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Multigenerational Mom Muses on Twin Toddlers & Twenty-Something Daughters

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Football Gives me All the Feels: Confessions of a Coach’s Wife

It’s the beginning of the football season once again, and there’s not too much I can say about the football life of a football wife that I haven’t said before.

You already know I love it. And you already know it makes me crazy. Some days I can’t sing its praises enough. Others, I want to wring its disembodied little intangible neck. It robs me of time and it showers me with blessings.

It is a paradox of ginormous proportions.

This past Sunday morning I sat on my back porch, the silken and slippery humid air settling and sliding off my limbs, making everything feel slow and sweet simply because it was Sunday morning.  You know, all easy like.

So I breathed in the easy. I breathed in the sweet, succulent calm, and I held it deep down in core of my soul.  And there it remains. My future calm in the storm of the impending football season.

Wordsworth was fueled by powerful emotions recollected in tranquility. Me, I’m fueled by the opposite: tranquility recollected during powerful emotions. Because starting tomorrow, and for the next five months, my life will be FILLED with powerful emotions. Wave after wave of powerful emotions. No doubt about it.

Starting with love. I’ve always had a hard, strong love for the game. It began in middle school, when I fell hard for the Dallas Cowboys of my youth and the TCU Horned Frogs of my hometown. This was no puppy love. It was true and it was deep and it was eternal.

And with that love comes butterflies – a tickling, nervous anticipation every, single game night. When I see those stadium lights, haloed in the gloaming, sparkling with the wings of a thousand frenzied moths, saluted by the cheers of a thousand frenzied fans, my belly goes downright giddy.

But along with all the love comes intense jealousy — jealousy of the time it steals away from our family, the demands it puts on the man we love most. It keeps him from us for most of the week and it keeps him from most of what our family holds most sacred: meal times and bath times and story times and bed.

He came home late the other night – for the third time this week — calves flecked with paint from lining the field. It was well past the boys’ bedtime. They had missed him. Again. And they had said so. Again. Several times. And it’s only the first week of many, many weeks we will miss him this season.

So yeah, I get jealous sometimes — of the time that it takes. And sometimes it makes me sad. And sometimes it makes me mad. Like that other night, when Mike came home late, all paint-flecked calves and sweat-stained shirt and flat-out worn-out…

But when I saw him, a calm settled over me, my Sunday Morning Calm. I remembered. I remembered that this is my love — this man and this sport. This is my life and this is my destiny — a destiny written long ago, in the helmeted stars of America’s team.

Yep, football makes me crazy. And happy. And angry. And happy. And jealous. And happy. And frantic. And happy. And, well, you name it, I feel it. All the feels. The great, big, powerful feels. Except for sorry. Football never makes me feel sorry.

 

What it Takes to Be a Football Family

It is mid-June. Summer hasn’t even officially begun– the solstice hits this week – but already the father of my children is helmet-deep in football camp and has been for nearly a month.

I am married to a high school football coach. My twin toddlers have a high school football coach for a dad. He is one heck of a father, one heck of a husband, and one heck of a coach. And as another season grinds its way into gear, I’ve been thinking a lot about how football and being a football family demand a lot of similar physical and emotional commitments.

Football, and being a football family, takes teamwork. And luckily, my husband and I make a damn good team. In his football job on game nights, my husband is up in the booth — away from the field, but very much in on the action. His daddy job at home is not that much different. He’s not on the field (football keeps him away from home most days until just before the boys’ bedtime and sometimes not even then), but he’s very much in on the action. He monitors, helps make adjustments, keeps me motivated, and provides endless emotional support. There’s no way I could run this program without him.

Football, and being a football family, takes hard work and dedication. The two of us have accentuated the importance of routine and fundamentals with our twins from the get-go. Nap times and dinner times and screen times and bedtimes are established and rarely vary. The boys know and understand our expectations, which provides me immeasurable advantage when I’m putting them through their paces alone at home during the season. They are disciplined and –for the most part – dedicated to the routine. But that doesn’t mean things can’t go wrong in an instant. Blitzes can still blindside me. Take downs can occur. Turnovers can and do happen. But discipline and vision can shift that momentum right back to the proper side again, just like in football.

Which brings me to how football, and being a football family, requires a solid game plan. Without one, your team will rarely be victorious. And even if you do have one in place, you won’t always get the W. Still, it is pure insanity to play ball without one. Since most of our family’s day-to-day offense is on this mama’s shoulders during season, our schemes must be solid and darn-near foolproof. I’ve come to rely on zone blocking and a solid running game. There’s no time for huddle (and no one around to huddle with even if there were time). Now most days, everything goes according to plan. But regardless of the amount of reps and hands-on instruction you’ve given, execution is rarely without flaws. Balls get dropped. Occasionally a player goes down. Penalties are accrued. Mama’s nerves get sacked. And that’s where my coaching husband and father to my children excels most.

I’m talking motivation, here. Because football, and being a football family, requires motivation. Twins can make life crazy. And when you’re going it alone for the vast majority of the season, you need both inner and outer motivation. With husband in my corner, I have the outside motivation covered. He knows how to give just the right pep talk to pull me back into the game, more energized and ready to succeed than before. But for those times when he’s not available for consult – those times when I have to get up, dust myself off and execute the game plan without anyone else around to bounce off ideas, I have to dig deep and rely on those hard-and-fast fundamentals. I have to trust the vision, to do what we do, run what we run, and believe in our teamwork and tenacity. We’ve tried to plan for every possible scenario, to account for every gap, and to have the flexibility to take what comes at us and roll with it.

Yes, football and being a football family requires physical demands and emotional commitments from everyone involved. And not everyone is cut out for it. There are so many lonely dinners and difficult bath times. There are so many rushed labor-day cookouts and daddy-less trick-or-treats. There are so many tears from kids who miss their daddies — and occasionally from mamas missing them too. Because there may not be crying in baseball, but believe me, there is crying in football. A lot of crying.

But most of those tears are the good kind. The happy kind. The proud kind. The kind you blink away as your boys run to the fence to give Daddy a kiss during summer practice. The kind that sting your eyes with pride as you and your boys rush the field for a hug and kiss after the game. The kind you shed after your husband reads you a text sent from a player who just secured a D-1 scholarship. The kind that run down your cheeks and off your chin after a championship run that ends in success.

The kind that unexpectedly well up when you think about how much you love your football husband, your football family, and your football life – your hard, hectic, wild and way-harder-than-you-ever-thought-possible football life.

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