As my wife and I headed home from the hospital for the first time with our first child a few weeks ago, we were both overcome with a number of emotions.
It was a Friday, which of course in the fall typically means football under the lights for a high school coach and his family. However, the time was 6pm - about an hour before kickoff, and I was faced with a moral and ethical dilemma: stay at home with my wife and newborn son for the night and pace around constantly wondering how the team was doing, missing my first Friday night under the lights as a coach ever, - OR - leave my wife at home alone with a newborn for a few hours and go coach the game and come home to our new, expanded family afterwards. It was a classic catch-22, and regardless of my final decision, I knew I'd find myself fighting an overwhelming sense of guilt.
Then my wife turned to me and said, "You should go to your game," and those words of support from her at such a pivotal point in both of our lives gave me the push I needed to come to a decision. So right, wrong, or indifferent, with the blessing of my wife, I went to be with the team.
As a bachelor, and someone committed to coaching for the long haul, I knew the uphill battle I had in store finding someone who understood the "coach life," as my wife puts it, but the moment she gave me the green light to head to the game and coach for a few hours was special in a way that I will never forget.
Clearly, I'm one of the lucky guys who found a partner in life who understands, and embraces the coach life. Growing up, I had a number of great examples as I saw my mother do the same while my dad was coaching, and as someone who knew that coaching was something I'd always be doing, I always paid particular attention to the wives of coaches who I worked under coming up in the profession to find traits that I hoped that my wife would one day exhibit.
Beside every great coach, there often stands an even better woman, and it's really hard to have one without the other. So whether you're married, or still out there searching for a woman who can handle the unique challenges, and highs and lows that come with being married to a coach, here's a great list of traits that great coaches wives tend to posses
With that in mind, here are: The 10 Signs That You've Found the Ideal Coach's Wife:
1 - They're comfortable being independent
Coaching is a profession that requires late nights watching film, days on the open road recruiting, and sometimes late nights at the office. Find someone that understands the importance of having you home around the kids, but that is also able to run the house, get the kids to their various lessons, or sports practices while you're away at practice or at the office still. That also means that they let you know when they need a night out so you can take over for a while as well.
2 - They understand the enormous time commitment coaching requires
Being a dedicated coach goes well beyond the time put in at practice, and in the weight room. It means being there when a kid calls in a bind at 1am because they had no one else to talk to, it means picking them up when they can't find a ride to the weight room during the off season. It's a serious time commitment, and life is a lot easier with someone that understands that.
3 - They understand that your players become an extension of your family
As coaches, we pour our hearts and souls into the development of high school and college aged kids on and off the field, and they become an extension of our own family. When they're hurting, you hurt, when they experience personal or athletic triumphs, a piece of you deep down inside does as well.
4 - They're flexible and understand that things don't always go as planned
As a coach, you're constantly on call without really realizing it, so when your phone rings during date night, or while you're coaching your kid's youth game and it's your athletic director or a concerned parent, they understand. However, it's important to note that doesn't necessarily mean that they have to be happy about it...
5 - They understand the pressure and responsibility you've undertaken as a coach, and support you unconditionally
Sometimes you're going to come home frustrated, annoyed, disappointed or at your wit's end about something that, in the grand scheme of life at the end of the day, really isn't a huge deal. When you come home wearing your emotions on your sleeve your spouse is there to support you,help to put things in perspective, and sometimes dish out some brutally honest advice like, "suck it up buttercup."
6 - They comfort you during the low times, and are the first to celebrate with you during the high times
Coming home to someone at the end of the day that is there for you after a tough loss is just as important as having someone ready to pop that champagne with you as soon as you walk in the door after a big win. Football tends to be cyclical, so it's important to find someone that is there for you for both.
7 - They find creative ways to embrace your players and make them feel cared for
For some wives this means inviting the team, or position group, over to the house for a cook out (which is an insane amount of work) or pool party, for others it means packing everyone your husband is responsible for a snack on game day, or baking cookies or other treats for film sessions, or simply showing up to practice and walking off the field with a player that seems to be having a rough time lately and offering a gentle approach and some advice. Great coaches wives find a way to make players feel like they're loved and cared for, and for many kids that's a tremendous sense of motivation because they don't want to let them down or disappoint them.
8 - They just "get it"
It sounds a bit cliche, but a good coaches wife simply "gets it". What exactly does that mean? They understand your itch to go to the game an hour after bringing your first born home from the hospital, they don't require an explanation , they understand your bitter disappointment after a loss, and they stock up on caffeine during their trips to the grocery store. The list could go on and on...
9 - They're someone that you're willing to make sacrifices for as well
This one may be the most important of all. Relationships don't work if one person is the one making all the sacrifices, and you've got to understand that while you're teaching life lessons to young men, your significant other is at home making a ton of sacrifices and in many cases, is the glue holding the family together. You have to be able to recognize that and make some sacrifices yourself in order to hold up your end of the bargain.
10 - She holds you accountable, and makes you want to be better
The best coaches wives out there bring out the best in their spouses, they make them want to be better husbands, people, and coaches and when you're not living up to your potential, she's not afraid to call you on it. She also holds you accountable for a variety of other things, including your commitment to your family, your team, your staff, their families, and most importantly your health. Sometimes, like in the case of Urban Meyer and his family before taking the Ohio State job, that means signing a unique family contract.
Coaches, and wives of coaches, everywhere, does that about cover it?
Update: Shelley Meyer offered the following suggestion be added