25 September 2009

My Friday Night Looks Like...

Nothing says "it's Friday night" quite like having dinner at 8pm. Actually, let me rephrase that. Cooking dinner at 8pm.

Since all of our games have been rained out this week and today was our first sunny day in about a decade, Matt put in some major hours on the field. Practice let out around 6:30 and he just walked in the door from trying to fix the soaked field. By the look of his shoes, the score stands at Field: 1, Matt: 0.


Dinner at 8pm.

Plans to be back on the field at 8am accompanied by boys with four-wheelers and bags of Turface.

Our (hopefully) make-up game is at 3pm tomorrow, but there's a 30% chance of more rain for the afternoon in the forecast. I'm not telling him that - I don't want to add to the stress any more than I have to. I know, I know...I can't control the weather. But I can make sure my husband stays blissfully unaware until the last possible moment.

He's so cute and happy when he's at work on the field. If it's nice and sunny in the morning, he needs his morning of baseball work.

And I could use an empty house so I can clean. Ever since we moved the dog kennel out from under the carport into the backyard, we have dust and mud EVERYWHERE. I think it's time to move the kennel back under the carport for winter. Snow and rain mixed with three furry beasts is just not something I want to tackle every day.

Well, off to eat dinner, then take our dusty-cause-I-don't-have-the-heart-to-tell-the-dogs-to-stay-off-the-bed quilt out of the washer. Wonder if I could get the dogs to sleep downstairs in their crates? No chance, since Knuke is a big whiny baby.

Hopefully I can post about a wonderful game tomorrow!

22 September 2009


Finally...a night without anything planned! Due to some out-of-the-blue massive, thundering storms, all our baseball games have so far been cancelled this week. I'm happy for a little free time. Coach, not so much. He gets grumpy when they can't play. His mood seriously reminds me of a little boy whose favorite toy truck was painted sparkly pink by a little sister and then brutally smashed to bits by an older brother. Unfair, unjust and absolutely uncalled for.

Rain-outs are that severe in our household.

So with some free time on my hands, I thought I’d be able to study for my A&P lab test and get started on some Chemistry homework. But like most well-intentioned plans, they seriously got derailed.

After finding out via text from several parents that our game was rained out and that there was no practice, I called home to see what Coach was up to. Not much, other than moping. Apparently, the most interesting thing that had happend so far today me that I had a package in the mail that arrived from St. Louis University.

A package. A big one.

My mind started racing. St. Louis University is one of the universities where I’m applying to nursing school. It’s the one I want very, very badly. Very. Badly. I started shaking and told Matt to open the envelope for me. He did, and started reading it out loud.

Dear Ms. Walters, I am very pleased to offer you admission to the Accelerated Nursing Program…

I love it when God answers prayers! I started crying and screaming right there in the car. On the highway. In rush-hour traffic.

I immediately hung up the phone with Matt and started calling everyone I knew to share the good news.

No one answered. My parents, my sister, the hospital nurse recruiter who has been helping me apply to schools. No one. Of course that's how it works.

Since I had previously been on the phone with my mother-in-law, before I called home, I called her back after leaving messages all around the country for everyone else. I was so happy she was waiting for me to call her back. I was thrilled to tell someone the news and have someone to be glad with! And even better - when I got home, Matt wanted to go out to dinner to celebrate.

Acceptance to nursing school and not having to cook dinner? That's a pretty perfect day in my opinion.

Now to get some baseball games in, and our whole household’s happiness will be complete.

21 September 2009

Incredibly. Nervous.

Fall baseball season is almost over. And I’m nervous.

I’m one of those coach’s wives who get irrationally crazy and spastic at baseball games. I can’t sit still. I fidget and twitch. I pace behind the bleachers. I stress myself out even if we’re up by 20 in the sixth inning.

I want to win. Badly.

Which we’re doing right now – we’re nine games into the fall season, and we’ve won all nine games. Easily. Most of our games have been run-rules, happily ending the game in the fifth inning (which gives me plenty of time to make it home in time for the season premieres of my favorite fall shows. Not that my mind is on other things besides baseball, of course.).

That’s right. We’re kicking butt. But like all crazy baseball superstitions, I cannot make reference to it. If I use the “U” word, we’re jinxed. My husband is a stickler for superstitions, even dropping hints that I shouldn’t come to a game if we’ve lost the last couple I’ve attended.

Yes folks, it’s apparently my sole presence that causes the upset. Not the fact that the boys suddenly forgot how to hit or catch a ball since yesterday. It’s me and my “I Love the Coach” shirt that’s doing all the damage.

Even with all these run-rule wins, I still get nervous. It’s like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. I seriously try to have confidence, but I’m an incessant worrier.

(Which actually, I come by honestly from my mother-in-law. Even though she’s two states away, I know she’s sweating these games as much as I am.)

Friday’s game was stress beyond imagination. The opposition got a run right away and led the game through the first three innings. I wanted to scream. Then we pulled our heads out of our butts and scored eight runs in the top of the 4th. We ended up winning the entire game 10-1, but I still was stressed until the very last out.

