift you can remind them of their glory days in your program and ensure that your money isn’t going to waste.

Here are 3 Unique Evergreen Gift Ideas

custom photo

Framed Photo Collage

This unique framed photo collage is a classy way to highlight a player’s time in a program. Note the paper features the school name and mascot. The jersey number is the feature of the frame but the photos can include the player and their teammates in any way you prefer. This frame is nice enough to hang in any den or office and will also look great in a dorm room.

I don’t remember where I found this image, I’d love to give credit where credit is due!

christmas ornament

Ornament

This Christmas ornament is a great way to give a gift that doesn’t need to stay up all year round. It’s simple and will store nicely so it’s likely to remain a keepsake for a long time.

Inspirational Quote

Another option is to give a gift that has a quote that carries meaning for the team. You can have just about anything engraved these days. A keychain, watch, or frame are great options depending on the length of the quote. Pound the Rock, Commitment over Comfort, Embrace the Suck Factor, EMAP, and specific Bible verses are all examples of options that would have worked for previous groups of seniors.

engraved keychain

I hope this helps you consider a few different ideas as you are looking for new ways to honor your seniors in the years to come. Perhaps it’s the fact that we’re nearing the new year, but I’m finding myself seeking more ways to minimize the clutter. Gifts are something that tend to take up a lot of packing space when we move and are always a challenge to figure out how to display in each new home. We want to honor our teams and the amazing memories we have. We have found that a yearly photo book is the best way for our family to keep a physical reminder of each year on display without overwhelming our decor.

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.

Praying in Dark Seasons

Praying in Dark Seasons

I’m writing over at The Glorious Table today. Here’s a preview:

“‘Everything is possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’” (Mark 9:23-24 NIV).

A friend recently texted and asked me to join her in praying for a miracle. She sent me a list with specific dates and a few details. As each day on the calendar arrived, we messaged to touch base. I prayed expectantly, hopefully, anxiously, and tearfully as the weeks passed.

Many times, a message with an update would leave me speechless. Disappointment is never easy to respond to in a text, and then we would learn a few days later that hope was still on the horizon. As I cried out for my sweet friend, my prayers continued to come back to a few sentences: “God, she needs to see you show up here.” “She needs to see you create beauty from ashes.” “God, she needs a miracle.” “God, please!”

The more I prayed, the more I realized that where I was praying “she” in the depths of my heart I was whispering “I.” The truth is that I also longed to see a miracle. I wanted to see God create beauty from ashes.

Dark seasons weigh heavily on us. In the Bible, we learn about the lives of Joseph, Naomi, Ruth, and Job, just to name a few, who all go through long, hard times. We also see God show up in their lives and move in amazing ways. Joseph, for example, acknowledges that his years of slavery in Egypt were for a greater purpose.

Keep reading over here

Dear Coaches’ Wives it’s Not Fair; Have Faith Anyway

Dear Coaches’ Wives it’s Not Fair; Have Faith Anyway

Dear Coaches' Wives it's Not Fair; Have Faith Anyway

It’s November which means for some coaches soon those dreaded conversations are going to start. It doesn’t matter that the team was plagued with injuries or that the star player refused to go to class making him ineligible for the latter half of the season. It doesn’t matter that a team is underfunded in scholarships or understaffed for the conference.

When a team doesn’t collect enough wins year after year many programs look to head in a new direction with the coaching staff. Rarely does the timing feel fair to coaches’ wives. We know how hard our husbands work and where the weakest links truly exist.

That player who regularly skips weight lifting because his alarm didn’t go off again and then complains that he isn’t getting enough playing time? We know the truth because there is one on every team. It’s not fair that he gets to spout off on social media while the coaching staff stays silent. I understand.

When it’s Time to Move on You Need to Have Faith Anyway

This is hardest when you know that the next coach is going to have an amazing season because of the awesome recruiting the current staff accomplished, or the bonds the upperclassman have who will lead the team well next season.

Regardless you need to remember that at every level where coaches are paid football is a business. Coaches are employees and there is an expectation of work production. It’s not fair, but it is what it is. Still, you can cling to the knowledge that God knew your time was ending even if you aren’t ready to accept things.

Have faith he is moving with you to your next opportunity and that there is a reason for the timing of everything. Embrace your new community. Don’t be afraid to bloom where God is planting you. Don’t dwell.

When Staying is Hard You Need to Have Faith Anyway

Maybe your situation isn’t about moving. Perhaps you are the ones left behind. Whether it’s because your husband receives a promotion or he interviewed for a different job and it went to someone else, you have to come to terms with living another year away from family or in a town you didn’t choose to live in other than for a job.

There are plenty of reasons coaches’ wives eagerly anticipate moving. Are you having a hard time finding your footing in your community? Is work scarce? Is it more expensive than you anticipated? Is there someone on staff that grates on your nerves? Have you convinced yourself a new location will make you happy when the truth is you need to learn to be content in all circumstances? (Philippians 4:11)

You’re disappointed and feeling like life isn’t fair because you see all these other families moving and you’re stuck in your community for another year. I get it, I’ve been there. You need to have faith anyway. You never know, there may be someone pretty amazing you need to connect with this year. Look up! Don’t miss out!

