I’m the coach’s wife. My husband and I have three kids and he has coached virtually everything they’ve ever played since they were old enough to play anything. He LOVES his kids, and coaching is one of the ways he shows them that they’re important to him; it’s also something he just loves to do. He’s invested in being a dad and I don’t think there’s any title he cherishes more.
Being married to a man who prioritizes sports has gotten on my nerves pretty much every year of our 20+ years together. I own those feelings, and I give them a voice about mid-way through baseball season every. single. year. No matter how many conversations we have about trying to avoid disconnect during the chaos of sports, there is without fail, a point where we get disconnected anyway.
Have you read The five love languages? Summary: there are 5 love languages and each of us gives love in one of the 5 ways, and each of us feels loved in one of the 5 ways.
- Words of affirmation – using words to build your spouse up.
- Giving/receiving gifts – he/she got me something because they were thinking of me.
- Acts of service – Doing something for your spouse that they would like.
- Quality time – giving your spouse your undivided attention.
- Physical touch – snuggling, holding hands, sex etc.
I’m #4, hands down. In fact, I think of 1,2,3,& 5 more as added bonuses than anything else. I don’t need undivided attention all the time, or even daily, but I need somewhat regular QT or I start feeling disconnected much faster than someone who isn’t a #4. Disconnectedness is brutal for a communicating-quality timer and has single-handedly been the hardest struggle to navigate throughout our marriage and parenting years, thus far.
As you can imagine, coaching football, basketball, and baseball requires a HUGE time commitment, and a lot of nights are spent at a sporting event instead of at home. A lot of weekend time is spent strategizing, creating schedules, researching drills, watching games on tv and going to coaches meetings – if we’re not at actual games. That leaves little time for my husband to be my husband and if I’m being honest, I don’t always accept that truth lovingly. I’m really good at supporting my coach/hubs in general, but I’m terrible at coming in 5th place on days I wanted to win the championship.
Baseball season is our favorite season, and WE LIVE FOR IT; it’s also the most time consuming and easily the most taxing on “us.” It’s a struggle when there’s no time for date nights or dinners at home because we sometimes have 8-10 games in a week. It’s a struggle when you can’t plan a weekend away with your man because he thinks the earth wouldn’t spin if he missed a practice or game. It’s a struggle to love a #5 when he’s not home to love or is exhausted when he is. The #4 in me feels the disconnect fiercely, and at times, I grow tired of the backseat passenger title I wear. Is he giving me that title intentionally? Absolutely not! He’s just trying to do something he loves and spend time with his kids. Is it still a side effect? No doubt about it!
I’m not a jealous person by nature, but I do at times feel jealous over the amount of time my man devotes to sports. I often wish we could go to our kids’ games together and coach and cheer from the sidelines as a couple. It may sound as though I’m not a fan of coaching and kids sports, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I love it, mostly; I just miss my husband sometimes. Sometimes, I wish I was just “my husband’s wife” and not necessarily the Coach’s.
As disgruntled as I may sound, I am the Coach’s biggest fan.
I get to watch my husband do what he loves to do, and I get to watch him do it well and with passion and enthusiasm. I get to witness the sweet moments between dad/kid that I know my kids will cherish when they reflect someday. I know other kids will look back and notice his impact even if they don’t appreciate it right now; a lot of them have no idea how invested he is. I see all the hard work and effort that goes into his teams, and I celebrate his coaching victories by his side while beaming with pride. I also feel the angst of a loss as if it were my own because even though we aren’t sitting together, I’m with him in every way. I’m in awe of his dedication to our kids and also his dedication to other people’s kids. I don’t think outsiders understand quite how much time and effort are put in by a coach who loves his team, but it’s A LOT!
There are times when I’m sitting on the sidelines of whatever sport we’re in when I hear the negative chatter in the stands when someone is upset about something coach did, or said, or didn’t do, or didn’t say. I hear the complaints when a decision is made that is disagreed with. I know where the blame is placed when a kid doesn’t start, or is taken out of a game, or is positioned somewhere other than where his/her parents had in mind. I’ve lost friendships with people who were mad at my husband over sports decisions he made. I’ve gotten phone calls and text messages from people wanting me to “talk to coach” on their/kids’ behalf. *Seriously* If you thought wearing a backseat passenger title was hard, try wearing one while fielding complaints from parents who get to sit on the sidelines and cheer with their spouse, while NOT giving up their time to do a better job. I’ve learned the hard way that the best way to navigate that is by just ignoring it altogether. *and wine* At the end of the day, I will always take his side even if it means a loss for me. I know how hard he works and I also know that he gets paid zero dollars for his time, effort, and dedication. And let me tell you, there is no one more dedicated than this man and his team of coaches!
A note from The Coach’s Wife:
A person who willingly gives up his time and energy to make a difference in not only his kids’ lives, but your kids’ lives as well, that’s a person who should be recognized, not criticized. Take a minute to appreciate being able to sit on the sidelines cheering, instead of having to be the one to make the tough calls. Know that a lot of thought goes into those coaching decisions, and be glad you’re not the one having to make them. Be glad you don’t have to bench a kid who threw a temper tantrum at a practice you weren’t at. Take a minute to appreciate that you’re not giving up your time and energy because there are men like my husband, who willingly choose to take on the sometimes thankless job. Take a minute to notice that the coach’s kids ride the pine like everyone else. Are these coaches perfect? No. Are you perfect and do you always make the right call? Also, no.
I know why this coach makes the decisions he makes because a lot of times those are the things that keep him up at night. Those are the things my non-communicating #5 likes to vent to me about when we lay in bed after a 13 hour day at the field, or on the court. The man who has real-life responsibilities and a family, a full-time job, a #4 wife, and real-life commitments; the man who can fall asleep anywhere within a minute, sometimes loses sleep over the decisions he has to make regarding every kid on his teamS. Why? Because he loves every kid on his teamS and he wants to see them grow and be their best selves. Your kid’s coach is striving for growth and is excelling at it with each new season. You should be thankful for that growth instead of finding reasons to stunt it. Coaching is not an easy job and it requires a lot of sacrifice most of which you don’t see. I see it though, and I feel it too. Think about that before you sit behind me and grumble. *Yes, I can hear you, and I can feel all the things you don’t say out loud* Think twice before you call me to complain because I love and miss that guy who is at practice with your kid, and it’s not likely that you’re going to find sympathy from me.
My husband got a phone call a couple weeks ago from our baseball league. Out of 70+ coaches in the league, he was nominated AND won, “Competitive Coach of the Year!” This is a new title for him, and I have to say, well deserved. I think he was more giddy about that than he was on our wedding day. *Rolls Eyes* They’re hosting a banquet where he and I get to go #DATENIGHT!!! and have a fancy dinner and dress up, and all the fun things that a #4 dreams of. I am thrilled for him because he deserves this honor. I am thrilled for me because I get to celebrate a baseball win without being covered in dirt and a wad of messy hair on top of my head. I just added another line to the very short list of perks of being The Coach’s Wife. I will sit on the ‘sidelines’ as he gets his award, and I will cheer him on and be beaming with pride, as always. I don’t always love being the Coach’s Wife, but I still love being his. Way to go, Coach!
Love, your biggest fan!