Monday, August 29, 2011

'A New School Year, A New Season'

Even though the first day of official team practice isn't for 2 1/2 months, even though the 1st game isn't for another 3, the basketball season has begun. The first day back to school is in three days, and with that means untold hours in the gym, quiet nights at home and excitement in the air.

Excitement for the incoming freshmen, excitement to be back at school, excitement to get back in the gym and excitement for the upcoming season. What the new school year means for the kid's parents and the coach's family is a little different.

Parents are torn with emotion, excitement to see their children growing up but sadness because they are leaving. Like seeing their child off to their first day of pre-school. They beam with pride but cry tears of sadness. Their babies are all grown up.

Coaches wives and their families also have a wide range emotions. August is usually the longest month a family gets with their coach, that is, without having to compete against players, recruits and other coaches. Then September comes and our husbands are gone again. Back to the grind, back to the endless hours in the gym, back on the road to visit other children, back to planning for this years season. This can bring about a lot of different emotions, not only for Mom and Dad but for the children as well.

How do you manage? How do you explain to your children that they won't see daddy until morning? That's assuming daddy doesn't leave before they get up. How do you help them cope?  Being a coach's wife is tough, harder then most people realize. Being a child of a coach, I would imagine, is even tougher.

So, as a mother and a coach's wife, how do you utilize your time with your family and keep your children close to their father? Involved in the day to day activities? Everyone does it differently but my way is through the kitchen. I bake.

Every year, at the beginning of the school year (starting with this year), I bake the guys cookies. The freshmen come in first so they get the most. Days later when the upper class men arrive they get the next batch. This is my way of keeping close to the team and making sure the guys don't miss home too much. When Nikki gets big enough, she will help too. And for her, it will be connecting with what daddy does and why he is gone.

Baking, for me, has always been a way to stay close with my family. As a child, I would spend my summers baking with my grandmother. Every Christmas, I would watch my mom bake giant amounts of cookies and sweets to give to friends and family. Every time I bake, these are the things that I remember. And these are the things that I want my daughter to remember. It will be tough enough on her later in life knowing that basketball season is approaching and daddy will be around less. I hope this, the baking, will allow her to get excited for the upcoming season and not dwell on the bad things that can come with it.

I love being a coach's wife, but more importantly, I want my daughter and future kids to love being a coach's kid.

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