Monday, October 26, 2015

Giving Thanks

Our experiences as football families are usually some of the best times of our lives.  Usually.

Today, I'd like to thank someone I don't even know.  I'd like to thank the person who anonymously used social media to call for my husband to be fired.  Really.  Thank you.  For once, I'm not being sarcastic.

Thank you for (inadvertently, I am sure) causing at least a hundred people to show support of Mr. Coach.  People came out of the proverbial woodwork commenting on how ridiculous the request was.  Current students, former players, parents, friends, other coaches..and especially other coaches' wives were quick to be the supportive and wonderful people with which this job comes standard.

Thank you, anonymous Sir, for reminding us all why we do this.  Thank you for causing us to reflect on all of the kids over the years that have grown and become young men within this program, and  programs all over the country just like it.....whether games are being won or not.

Thank you for justifying the hours spent, not on the green acre of turf, but on the things that really matter.  Things like sitting with a kid while he recounts how he can't handle life at home anymore because his dad is cheating on his mom.  Or his mom's boyfriend is doing drugs in the house.  Or they don't have enough money for football shoes. Thank you for reminding us how it feels to help these kids become men.

Thank you too, for reminding us not that it is about raising a Heisman trophy winner, but rather, that it is that feeling you get as a coach when a kid finally "gets it."  When he finally runs the play correctly.  Finally gets that tackle.  Finally gets to experience what it feels like to wriggle into that varsity jersey on a Friday night.  And you have the same chest-swelling pride in him that you have in your own child.  That's what coaching is about.  Thank you for reminding us of that.

Thank you for causing us to reflect on all of the young men that leave a program and come back to say thank you.  Those moments bring us to tears.  There is no possible way to quantify or qualify what that means to us.   You'll never know how thankful we are to you for causing us to revisit all of the times adult former players have let us hold their newly born children, or honored us with an invitation to their wedding or high-fived my child at a college football game as they wear a collegiate jersey.

Much thanks to you for focusing on my husband and not any of his assistants.  These are the true unsung heroes of the gridiron.  Thank you for not dragging their names into any of your posts.  They put in as many hours as Mr. Coach and get no recognition for them.  Nor do they get any public credit for the wins for which they are equally responsible.  They are the ones that travel 200 miles on a rainy Monday night to scout a team or play a c-team game in a cow pasture.  I really appreciate you not calling for their jobs too.

Thank you personally, from me.  You've made me a better parent.  I get to answer questions from my 11 year-old about why anyone would want daddy to lose his job.  I really wanted to answer with ire and immaturity.  But, I took the high road.  I explained there will always be bad people out there that don't think before they talk.  I used it as a reminder that our actions and words have consequences.  I used it to remind my children that everyone is entitled to an opinion.  And those people who put their names and faces with their opinion are respected.

Your actions also remind me of all of my sisters in this crazy sorority we call Coaching Wives, and how very much I appreciate and love them.  How they all gave me the "We're with you-we know what you're going through-hang in there" look that we all share.  I love them.  I had forgotten to tell them that.  Thank you for reminding me.

So, please accept this digital fist-bump of gratitude, Unknown Tweeting Man.  You make coaching memorable.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Second and Forever

You spend any time watching any kind of football, and you'll likely hear, "Second and forever."  This, for the uninitiated, basically means that it is second down and your team has somewhere between 20 and 99 yards to go for a first down.  We hear it a lot at our games.  *Ahem*

Not today.

Today, "Second and forever" refers to a coach's use of the the word, "second."  As in:

"I have to run down to the high school for a second."

This has to be the biggest lie a coach will ever utter.  Even bigger than, "I'll be home by 6."

Back story.  Invariably, there are constant demands on a head coach and, consequently his family also suffers the slings and arrows of said demands.  He will receive calls and texts at all hours of the day, all days of the week.  And they are always from either male children aged 14 to 18 (also referred to as "football players") or parents who have given birth to one of the aforementioned children.  And, since these children are fueled mostly by raging levels of testosterone and extemporaneously administered saccharine, they are complete idiots.  They forget things.  They have no concept of the space-time continuum.  They assume Mr. Coach is just a fixture of the high school.  That he exists there, solely.  That he will always be there.

