Pre-Season Camp Curse

Pre-Season Camp Curse


If you have ever been around a coaching family as their season begins you may have noticed a pattern. As soon as players report disaster strikes. While many assume this is coincidence, seasoned coaches’ wives know better. This scenario has what I have titled The Pre-Season Camp Curse. Lest you think I am being overly dramatic I’ve inventoried the past 17 Augusts and I’ll highlight a few of my favorite camp memories below.

Past August Disasters:

  • Three years in a row Ordell and I both broke our cell phones in August once accidentally emerging them in water on the same night while in different states.
  • One year a “quick roof repair” ended with on coach falling off our roof and Ordell in the ER after stepping on a nail (through work boots) that was likely 50 years old.
  • My favorite year was the one where both cars picked up nails in the tires on the same day and after returning from the second tire patch repair I discovered a “helpful” neighbor had called to have our water turned off due to a water puddle on the driveway.
  • That same home in August had a collapsed pipe which took 2.5 weeks to repair, causing our family to move onto campus for camp and live in a tiny guest house. Then upon returning home, we discovered the pipe repair had invited mice.
  • August is the month we accidentally leave the car lights on all night and awake to dead batteries.
  • It’s the month appliances break down.
  • The bank has messed up check deposits and then applied fees for overdrawn accounts.
  • Levi ended up in the ER one year for a massive poison ivy exposure where he ended up with a steroid shot and week of meds.
  • We had a major storm come through and a dying tree limb fell tearing the electrical box off our home and a neighbor’s and I awoke to a blocked in car and four men in the driveway arguing about who was going to pay for the tree removal…none of which was my husband.



Here’s How I Handle the Curse

While I can chuckle now at the insanity of past August disasters, I’ve learned that it’s impossible to avoid the crazy. What will happen will happen so instead, I’ve learned to implement a few strategic August boundaries to minimize the effects of the Pre-season Camp Curse.

Prep Ahead

Each summer I spend a little time adding meals to the freezer in anticipation of the days when dinner time is hectic in August. By preparing the basics ahead of time the expense of a “disaster” is reduced. For example, when the oven breaks we don’t need to eat out. Dinner is in the freezer. When the car breaks and we’re stuck at home we don’t need to order pizza, because dinner is ready.

I also prep ahead by using August to turn over clothing wardrobes, gathering school supplies and purging the house. These tasks keep my kids busy in those last days before school which minimizes fighting. These things also set us up to cost a bit through the fall. The yearly routines are necessary so it’s not seen as busy work.


Much of August is spent on the football field, so there isn’t much time for fancy meals. Fresh veggies and grilled meat are enough to keep everyone running and reduces the grocery store stops as well.

The calendar is also simplified. We have one commitment at the beginning of August. Football. This doesn’t mean we don’t spend time with friends, but we do eliminate many things from our calendar. We don’t travel (we’ll do enough of that September-December), we don’t have overnight visitors (everyone sleeps in their own beds), and we don’t overschedule our days.

Ask for Help

When I awoke to zero electricity and a bunch of strange men in my driveway I couldn’t call Ordell, but I could call my friend Sharon. Her husband, a lineman was likely to have some idea of what I needed to do and say. Turns out Sharon did too and she also knew the men so she could put my mind at ease and help me ask the right questions.

When the pipe collapsed I asked friends if we could crash at their homes until on-campus housing was available instead of dealing with a home without water. This may seem silly, but I know plenty of coaches’ wives who would rather go it alone than ask for help…and it’s completely unnecessary.

When the boys were little I found babysitters in August so I could get a break from being alone with my boys all day. Simple things like running errands were no longer stressful and we were all happier in the end.

While the camp curse is frustrating, it doesn’t need to completely derail you! Take a breath, ask for help and head to the football field. All will even out once pre-season camp ends. And until then…may the odds be ever in your favor. 😉

Camp Is Coming

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We are a few days away from camp starting here. Illinois has a mandatory off week that lifts on August 7th. I’ve watched my coaching friends rejoice as players return to campus for a few days now and I find myself smiling. I’m smiling because this year is different. We aren’t welcoming players this year, they already live here. 🙂

That isn’t the only thing that we aren’t doing:

  • We aren’t squeezing in the last quality family time for months
  • We aren’t stocking the office with food to ensure our favorite coach eats
  • We aren’t saying no to hanging out with people
  • We aren’t prepping the boys for all of the hellos and time focused on everyone but them (in their eyes)
  • We aren’t filling the calendar with activities in the hopes of distracting the kids from the increased stress level.

Distance has revealed that our family was living life on a hamster wheel fogged over with stress. For me in particular, some of this stress could have been released, but the vast majority of it came from a lifestyle that had an unbalanced scale. 90% of the time, energy, and effort was expelled outward with about 10% reserved inward. This might seem reasonable to those of you running the rat race that is college athletics, but I promise you it is a recipe for exhaustion both physically and mentally.

