I am a coach's wife.
I have been a coach's wife for almost as long as I've been a wife, except for a couple of years when he took a break and we couldn't go to high school basketball games because he would get so antsy.
It's part of who I am, and while there are times when it's not really fun, I realize what an incredible honor it is.
I know things will change, and one day we may finally be able to go to a game and enjoy it together.
Not spend it breaking down plays. Not questioning what defense would work best to isolate that inside shooter. Not comparing stats.
But right now it's the time of the season that feels like you've been playing forever. Three weeks until district tournament seems like an eternity but I know it will fly by and before we know it we wil be saying goodbye to our seniors (and I don't even want to talk about that!!!).
Tonight, I'll just think of sophomore players who have developed so much.
I'll think of shots that bounced out and shots that shouldn't have gone in.
I'll think of ref calls that I don't agree with and those that I think probably should have been called, even though they would have been against us.
I'll think of how when a team hits a slump it's hard to find redemption, but hindsight is twenty twenty and we've been in this thing a long time and I can assure them they if they will just keep digging, keep fighting, keep hustling, keep shooting, it will eventually pay off.
I'll think of how those girls, my girls, just need a pat on the back and somebody to tell them they've got this. I know he tells them that, but that's his job, and everyone needs a cheerleader when the coach is being the coach.
So I'll pat them on the shoulder and hug them and tell them how much I love them. How proud I am of them.
A hard-fought game that ends with a loss is no fun. I can say it's character building, but that doesn't make it any better.
Truth is, though, ten years down the road nobody will remember the record and they won't remember the scores of individual games. Shoot, twenty years down the road, and I can't even tell you who we played the last time I cheered on the hardwood at the Coliseum. I can tell you it was bittersweet, but mostly because I was losing a part of who I was...
I was a cheerleader... and I still am.
These girls are basketball players, and they always will be. It will stay in them and they will teach it to their babies, and revel in the glory years...
Except our jobs as adults is to show them that the ball doesn't stop bouncing when their season is over. They have to pick up and move on and take all they learned out there on the court and apply it to real life.
They have to draw up their own plays, and hustle just like they did on the floor. They have to face failure, and not wallow in it.
I can see all of this as I watch them on the court. Faces flash before me, of players across our sixteen years, of memories of laughter and also hard times.
I see their potential. I see their weaknesses, but also see that they can overcome them.
He's the one with the dry erase board, hunched over in the huddle, sometimes yelling at them to focus.
I'm the one in the stands, praying that they'll live in this moment and appreciate it for all it is, not worrying about missing a shot or bobbling a pass or making a mistake...
because it is a beautiful thing, this game of basketball.
It's a beautiful thing when they finally come together.
It's a beautiful thing to see them smiling...
Play hard, dear hearts. And know that you'll always have at least one fan up there...
because I'm the coach's wife, and that is my biggest job.