Open letter to team members:  Hey, Testosteridiots!  He has a life!  He does not live at the school!  He has a family!

Nobody ever reads my open letters.  *stunned silence*  And, so, we get the calls. Let me just catalog the calls for you so far this season.....

"Coach, I think I left my cell phone in the school."  (Good.  This is called, "How you get homework done."  Or "Time to interact with your family.")

"I can't find my helmet."  (SERIOUSLY?!!!?!?!?  Your HELMET?  You are required to have it on your damn noggin throughout the entire game!  How is it an item from which you get separated?  You realize this means your head and freaking body were somehow existing apart for a period of time?)

"The lights are still on at the field."  (This actually is Mr. Coach's fault.  He left them on.  It is like toilet seats and bathroom lights.  He seems to have issues with things that need to be turned off or put down.)

"I think I left the equipment shed unlocked when you gave me the key."  (Other than a couple of tackling dummies and some beat up orange cones, there ain't much to steal in there.  I say, leave it.)

Sadly, I pretty much knew all of these trials were part of being a coach's wife, so I really have very little room to complain.  I've always known I would be second to football.  But I really feel like it should have been part of a pre-nup agreement or at the very least part of our vows:

"I promise to love you.  Second and Forever."

Monday, April 6, 2015

Time to Engage!

I live and view my life through the distorted lenses of pharmaceuticals, children and football.  (To clarify, I dispense drugs, not take them, although sometimes I am sorely tempted...)  So, it is through those lenses that I have my greatest epiphanies.  When I was watching The Incredibles with my children, I was struck by the following scene with the gale-force realization:  Mr. Coach needs to ENGAGE!

Watch, please.  Then we discuss.

First of all, replace Mr. Incredible with Mr. Coach.  And the newspaper should be replaced with a game film.

Secondiflily, replace all that stuff about "Gazer Beam" with something like:

"Heavens to Mergatroid!  Holy escrement!  The *insert random opponent name here* is going to run a spread offense out of a no-huddle!  I have GOT to call *insert name of defensive coordinator here*!!!!"

Thirdly, add the following insults to the sweet little children's banter:
"You're an idiot!"
"You're a stupid idiot." 
"You're a stupid, dumb idiot." 
"I wish you were never born!"
"Mom said it's Dad's fault, genetically speaking, that you're not a boy!" 
Fourth-a-mundo, instead of:  "How was school today?"....
"Don't make me put down this cigarette and 64 oz. gas station pop to cut up your food, you little cretins!" 
After all of those replacements, this video is pretty much how our nights go.  There could be a grease fire on the stove, several children that are not ours running through the house, a random sighting of our stupid canine escaping out the open front door and the phone ringing (it's a coach or the newspaper or a player...).  All the while, Mr. Coach is blissfully unaware that ANY of it is transpiring.  Because, of course, he is immersed in football.  Or self-pity.  Or a hubris attack.

I dream of yelling,  "COACHER!  IT IS TIME TO ENGAGE!!!!"  And then I dream that he will pick up the table and shake the children dangling from the legs underneath.  But, in reality our lives are NOTHING like a cartoon. 

The last time I was vehemently "discussing" with him that he "engage,"  he said absentmindedly:  "Uh huh.  Just a sec, honey.  I need to watch this video of myself being interviewed by iFiberOne TV about the prospects for the upcoming season."  (TRUE STORY ALERT!  NO EMBELLISHMENT!  GOD'S HONEST TRUTH!)  Sadly, the degree of truth makes it no less agonizing.  Thank goodness the collective viewing audience of iFiberOne TV is about 6 people.  Total.