You aren’t Promised a Fair Life – You Need to Have Faith Anyway

For some reason, many Americans believe that life is about fairness. Interestingly, fairness has a fluid definition. Each person believes life is fair when they receive what they want when they want it which is odd since this principle doesn’t hold true for Christians in most countries.

God never promises us life on earth will be easy. In fact, we read quite the opposite in the book of James.

James 1:5-8 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. v. 12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial. But what about those verses about faith just before? When we ask for wisdom in faith God will give us what we ask for, and James writes this with confidence because it is something that is a part of Jewish history and a part of his family’s story.

James is the brother of Jesus. He would have known his Jewish history growing up attending temple, and certainly knew his brother’s story well. Hebrews 11 summarizes stories of those who gained God’s approval through faith. (v. 39)

Hebrews 11 :1-3 says “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith, we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.”

  • Faith is the assurance of things hoped for
  • Faith is the conviction of things not seen
  • By faith we understand

Hebrews 11:7 Noah was warned by God about the flood and told to build an ark which wiped out all of humanity other than Noah’s direct line. By faith Noah trusted God would sustain them and in Genesis 9 God creates a covenant with Noah.

Hebrews 11:8 Abraham by faith trusted God’s promise that he would have as many descendants that number the stars in the sky even before Ishmael and Isaac were born. v 11 By faith Sarah, past the childbirth years, became pregnant.

Hebrews 11:23 Moses by faith was hidden by his parents rather than killed at birth by Pharoah’s command and given to the Egyptian Princess. By faith, Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt.

Hebrews 30 Joshua by faith led the Israelites around the walls of Jericho for 7 days until they fell down as they began their battle to take the Promised Land.

John 19:30 Jesus by faith said “It is finished” while hanging on a cross sacrificing his life for our sins. Trusting God’s plan was best even though it hurt at that moment more than anything we could begin to imagine.

It Takes Courage

Having faith rather than clinging to the desire for a fair life takes courage. When we exchange the false narrative that we can have control for the conviction of things not seen there is a steadiness that grows.

We exchange anger and frustration for peace, anxiousness for calmness, fear for trust, and sadness for joy. This doesn’t mean that we won’t have moments of mourning. It doesn’t mean we won’t ever feel disappointed. However, we will understand that God is present with us as we mourn and there will be an underlying understanding of a bigger picture.

When You’re Tempted to Cling to Fairness

So here’s the thing Coaches’ Wives. As November wraps up you may find yourself tempted to yell “It’s not fair!” and I want you to know I understand.

But I think you are stronger than you give yourself credit for, and so I’m going to encourage you to dig deep starting today. Start reading over some of these stories from Hebrews 11. Read the Gospel of Luke or John. What does it look like to have faith that’s so courageous God inspires people to document it for all believers to study for generations?

Find your people. Tell them you may need them to remind you to have faith this month. Ask them to hold you accountable now, and if you aren’t praying together regularly, now is the time to start.

You will get through whatever this month holds. And if you need some extra support you know where your Friday Night Wives are hanging out. Come find us. Hear our stories. We’ve been there.

Senior Day Gift Ideas

Senior Day Gift Ideas

Senior Day Gift Ideas - Lessons from the Sidelines

The season is wrapping up which means it’s almost time to say goodbye to another group of seniors. Even though many won’t graduate until May, Senior Day is the day that they are honored by the team.

It’s always special to see the parents stand on the field and flank their athletes. Depending on how the school runs things sometimes you will hear a fun memory from the past four years or perhaps what the next few years hold for each player.

When it comes to gifts I’ve always tried to consider something a student will want to keep with them in their dorm room or apartment. A signed football is nice, however, not everyone is going to have room to display items like that in an office. And not every wife will understand that footballs are living room decor.

With that in mind, I’m offering up some suggestions as you consider what you might give (or suggest your Booster Board give) your senior athletes this season.

Apparel

The Replica Jersey is always a favorite. The players are always trying to take their jersey with them anyway. A replica isn’t going to cost as much to replace as the team jersey, and it is shaped differently so that post-athletic body will be able to enjoy the apparel a little longer.

gift replica football jersey

These are a great way of saying “You are always part of the team.” as well as “We can’t wait to see you at homecoming.”

Local business owners who talk about the glory days are also welcome to display their jerseys if they prefer that to wearing them.

Other apparel items you might consider could include a special Alumni designed sweatshirt, a hat, or even an embroidered bag.

Mini Helmets

The local barber is an alum of the high school where Ordell coaches and he loves to talk about the glory days. The barbershop decor also reflects his love of football complete with a row of helmets.

While everyone may not have space for a full-sized helmet, these mini helmets are always a hit.

Gift Cards

Basic, but useful. Barnes & Noble, Amazon, gas cards, Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, and Itunes are all great options that are not going to go to waste. If you live in a need-based area this may be the kindest gift you can give. It also makes a great add on to another gift.

Photobook

If you have access to photos consider putting together a flipbook for each player with great memories of the team. You don’t have to personalize them, but of course, that’s a nice touch.

Check out this Pinterest board of posters. Fewer images, but still special memories!

Looking for Something for the Mama’s?

Flowers are a traditional gift for players to give. Check out this adorable football rose I found on Etsy! What a fun way to make a memory last and help your players say thanks to their moms for all the years of playing taxi driver all those loads of stinky laundry!

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