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Being a Coach’s Wife: A Blessing and a Curse

I wanted to title this post, Basketball is My Husband’s Mistress, but then I thought maybe that was a bit dramatic. Truly though, I have been the wife of a basketball coach for almost 6 years now and I am here to say that’s it’s not getting easier and in fact, it’s getting more challenging.

Trying to Find Balance

Most things get easier with time, but in this case, the opposite is true. In the beginning we just had 1 child to care for. He was old enough to enjoy going to the games with me and it was easy to meet up and have family time even if it was at the gym, after school and before practice or games.

Fast forward  6 years. Now, we are sitting four kids deep, building a new house and my husband now is the head varsity coach for the men’s basketball team. And he and is passionate about transforming and improving the whole program.

Put all of those things together and you get one very tired, overwhelmed, lonely and sometimes ungrateful wife and mother.

It’s Not All Bad

But then there are days that I feel energized, riddled with anticipation of the team my husband and his staff will create to take on another season. It’s fun to get to know these young men who look up to my husband and I feel so much pride in what he does. Because for him, it’s not just basketball, or winning or losing, it’s about making a permanent impact in the character of these boys.

So here are a few things that will give you better insight (or someone to relate to if you are a fellow coach’s wife) into the life of a woman who has to brace herself for a major shift in life from November to February every year.

Coaching Is Year Round

The season may technically be from November to February, but this is a year long commitment.

With exception of a few weeks throughout the year, there are scheduled open gyms and weight lifting a few times a week. Summer is packed with different team camps, summer leagues and basketball camps for school kids 3rd-7th grade.

Coach has also committed to running an intramural league once his season ends for these same kids. This is A LOT of basketball. So if you don’t love the sport your spouse is coaching, the position could get miserable. Thankfully, I love basketball.

Sacrifice Is the Name of the Game

Being a coach and also having a family means that EVERYONE makes sacrifices. The coach, the spouse and the kids.  When my husband first was asked to coach, he asked me what I wanted him to do. Even though I knew he loved the game, the kids and coaching, I also knew that he would have turned that position down if I had said no.

But I said yes. And I have said yes to it every single year.

Each year since then, we have survived and come out the other end stronger. My husband sacrifices time with his family. His children sacrifice time with their dad. I sacrifice time with my husband and partner. But if you accepted the position, then you accepted the good with the bad and you do what you can to make the bad a little easier.

Is it easy to get all four kids bundled up and to the varsity game that usually starts close to their bedtime? No. But once we are there, we love seeing daddy in action. My kids are so excited to wave and try to steal some hugs and kisses during halftime.

Some days, because of away games or late games we can’t make, it’s not uncommon for us to not see my husband for two whole days. And sometimes, when I really, REALLY want to put the kids to bed on time, I will keep them up so that they can see their dad. I bite my tongue as my husband wrestles with them and riles them up because I know he’s trying to make up for lost time. 

He Will Come Home

Being a coach’s wife is not like being a single mom. How do I know this? Because I was one for 5 years.

It was just my son and me before I met my husband. And let me tell you that the lonely I felt then and the lonely that I feel during basketball season are not the same. Are they both hard? Yes! Do you find yourself carrying the load of family on your back alone? Yes!

But as a single mother, it was 100% of the time. Everything was on me, I had to provide financially, spiritually, mentally and physically for my son all on my own. I went to sleep alone and woke up alone. I relied on myself. As a coach’s wife, I am physically alone with my children the majority of the time now. But I know I am not alone in this life.

My husband provides for us with his full time job as a teacher and as a coach. He still leads his family in the direction we have agreed we want to go. He still comes home at night to us, even though many times, dinner is over and the kids are in bed and he is exhausted. Our heads hit the pillows together and that’s comforting to me. Because after a very long and tiring day of parenting alone, I know we are in this together.

The Blessings

Although there are so many things that make it hard to be a coach’s wife, there are so many things that turn out to be blessings. 

I feel pride as I sit behind my husband’s bench and cheer his team on. My kids get to see him live out his dream and do something he’s passionate about. My husband is fulfilled in life largely due to the fact that he is coaching basketball. I love seeing the young men on the team grow physically and mentally over the four years we get to know them. And the graduation invitations we get from these boys and the visits back home from college with a text to their coach asking if they can come to an open gym.

I love opening my home to these boys and feeding their endless and hollow stomachs. My sons and daughter look at them in awe, as if they are real-life NBA players. I have received such kindness from (most of) the parents of these fine men. They always make sure we are doing well during the season and ask about our kids. I love the sense of community and family that it brings to our life.

It’s Complex

So, next time you come across a coaches wife, no matter the sport, just know that they probably have a very complex relationship with the game. It’s a love/hate relationship. One you just can’t let go of. And one you don’t want anyone else taking over. It’s a blessing and a curse. It’s the love of the game and players, but hate for the time apart.

If you have a child on one of these sports teams, remember that the coach is not just a coach, but may also have a family missing him dearly at home. Although my feelings are sometimes mixed and confused, there is one thing I know for sure: I am proud to be married to a coach. 

 

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