I eventually snap back to reality and realize that the first, last and only engagement I will ever get was the day I got a ring from Mr. Coach. But, I still can dream.  Maybe I can get at least one of my kids to be invisible.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Click Clack

You know that inherent need we women all have?  The one where we need to right all wrongs against us, no matter how infinitesimal, how petty, how ancient in history?  The dream we have where, all those men, boys and pretty girls that shunned us in our youth because of our gangly limbs, our braces, our awkwardness are lined up.  And we (in slow motion, of course) step out of a limo, in a little black dress, and our 3-inch heels hit the pavement...CLICK CLACK.  And they just stand there, mouths agape, thinking, "Damn.  She grew up.  What the hell was I thinking!?!?!"  You know that dream, right?  You understand that need to shock others?  To be revered?  To punish?  To require atonement?  To AWE?  Right? 

OK.  Good.

'Cause I've got another way to do it.  And it saves thousands of dollars you would have otherwise spent on a limo, a black dress and expensive slow-motion, stop-action filmography.


It is knowledge of a vernacular that NO man will ever, ever, ever assume you know.  They'd bet thousands that you've never heard of these terms, much less be able to explain them.  And when you drop some of this bad ass knowledge on them, they will be standing there, mouths agape, in awe of your grasp of this part of football.  100% guarantee it.  And all it requires is that you can count to 9 and know the first 3 letters of the alphabet.  Cheerleaders need not read any further.

The term "technique" is used in football differently than other sports.  Coaches and scouts refer to a "one technique" or a "three technique."  These terms are considered exclusive man territory.  You will now be shown how to plant your flag in man territory after a hostile take over figuratively involving serfs and Ewoks armed with nothing more than spears and painted faces.


This is simple but it is imperative.  Know it.  Learn it.  Conquer.

A basic offensive line set looks like this:


MNEMONIC DEVICE ALERT!:   Every Truly Good Coach Gives The Wife Roses

(Note that this is the LINE.  This does not represent the entirety of the offense.  All of those other positions with names like "Favre" and "Wilson" and "Montana" and "Rice" on their jerseys are not on this diagram.  They are svelte.  They are sinewy.  The people on THIS diagram are mushy.  Obese.  Have man boobs.)

Ok.  Got it?

Ok.  See those little holes between the linemen?  These are called GAPS.  Learn it.  GAPS.

So now we have LINEMEN and GAPS.

TE ----- GAP ------ T ----- GAP------G-------GAP------C------GAP-----G----GAP------T------GAP------WR

Football people assign letters to the GAPS starting from the center, working outward:

TE ----- C GAP ------ T ----- B GAP------G-------A GAP------C------ A GAP-----G---- B GAP------T------------WR

Ok.  Got it?

So now, we have LINEMEN and LETTERED GAPS.  Are you with me?  Yep?

If you have grasped this so far, you are home free.  Now it gets fun.  Like in the Sound of Music, when she teaches them "doe-ray-me-far-sew-la-tea-da" and then she sings....."Now you know the notes to sing.  You can sing most anything!!"

Sing it, Maria!

I digress.

Anyhoo. YOU KNOW THE NOTES!  NOW SING!  Imagine you are a defensive lineman (or linewoman) and you line up across from one of these mushy, obese people with moobs. 

Simple Theorem:  WHERE you line up is the NUMBER TECHNIQUE you're using. 

  • If you line up right across from the center, that's a zero technique.
  • In either A GAP:  1 technique.
  • Right across from either GUARD: 2 technique.
  • In either B GAP:  3 technique.
  • Right across from either TACKLE:  4 technique.
  • In the C GAP: 5 technique.
  • Right across from the TIGHT END:  6 technique.
  • Across from the TIGHT END on his inside (=closest to the ball, =closest to the CENTER) shoulder: 7 technique
  • Across from the TIGHT END outside his outside (=away from the ball, CENTER) shoulder:  8 technique.
  • Across from the TIGHT END on his outside (=away from the ball, CENTER) shoulder:  9 technique.

Simple, right?!?!  OK.  Remember that techniques zero, six, seven, eight and nine are seldom talked about and you can just learn those and file them away for later.  They won't be crucial in your Click Clack Moment. 

If you just learn the holy poop out of techniques one through five, you will be a freakin' rock star. 