Pep talk:

In case you can't tell, Coach is the one without the batting helmet.

Hopefully all this stress is contributing to some major calorie burning.

Just thinking about the tonight game and how bad I want us to win and keep up our streak makes my stomach churn.

Thankfully, I’ll be tucked away in my chemistry class until 9:30pm, blissfully unaware of what’s happening on the baseball field – unless parents decide to text me updates, which is what happened last week. Right in the middle of my anatomy test.

18 September 2009

On my own

I think I hold the world record for nagging phone calls that consist of “Wheeeeennnn are you going to be hooooommmmeeee???” I know my husband rues the day that he told me it was ok to add the unlimited texting feature on my cell phone, mostly due to my many Completely Necessary and Super Important texts that read: where r u? what do u want 4 dnr? Do u still luv me? Did u c Jay Leno last night?

Or maybe it’s because I like to text him pictures of the dogs in all their various stances of cuteness.

Back when I first didn’t realize what it meant to be a coach’s wife, I took it as a personal insult that my husband wouldn’t be home on Saturdays (never mind that there was a tournament), if we couldn’t go out on a date on Friday nights like we did in college or if I had to attend a wedding or a family function by my self. (Gasp! By myself? Horror of horrors!!)

Which brings up another point.

If your husband is a coach, never ever schedule a vacation, a wedding, a birth or a funeral during the season if you want him to attend. Our wedding was the week of Thanksgiving, barely squeezed in between softball and basketball seasons. As luck would have it, my birthday falls during that same week, making it that much easier for him to celebrate everything at once. See how accommodating I am?

It took me a while to understand that as a coach’s wife, I’ve got to be realistic. I have to understand that there are literally dozens of people who rely on him every day – from kids to parents to his co-workers and school administration. If he doesn’t have the support at home to go and do his job, there’s a chance he could fail miserably. If he has a bad day at school, at practice or at a game, he’s not going to want to come home to a house that’s full of nagging and “But sweetie, I’ve told you five gazillion times to take out the trash!!”

If I can’t take out the trash, change a light bulb or squash a bug without the help of a man, there’s something seriously wrong. (Except for the last part. I’ve been known to trap spiders and wait for him to come home and kill them. Freaky!!)

Bottom line, I want him to be able to come home to a sanctuary. A place of rest. And lovin’s.

That means finding creative ways to keep yourself busy when you’re home alone, and most importantly, being content with your fill-in-the-blank season widowhood. Baseball, basketball, whatever - that season will pass!

My suggestions for things to keep busy include training for marathons, volunteering at local animal shelters, working on another degree and flying to see your baby sister in Texas a couple times a year for some mega-sister-shopping-and-gossiping-time.

And rearranging the furniture. It's awfully hilarious to hear your husband come home in the dark and not know where the recliner is.

16 September 2009

Life as a Coach's Wife

I honestly didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I had no clue what it would be like to hold the title of Coach’s Wife. Our first year of marriage was what I like to call the “The Term Major Adjustment is a Huge Understatement” year. I don’t know why, but I thought he’d be around. All the time.


First of all, it’s not like my husband keeps regular hours. He doesn’t go to school at 8am and come home at 5pm. I’ve learned the hard way that it is completely and utterly pointless to complain about his schedule. You either deal with it or you don’t, and if you don’t, then you, your husband and those around you (even the little old lady who lives down the street and knows more about your business than you do) will be miserable. I had to come to terms with the fact that yes, sometimes he has batting practice at 7am, and yes, practice days means he won’t get home until 8:00. Game days mean everything’s up in the air depending on if it’s a home game or if the game is two hours down the road.

We’ve been married almost six years now, and before that dated for almost three. In that time, my husband has held the following positions:

Assistant baseball coach, Morrisville, MO
Head baseball coach, Morrisville MO (state championship!)
Assistant Varsity basketball coach, Morrisville, MO
JV American Legion coach, Hillcrest HS, Springfield, MO
Head baseball coach, Miller, MO
Head American Legion coach, Miller, MO
Head softball coach, Miller, MO (coached softball four years, went to state all four years!)
Assistant Varsity basketball coach, Miller, MO
Head JV basketball coach, Miller, MO
Head Junior High basketball coach, Miller, MO
Head baseball coach, Licking, MO (fall and spring seasons)
Head Summer baseball coach, Licking MO
Head 8th grade basketball coach, Licking, MO

PROUD WIFE MOMENT: In that big list of coaching positions, he’s NEVER had a losing season! Seriously, people. My husband is an amazing coach.

When you’re in a smaller school system, you tend to coach more than one sport. At least that’s what I like to tell myself…the truth is, if my husband’s not coaching something, I think he’d curl up and die. Our first year of marriage, I held huge pity parties for myself the minute he walked out the door.

It was very, very, embarrassingly pathetic.

