"See you in December..."

I grew up under the Friday Night Lights of Texas High School Football. As the daughter of an athletic trainer, I guess you could say I also grew up under the glare of the gymnasium lights and those that illuminated baseball diamonds and tracks. But since this is Texas, I lived for those fall Friday nights. My Mom crisscrossed the Metroplex taking my sister and me to the countless football, basketball, and baseball games (not to mention the track meets that were my least favorite), so that we could see our Daddy in action because he was rarely home on a Friday night in our childhood memories. His seasons really didn't end--one rolled right on into the other until summer. Thankfully, our Dad valued quality over quantity in terms of time, so he always made up for his absence when we were together. And I know that my sister and I both agree--that even though high school sports took much of our Daddy's time and attention--we wouldn't have had it any other way.

Proof: We both married high school football coaches. We often joke that we knew exactly what we were getting into so we have no reason to complain. Honestly, I think we were meant to marry coaches because we both "GET IT." We grew up with this lifestyle--the Friday night games, forming ragtag gangs with the other coaches' kids, hanging out in the field house, the late-night coaches' parties, not seeing much of our Daddy on Saturdays and Sundays. But as a kid, the fun outweighed the sacrifice. Honestly, some of my best memories of my childhood are associated with a high school sporting event--rather it be going hoarse from cheering the Stallions on to victory or heading to Austin for a state basketball tournament. Even though we didn't have our Daddy around as much as we liked, Katy and I were (and still are) so PROUD to be Coach Hart's daughters. We knew what he did MATTERED to a great number of people, and he was widely respected for that; it was just a magical way to grow up, knowing that my Dad was not just a hero to me but to many.

But I'll be honest: it's different on the other side--as the wife of a coach. This is my fourteenth football season on the wife side, and I'm here to tell you it ain't easy.

It's August and that means it's high school football time in Texas. As coaches gather in field houses for meetings and kids start two-a-days in smaller districts, I think it's important to remember this: behind many high school football coaches stands a family that makes sacrifices. Coaching comes at a cost. It always does. And that cost is time away from family. I'm going to take the liberty to speak for many coaches' wives when I say this: when you are tempted to cuss and criticize that coach this football season, remember, he's not trying to lose. He's not missing precious time with his sweet kids and wife to screw it all up, contrary to what you might think. But let's keep it all in perspective; high school coaches are counting on the brains and abilities of teenage boys to win football games. They are hanging their hopes, dreams, and careers on fifteen to eighteen year old kids. That's not an excuse; it's a fact.  People outside the coaching world have NO IDEA the amount of hours that coaches put into game preparation. But it's up to the players to execute, and sometimes, it just doesn't go as planned. And please remember that coaches are human; they make mistakes--just like we all do. That's football; that's life.

Countless coaches' wives across Texas are kissing their husbands good-bye today. They will become football widows, pseudo-single moms, as their husbands devote their time to film study, practice, and most importantly--the players. Our husbands are sacrificing time with their own kids so that they can make a tremendous impact in the lives of other people's kids. And that's why we can kiss them good-bye today and say "See you in December" (because it's August, and every team is headed for a State Championship in August). We do it for more than wins...we do it because we love this game, as much as it drives us insane. We do it because we love our husbands; we love them for their passion and their dedication to making a difference in the lives of student-athletes all across this state. As cliche as it sounds--it's true. These coaches will become father-figures, motivators, teachers, disciplinarians, and true mentors to thousands of young men. It's not just time to win football games. It's time for coaches to mold character. Win or lose, lives will be changed on football fields all across Texas this season. And THAT'S why I have cherished growing up from a coach's kid to a coach's wife. I love knowing that in some small way, I'm still a part of that great community of coaches--true life-changers.

So when you see a coaches' family embrace on the field after a game this fall, rather it's win or lose, say a prayer of thanks for that man and the family that stands behind him. As he kisses his wife and hugs his kids, please realize that it might be one of the few moments that the family will share over the weekend. Because the coaches will go back to the field house on Saturday, and most of them will return on Sunday, to prepare for the next team, to try to figure out how to WIN the next game. Because that's what we value in this world--the winners. But I think a man who devotes his time and heart to a group of young men--to bringing out the best in them--I think he's already a winner. But I realize the world doesn't always see it that way.

Today I kissed my coach good-bye and sent him off into the 2013-2014 season. Just like my Mama did all those years ago, the girls and I will crisscross the Metroplex to cheer on his team. And when the game is over, we will be on that field, win or lose, to shower him with hugs and kisses because we are his family. He will always be our hero, no matter what the score board says.

Here's to my favorite Coach. See you in December, Sweetie. Go Jags!

Landry & Peyton with their favorite coach.
(I told you that we love football in this family!)

Comments

  1. Amen to that!!! I didnt marry a coach but u was coach pittmans daughter and one of coach harts trainers! Countless sporting events between supporting my dad and my brothers

    ReplyDelete

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