Or just learn to recognize any ONE of the techniques and then just work it into casual conversation when you see it on TV.  I am telling you, they will drop 3 things:  What they were doing, their beer cup and their jaws......guaranteed.

Click.  Clack.

Saturday, March 8, 2014


This post doesn't have anything to do with football.

There.  I got that off my chest.  It is so hard to be constricted by the confines of a football-centric blog.  I'm breaking out.  I'm getting crazy.  Or, "Cray-cray" as we say in the uber-cool, hip, super-awesome circles in which I run.  Fo' Shizzle.

Anyhoo.  Wrasslin'.  Or, actually, "wrestling," as the dictionary so strictly encourages it be pronounced.  It is actually a sub-culture of football, as many children who play football ultimately also participate in wrestling.  Just like Hell is a sub-culture of terra firma.  But the co-participation is where many of the similarities end.  If you've ever been to a wrestling tournament, you are going to understand everything in this post.  You are going to stand up, like a person possessed by the spirit of the Almighty at a revival and sing, "You preach it sister!  Hallelujah!" 

If you've never been to a wrestling tournament, this is going to seem other-worldly.  You will be confused.  You won't believe it to be true.  You'll call me a liar.  A blasphemer of truth.  An embellisher of facts.

You will be wrong.  Go to one tournament.  Just one.  Smell the odors.  Take in the sights.  Experience the auditory assault.  And you'll see.  You'll be scared and permanently scarred, just as I am.  Mark my words.

Mat Herpes
No, this isn't the name of one of your previous boyfriends.  This, my friends, is one of the thousands of creepy, crawlies that your young wrestler can pick up on a wrestling mat.  Scrumptious!  Herpes, people!!  HERPES!!  Are you kidding me?! 

Ring Worm
See Mat Herpes.  'Zactly the same.  Except you'll hear it in a sentence like this:  "Ewww, you've got ring worm!  At least it's not mat herpes, dude."

It is a good possibility every person in attendance has either been diagnosed with at least Type II Diabetes or will be soon. 

Never Wrestled.  Knows Everything.
This is the most common person in attendance at a wrestling tournament.  And you'll be able to recognize them by a few tell-tale traits.  First of all, you'll actually hear them saying, "I never wrestled.  I knows everything."  Secondly, they usually look like this:

And typically, they are yelling such gems as, "Go!" and "Get 'em!" and "Shoot the leg!"  I always try to yell things I got from the first Karate Kid movie, like:  "Sweep the leg!  Or, "FINISH HIM!"  (As a side note:  Yelling, "Sweep the leg!  and "FINISH HIM!" are apparently NOT acceptable, as I learned the hard way.)  But, if all else fails, and you are not able to visualize the typical wrestling tournament attendee, just super-impose any of the creatures in the Hobbit on a gymnasium filled with rubber mats, and you'll have it.

Bleacher Camping
Realizing that some of these people come from an hour or more away, need to be at the gym at 7 AM for weigh-in and then stay there for ten straight hours, I have to give a little leeway here.  But, for the love of all things holy!  I have seen fully-equipped tents, propane stoves, sleeping bags and a mini-generator set up in a section of bleachers.  I had to put out a campfire once.  Children are laying everywhere in various states of undress.  Some are crying.  Some are sleeping.  Most are playing on some $498 electronic device.  But to navigate around these little villages is absolutely treacherous.  I dream of stumbling upon one of these little tent towns and just obliterating it like I am Gargamel and they are Smurfs.  People!  It is OK to be comfortable, but what you're proposing requires a building permit.  COME ON!

Stand By Me
This, without a doubt, is the most amazing phenomenon I have ever seen.  No matter how many millions of times the overhead announcer says, "Folks, if you are at the edge of the mats, please kneel down so people can see.  Thanks." there are always those people that think that the rules don't apply to them.  Just today, I saw a 40-something guy with the word "BULLDOG" on the back of his super-sweet wrestling shirt just stand there with his hands in his pockets.  (Well, he was attempting to put his hands in his front pockets, but his short little arms couldn't reach over his massive gut, so his fingers just hovered pitifully right above the waistband of his jeans.)  Hey, "Bulldog!"  Why don't you park your patootie on the mat like all the other men with canine epithets, huh?!  Good dog!

