I have been a football coach’s wife for years. It’s a unique and awesome experience and my new book (still working on) is about one year in particular but is also about the incredible and sometimes heartbreaking times that we all have to endure for that one moment when it all comes together.
This season and last I decided to experience it all in a new way. For years, I have sat in wind, rain, snow, and heat. I have stood along the fence to allow my kids time to stretch their legs. Many years I spent in the stands cheering and crying alongside the other parents. Several times, I sat in a dark van along the parking lot with a sick child to try to catch glimpses of the struggle on the field. There are moments when I wanted to scream for joy and others when I felt anger well to the point of a near explosion. Whether it was a poor referee call or a comment from someone in the stands or maybe a rowdy group across the field, I was always a Tiger…or a Cyclone…and the last 15 years a tried and true Bearcat.
The past two years I elected to give the parents a break and time to enjoy their own young men and took my camera to the sidelines. I have enjoyed the fresh perspective and everyone was amazingly respectful. Most who know me well know that I took a rather hard hit last year and had a bruise that covered the inside of my thigh for weeks (I still have some pain from it). Last night, I watched our team fight and struggle…and eventually lose to end their season. We had an amazing year like we knew we would. The guys gave all that they had…
I remember a few years ago one team that was similar and very dedicated. When their season ended, several seniors placed their cleats on the Bearcat in center field and left them there to symbolize that they gave all that they had and left it all on the field. This stuck with me last night as I watched these young men fight. As I walked over to hear the speech after the game, I lifted my camera and shot pictures of the young men kneeling before their coach. I do this every time but this night was different. I clicked as many as I thought I needed and turned to walk toward my camera bag to pack up and leave. That’s when it happened…
There isn’t much that a 51-year-old woman can give a team to help them on their journey through the season. I gave up my husband to the hours of film and coaching, but I found that I had given something else that I had no idea would happen. I pulled my camera up one last time to try to capture the field but it wouldn’t turn on. The battery had failed…but the camera was dead too. This camera has clicked thousands of pictures through the years and I’m honored that it plowed through this season so well. Smiling, I packed it away and felt another layer of sadness and I thought about those cleats mid-field so many years ago. Part of me wanted to leave my camera there last night…I gave what I could…my husband…my time…and now my camera.
The 2017 Bearcat Football season has ended…but now we will see what these young men will accomplish in life. To them I say…give LIFE all that you have.