As much as I hear people say, “Winning doesn’t matter!”- it does. As a matter of fact it matters a whole bunch in our home. We are a football coach's home. Any home with a coach living in it will agree- when your family’s livelihood depends upon it- winning matters!
It is not so much about that winning glow- you know that haze of happiness that envelops everything as the last seconds tick off the clock. Immediately the stadium just seems friendlier. The drive home can be bumper to bumper traffic and nobody cares. There may be just a bag of stale chips for dinner and everyone is all smiles. The dog gets to be walked out front as opposed to being quietly let out back. My kids can attend their classes and not have to listen to the teacher and fellow students rant on and on! As for me, well I have a pep in my step and a smile on my face. I can be assured that when I make eye contact with people I pass they will not shake their head in disgust and turn away. My car drives smoother. The sun shines brighter. The people living under my roof are happier. Oh my--even doing laundry is enjoyable. Like I said, a happy haze.
Explaining this phenomenon to “non-coaching family” humans can be a challenge--how the outcome of each game taints our lives. Sometimes I am comfortable enough to share true family facts with these folks that they would normally not be privy to. Like how hard it is to see my husband, who puts in seventeen hour days, lose a game. How difficult it is for our children to hear their father and team be verbally bashed on a playground or school bus. Or how much it hurts to listen to the guy at the gas station who notices my bumper sticker proceed to tell me how disgusted he is with the team’s performance and how “clearly” those coaches are not working hard enough.
Sure we coaches families can fake a smile as we pass you in the school pick up line. We have been known to even encourage a disgruntled fan while standing in line at the grocery store. So often everyone in our family makes the choice to take the high road when we “hear” things we would rather not. Just a few weeks ago my daughter called me from college “Mom, I almost got a nose bleed in class this morning. Not from sitting in the last row of my lecture hall but because I took such a high road!”
But truth be told, the most exhausting part of losing for me is responding to people. Of course I avoid all news reporters and the like. We never get the local paper and my radio stays tuned to 70’s on 7. From the post office to the bank, people are everywhere! They are kind hearted people who find themselves in a pretty uncomfortable place. Just knowing they care enough to say they are sorry about the outcome of the game, means the world. They do their best, and it’s so appreciated- but you try having that conversation ten times a day. So, I chose to hunker down for all of us… and venture out a little bit at a time.
Ah but there are those others and here is what I wish I could just once be able to say to them:
Dopey #1: Hope the game plan this weekend is better than last weeks?
Allison: “Oh my bad, please give me your address and I’ll be sure to have my husband send a copy for your approval!”***
Doofus #2: Who will your starting quarterback be?
Allison: Hmm, that’s a good question. Let me ask my husband that question with the five minutes I see him each week and I’ll call you with the answer, sound good jack#%*?
Brainless #3: Why didn’t they run the ball more?
Allison: “Because they threw it! Oh, I had no idea you are blind-- I'm so sorry!”
Super fan 101: Tell your husband that he ruined my week.
Allison: Here is his number, I double dog dare you to call him directly!
So of course just as I would not say any of those things, nor would I turn around and tell those incredibly rude, loud outspoken "fans" sitting around me to kindly keep their mouths closed. Instead, I say nothing and begin my ascent…
Moral: If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all!
your “glowing” friend,
A little story I love: There once was an over-served fan sitting just rows from the coaching families using inappropriately vulgar language about the coaches. After a bit, six-year-old Julianna somewhat forcefully turned towards the man and said, “Hey, that is my Daddy, Mr. Sassypants!” * Out of the mouths of babes.
*excerpt Cervino, BeeBee. Married to the Game. The American Football Coaches Wives Association, 2005.