I like to call this "Worst Idea Ever."  Because, by my best estimation, someone came to the decision to bring a stroller to a wrestling tournament like this:
"Is there going to be limited space to park a stroller?"
"Are there going to be bleachers where the stroller can't go?"
"Will there be rules about blocking the mat and the view of the wrestlers?"
"Does the possibility exist that my toddler will not want to spend any time in the stroller and it will function mainly as a huge shopping cart like homeless people steal from parking lots and load with all of their worldly belongings?"
"OK.  I think we should bring the stroller."

Honey, Laxatives & Spit Cups, Oh My!
Yeah.  I don't even know how deep you want to delve into this one.  Suffice it to say, wrestlers do weird things to gain weight or lose weight or keep weight.  If there is an orifice through which to gain or lose pounds, they have figured out a way to exploit it.  And when you cringe and twist your face up in a corkscrew when they tell you about it, they look back at you like, "What?" 

So, there is your Wrasslin' Primer.  I hope it proves helpful and you have learned something.  I just love sharing my vast knowledge, because even though I never wrestled,  I knows everything.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

High Pathetic

Season-Delayed Home Improvement.  I think every coach's wife in the world can identify with me on this little gem.  I haven't yet decided if it is intentional on the part of our husbands, or if it is just part of their male nature.  Either way, it is the most infuriating habit he possesses, right behind not putting the seat down and that ridiculous one-nostril-plugged nose-blowing thing he does to discharge nasal blockages. 

What is it that bothers me so?  Well it doesn't have a catchy name.  And it is difficult to explain.  But it always commences about 1 week prior to the first football practice in August.  Mr. Coach suddenly believes he is Mr. Home Depot and tears into something like a shower door or faucet.  He completely rips out a bathroom floor.  He short-circuits a one of the burners on my stove.  The front door is taped on with duct tape and baling wire.  (All true stories, by the way.) And just when the project is at the point of no return, he tapes it off with caution tape, traffic cones and cattle fencing and says something like, "Don't use this until I fix it, OK?"  And, in the past, I have thought, "Hey, cool.  No problem.  He'll get to it in the next week or so.  I am sure he realizes that we need to eat and shower and rid ourselves of bodily waste and exit our home on a regular basis!  There is no frigging way he'll just leave this until the season ends in mid-November!"

Guess what?

No, really.

I'll give you one guess.


So, as a mother and a human that needs to use the bathroom occasionally, I take matters into my own hands.  The hands are dirty, of course, because I have no faucet with which to shower.  I'll give you a hypothetical situation.  If this should at all resemble any real-life occurrences, it is strictly coincidental.  Strictly.

Hypothetically speaking, let us just assume that a shower faucet in my master bathroom was ripped apart and assessed as being non-functional about August 12th.  And let's just say Mr. Coach put it back together in a jiggly, half-screwed-in kind of way and said, "Don't touch this."

And then we should hypothetically wait.   And wait some more.  And shower elsewhere in the house for a while.

Now it is hypothetically mid-October.  And I really want to shower in my shower.  Call me a hygiene freak.  So I hypothetically approach Mr. Coach and ask him, in that sweet, cooing, wifely way, "When the hell is the faucet being looked at again?  I just need a rough estimate.  Will it be 2013-ish?  Is it before the next sighting of Haley's Comet?  Just generalize."  And he hypothetically tells me that if I want it done during the arduous time we call Football Season, I can do it myself.

You got it, dude.  Consider it done. 

Then, I might (if this was a real story) go to the Home Depot with the broken parts, explain my problem to a worker there, buy a brand new faucet (even after the worker told me to call a plumber), take the entire faucet apart, put the new faucet on and try to turn it on.  But it doesn't turn on.  So, I pack up the new faucet, return it and call a plumber.

