I can’t quite pinpoint when Coach shared his dream of becoming a collegiate football coach, but he has been preparing for this life since he fell in love with the game at a young age. Coach was blessed to have played for multiple coaches who challenged him, shaped him, and most importantly, never ever gave up on him. I feel so indirectly grateful for those men; they allowed Coach to become the person with whom I fell in love. Hopefully, he’ll have the same impact on the young men he has the privilege to coach (and, in turn, their future wives as well).
During Coach’s first season as a coach, I admit to feeling a disconnect between myself and the game, mostly because it was a new role for me. I had gone four years watching Coach on the field sack the quarterback and cause fumbles. I was also able to cheer on all of our friends on the field who had their own personal victories. Saturday nights consisted of celebrating a win or drinking away our sorrows after a tough loss. Thankfully Coach’s friends accepted me as one of their own and almost always allowed me to tag along.
The feeling of seeing Coach do what he loves is indescribable. After all, who else gets to go watch their significant other at work?! However, without a personal connection to his players, it is extremely difficult to fully get into the game. While we were in North Dakota, we lived in a small apartment with no yard. Our space most certainly would not accommodate fifteen defensive linemen. Due to our small space, we decided against a “D-Line” dinner. When we moved, I informed Coach my intentions to finally host his players, so we had our “D-Line” dinner the Sunday before Labor Day. Because of the holiday weekend, not all were able to make it, but I was able to finally put a face to a name and number.
Although I originally wanted to have a pasta dinner (I’ll save that idea for the end of the season), I decided to create a BBQ menu because of the time of year.
Our menu for the first “D-Line” meal:
-Mac and Cheese
-Chips and Pretzels with French Onion Dip
-Water and Gatorade
Anyone who knows me knows my strong dislike for cooking, at least most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, when I succeed and make something delicious, I get very excited, but that seems to be far and few between. Quite honestly, my dislike for cooking is due to laziness and a fear of failure. Coach grilled the burgers and dogs. I bought large trays of Mac and Cheese from Sam’s Club (we got a membership that weekend … the place is dangerous), Coach’s mom made the beans and cookies, and my mom came and helped me with the bomb fruit salad! Although I know the players were just there for the food, all of them made comments about how awesome the helmet was and were very appreciative of a home-cooked meal.
One of the many perks of being so close to home is the quality time we are getting to spend with our family. I know that my mom is secretly loving coming to see me and help me with all the crazy ideas I come up with. She’s seriously the greatest person ever. Coach’s mom is an amazing cook and always super helpful, so her help is so very appreciated too! If you love baked beans and need a good recipe, let me know because hers are unreal … the same goes for her cookies.
The players didn’t stay long, but after eating they played a few rounds of cornhole. One idea that I decided against this time, but definitely want to do in the future was given to me by one of my favorite coach’s wife. You’ll be meeting her next week. She’s amazing and has been a part of this life much longer than I have; needless to say, she knows what’s up when it comes to coaches and athletics. She informed me about their own parties when they fielded a little friendly competition. They played dominoes and cornhole. Whoever won received a small prize that she put together. She put together an “away game package” prize. It consisted of a wireless charger, candy, and a Gatorade. She told me they loved it, so I will be sure to add it to our next get together.
I personally feel it is so important to get to know your Coach’s players. They are such a large part of his life, and as all coaching wives know, who he spends most of his time with during the season. (Yes, coaches spend more time with the players than their own family). Getting to know them and hosting parties allows for them to see a side of their Coach they normally wouldn’t. The side we see as their girlfriends or wives and have grown to adore! It shows the players that if they work hard both on and off the field, they too can have a successful job, home, family, and children all under the same roof. Unfortunately, some of these young men come from single-family homes or perhaps even poverty, so seeing both sides of their coach’s life brings a new level of respect. Additionally, it allows for me to become closer to them and keeps me more involved with Coach’s lifestyle and interests; it’s a total win-win scenario … not to mention the great food we all get to eat in the process.