Don't tell my husband, but I game plan too.

For every single home game. I too spend time breaking down film. I burn the midnight oil researching my next opponent. I even run a practice or two. Alright, so maybe my film is Pinterest, my research is cookbooks and practice is experimenting with a recipe or two in my kitchen, but it‘s my gameplan.

Long before the season has even begun I focus on our schedule-- a crucial part of my success. I look over the schedule in an attempt to guess which games may be more stressful than others, which have the potential to be a night game and which may involve a bit of bad weather. Even with this preparation life happens--like the dusting of snow the meteorologist called for which will forever be known as “Snow Bowl 2013!” There is just no knowing except that just as a team hopes all tough games are not back to back, that same philosophy should be applied with house guests. I trust you understand, yes?

Me and my girl when we thought it was just going to be a dusting! Thanks for the mittens PB!

Me and my girl when we thought it was just going to be a dusting! Thanks for the mittens PB!

So as soon as our football schedule is out for public consumption, so too is the Stoutland Inn. We are fortunate enough to have friends and family who love us enough to plan a weekend around our football schedule. Our booking policy is pretty much on a first come, first serve basis, with the exception of one special weekend in October cleared for my father-in-law. Friends and family call months in advance to be penciled in. Once their flights and time off from work have been secured, their reservation is changed to pen! Maybe not a traditional system, but thanks to my neurotic obsession with my calendar it might as well be written in gold!

A perfect gift from a friend who knows me so well! Thank you CN!

A perfect gift from a friend who knows me so well! Thank you CN!

By now our “peeps” fully understand spending a weekend with our family during the season is not for the faint of heart. Those arriving on Saturday must be prepared to endure the college games as well as one lucky guest found out when Auburn ran back the kickoff as time expired to beat Alabama in 2013. Then there is always that 50/50 chance that gameday will not be all the fun and games we had wished, hoped and sometimes even prayed for. Despite wearing my lucky toenail polish and tucking that lucky coin inside my boot, there are just too many factors that cannot be controlled. Our guests respect the clause at the end of the reservation and thankfully still seem willing to take the risk.

At the Stoutland Inn
we make every preparation possible to ensure our guests feel at home, happy, fed and entertained. All we ask is that you wear team colors, cheer loud and sign the guestbook.”

A celebratory mood after the game cannot be guaranteed.

Once the season’s reservations are finalized my focus shifts to weekly pre-game preparation. Any coach will tell you, no game has ever been won without attention to details. Which rooms need straightening up? Do any guests have food requests or allergies? All flat surfaces need to be cleared off and dusted. Those unrecognizable things in the refrigerator must be removed to make way for new food and drinks! Toilets must be scrubbed and showers shined (or at least hairballs removed). I run the vacuum and tuck fresh flowers all about our home and wait for our guests to arrive.

Game day is all about my clock management. Sometimes it’s more stressful than the days when I used to take my kindergarten class on a field trip!

Minutes before the game begins, I attend to the last few things of my gameplan: I take a deep breath, check for my lucky coin, say a prayer for the safety of both teams and nod to my Angel hoping that my gameplan helps secure a win and a happy night at The Stoutland Inn!

Moral: My gameplan helps keep me focused and leaves me with less time to stress—at least that’s the plan!

Your game planner,

A little thing I need your help with: I am hoping to write a blog about precious football coaches children. I am looking for football coach’s children’s responses to this question, “Where are you from?” Please email the exact responses to Grateful for your help my blogging friends!