Then, this fake plumber in this fake story comes and fixes my fake broken faucet.  And I am hypothetically over joyed.  The problem has been fixed.

The problems have just begun.

The hypothetical bill arrives from the plumber.  And this is when Mr. Home Depot/Coach/Absentee Handyman decides he's going to re-insert himself into this narrative.  Now is the time he hypothetically questions my choice of plumber.  Wants the blow-by-blow of my conversation at the hardware store.  He may have even (if this were a real story) asked that I show him the number in the phone book that I called because he didn't believe me. 

Have you seen those cartoons where Bugs Bunny so frustrates Yosemite Sam, that steam and ash and explosive particles actually come out of ol' Sam's ears?  Can you picture that?  Yeah, that's what happened.  Hypothetically.

Here ends our highly pathetic, hypothetical story.  Hopefully it paints a vivid picture of Season-Delayed Home Improvement for you.  And I hope it gives you a sense of awe and respect for the self-control coaches' wives exhibit every day of the season, as they resist the urge to buffet their spouses' heads with a faucet wrench....

Hypothetically, of course.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fifty Shades of Jay

I ride a roller coaster that would scare even the most ravenous of thrill seekers:  The Football Season Emotional Roller Coaster.  Not a catchy bit of nomenclature, I know, but it is the scariest ride on earth.  Let me show you.

There is no height or age (or even genus or species) requirement for the F.S.E.R.C.  No one is immune to the bi-polarism of Mr. Coach.  Even the very youngest child in our household stares at me in bewildered amazement and asks, "What's wrong with daddy?"  The dog even knows something is amiss.  And when I agree with the dog, it is a rare event indeed.  Because most of the time, I am secretly plotting the little hair-shedder's untimely demise.

Unlike most coasters of yore, the F.S.E.R.C. starts at the top.  In August, we are world-beaters.  We are the kings of the world.  We are UNSTOPPABLE!  No one can beat us!  (Mostly because no one has played us yet.)  We have shredded our own JV defense with effortless precision.  Mr. Coach is at the peak of his mania. 

Then comes mid-September.  Then comes the plummeting crash when we lose our first game.  We are horrible.  We got exposed for the frauds we are!  We are.............wait...................we just won another game...................WE ARE UNSTOPPABLE!  Aaaaand we're back up again!  It is like some cruel form of ADHD. 

So, up and down we go.  Screaming at the top of our lungs.  Is it good-excited-exhilarating screaming?  Or is it oh-my-god-we're-going-to-die-of-a-zombie-attack screaming?  Same dif.  It exhausts the children.  It scares the neighbors.  It freaks out the dog.  Win!  WE'RE UP!  Loss.  We're down.  Sometimes it even happens mid-week two or three times!  Monday:  down.  Tuesday:  up.  Wednesday:  up.  Thursday:  down.  Friday:  up.  Until 9 PM.  Then down again.  Sometimes it's an up and and a down all at once.  We won, but our quarterback dislocated his shoulder.  We're Prozac and Valium all at once. We're Valiac.  Or Prozium.  Uh, what the...?

There are no seat belts, restraining bars or carnival employees lacking appropriate dental hygiene telling you to 'keep your arms in' or to 'have fun.'  We never know when the ride will take a terrible plunge.  Or rocket into the stratosphere.  Or go completely off the rails.  Or blow up.  There are no refunds for these disasters, either.  In fact, there is no customer service department AT ALL for the whole screwed-up amusement park we call "Football."  We don't get to complain to anyone who will listen.  People just stare at us forlornly, as if to say, "You bought the all-season, unlimited ride wristband/bracelet, so you'd better just get back on and try to get your money's worth. *whispers* Idiots!"  And I run after these people, shaking my wrist, screaming (The bad, zombie kind of scream), "Take it back!  Take back the wristband!  You can have it!  Keep my money!  Please!"  And all I get is a big bucket of Grade A, Farm Fresh Ignored.

There is one part about the F.S.E.R.C. that none of the traditional roller coasters can boast of.

There are no lines.