Self-care is not just a buzz word, it is a vital part of living a healthy life. It isn’t something that can be taught in a “do as I say, not as I do” format. Self-care is understood when modeled.

Camp is coming just as it does each fall. This year we are celebrating:

  • Camp is no longer all consuming.
  • Gratitude is present
  • Dinners at home
  • A present Dad
  • Friday nights under the lights

Good luck to my favorites around the country! I’m cheering you on at Olivet (IL and MI), Greenville, Graceland, YSU, others I can’t think of right now. Do yourselves a favor and say no the next 3 things you are asked to do… and think of me and smile when you do so.


The Season Stock Up List

Thoughts From the Sidelines

Football season is here! Weeks of summer practice have been replaced with…well, actually weeks of practice. But now there are games to prepare for and that has increased the energy level in our household.

Time is short with all of our weekends book for the next several months. I’ve learned that stocking up on some of our favorite things now will help to stave off the midseason meltdown that creeps up out of nowhere. Coaches’ wives you know what I mean. When a balanced meal seems overwhelming and you realize your bonus stache of toiletries and snacks is gone so you panic to order enough food to last the rest of the season and then you are still eating through things in February? Just me? Ok then.

Stocking up has become a preseason tradition for another reason. Since Ordell became a head coach I’ve found that stocking the office with staff favorites is a tiny way I can show appreciation for how hard the coaches work. I want to add there are ZERO affiliate links in this post. Just one wife passing on tips that will hopefully help others.

Here are my favorite season stock ups:

Protein Powder

With meals on the run happening way more than I’d like to admit protein shakes have become a staple for both Coach and me. I’ve hunted around and tried more expensive shakes. This brand is the balance of cost, ingredients, taste, and product quality that works for us. I order these via Amazon Prime for the best price and of course the convenience factor.


Macrobar minis are another go to for our crew. The variety pack ensures we all have our favorite bars around. The calorie count on the mini is a perfect snack portion or help to round out a meal on the run.

“MacroBars™ Minis are cold-pressed, nut-butter based nutrition bars that offer a chewy and filling experience. Made from simple, clean ingredients, all MacroBars™ are certified vegan, gluten-free, organic, R.A.W., C.L.E.A.N., kosher and non-GMO project verified. Our mini version provides maximum taste with minimal calories. Only 90-110 calories of pocket-sized energy and nutrients, MacroBar Minis are a delicious and healthy snack for kids and adults who are always on-the-go.”

The best part about this treat for our family is the 25% discount I receive with my free Sisters in Sports Membership!

Dried Mango

This is a favorite road trip food. Trader Joe’s offers a spiced chili version. Whether sweet or spicey we can’t get enough dried mango.

Deep Blue

Between running around at practice, all the time on our feet at games and of course the bleachers Deep Blue is our best friend for our aging bodies. I am not exaggerating when I tell you we each have our own tube in our bedside tables.

Office Supplies

Do we have any paper? I need another pen. Any dry erase markers in the laundry this week? If it’s not my kids it’s Coach on the hunt for yet another office supply. Thankfully this is the time when things are easily accessible and put on clearance.


It never fails. We are constantly breaking and losing sunglasses when we need them most. BOGO sales and summer clearance are perfectly timed for these as well.

Craft Supplies

With extra time alone I’ve found that fall is the perfect time to get lost in learning a new crochet pattern or embroidering hand towels. I can also curl up next to my guy as he breaks down film and still feel productive at the same time.

Marshmallow Pumpkins

This tradition dates back to my college years. This fall treat screams football to me now and is the perfect addition to a tense game. I’ve been known to mix them with peanuts to “balance” things out a time or two. 🙂

Freezer Foods

I spend time in August baking muffins for quick school day breakfasts. I also take the time to put together freezer meals that can be quickly dumped into the Instant Pot or Crock Pot. Even two hours of work can create dinners spaced out over a few months. (A posts dedicated to this is coming soon!)


Lots of “motivational speeches” leads to hoarse voices.

On Guard Beadlets

All that sharing of water bottles as well as close quarters in locker rooms is a recipe for strep throat or the flu. the lack of sleep doesn’t help either. This extra immunity boost is a “fall through flu season” addition to our daily routine.

Other Wives Suggest

When I posted this blog in a coaches’ wives group another stock up suggestion was offered.

Renee said she stocks up on Tailgating supplies.

Jenna compiled an awesome list HERE (love her home decor idea!)

Alyssa offers ideas for a coach’s survival kit HERE

One of the other things we try to do at the beginning of the football season is to find new game day clothing. Sometimes we add a hat or scarf to our collection, other times is the cool new sweatshirt with that new logo. Taking the time to find a game day shirt reminds our boys that they represent their dad at games. What are your season preparation tasks? I’d love to hear!