Now, well into our fifth year of marriage, if he’s home for more than three weeks without coaching or going to a game, I’m literally begging him to go find something to do. A bored husband with nothing to do makes me want to lock myself in the bathroom for an hour with a good book and a large bottle of Warm Vanilla Sugar bubble bath.

It’s pretty amazing to think that with all he’s done and accomplished, we’ve only lived in two places. First in Willard, Missouri – a great little town that served as a halfway point between my job in Springfield and his in Miller in southwest Missouri- to our current location in Licking, a little rural town in south central Missouri.

That being said, it’s always anyone’s guess when you’ll move on to a new town. If the school board doesn’t like my husband or if he has several consecutive losing seasons (like I mentioned, hasn’t happened yet!), he could find himself without a job for the next school year. Then there’s always the possibility that my husband will scout out his options for a new coaching opportunity at a new school.

Sometimes I’m not sure I want to go through the hassle of hanging pictures on the walls.

I found a great quote from an article about being a coach’s wife from the Jacksonville Times (21 November 2004). A couple coach’s wives were interviewed, and I could empathize with what they had to say:

Being a coach's wife also involves some creativity and a lot of sacrifice in terms of fashioning a career for themselves. Most wives find that they need to get into "portable'' professions due to all the moves. Joan Boudreau has a nurse's license that she has always kept current, while Carol Haluchak has been everything from a teacher to a real estate agent amid her husband's myriad job switches. "It's very hard to have a career when you're a coach's wife,'' Carol Haluchak said. "Nobody's going to spend the money to train you when you're going to be gone in a year or two.''

I totally agree. When we moved to this rural area last year, I about had a panic attack looking for a new job. My undergraduate degree is in English and I have a Master’s in Business. I had a fabulous career at an advertising agency in Springfield, MO in Account and Creative Services, mainly writing and producing radio and TV spots and doing graphic design. WHERE, in the farmlands and open spaces of south central Missouri, would I find a great position like that again? God was really helping us make this move easier - Rolla, MO – just a 45 minute drive away and the closest city – had a hospital with a great marketing department, and they just happened to have a position open for a graphic designer. Score.

But I can’t help but think about what will happen if we move again. I try so hard to have faith, that God will provide when the time comes to find a new job. But as the ladies above said, it’s just easier and a lot less stress for a coach’s wife to have a portable profession. Graphic design, while I love it and like think I’m pretty good at it, is not portable. It’s one of those positions where there are a lot of designers out there but not enough jobs to go around.

Earlier this year, my husband and I sat down for a talk about my career choices should we ever move again. After working in a hospital setting for the past year, it opened up some past desires that I had as a teenager. Medical missions. Helping and assisting the elderly. Learning how to not freak out at the sight of a needle. So I’ve started taking the classes I need to get another degree – this time a bachelor’s in Nursing. Very portable, don’t you think?

I’m pretty excited to see what the future holds. I’m always up for change – something I believe a coach’s wife should always be prepared for. Bring it!

In the Beginning...

I was always one of those girls who thought that big, empty fields were for chasing butterflies or looking for four-leaf clovers, playing princess and watching out for Prince Charming to come riding across the grass on his white horse, and creating rainbow-y bubbles with my bubble wand and bottle of soap. Fields were definitely NOT for chasing baseballs and getting your new shoes dirty. I would rather be playing dress-up with pretty skirts made of tulle, or finding the joy in sparkly lip gloss and lavender eye shadow.

I would rather babysit my sister than run after a dirty old baseball.

All of those thoughts were quickly smashed to bits when my mother signed me up for T-ball in the third grade. It was, in my opinion, a worthless attempt to get me interested in organized sports. My friends were getting base hits and catching fly balls while I was playing Airplane out in left field. The only way I got to first was if some girl even less coordinated with me overthrew the base. Needless to say, my sports days were numbered. I just know that behind my back, Coach begged my mom to reconsider my participation.

That was the start of my relationship with The Bench.

Just as I thought I was going to die of bordom, I convinced mother to let me take piano lessons instead of enduring the torture of T-ball practice every afternoon. I was giddy with the thought that my days of sitting The Bench were over.

Years later in college, I met The Boy. You know the one. Time stands still, orchestral music swirls in the background, and you are convinced that this is True Love. Nine years later, True Love looks a lot like muddy cleat marks across the kitchen floor and keeping dinner warm until baseball practice is over at 8pm.

Me, Miss I-Don't-Know-Anything-About-Sports-Nor-Do-I-Have-Any-Desire-To, married a baseball coach. It was probably because of the way he looked in his baseball pants.

So once again, I find myself on The Bench. Don't get me wrong. I love watching my husband coach. I gladly share in the joy of every heart-pounding win and want to cry with every heart-wrenching loss. But I don't know how to keep stats, I constantly get left and right field mixed up - do you look towards the outfield or towards home plate? - and, despite my dear husband patiently explaining it to me over and over, I still have no idea what constitutes for a balk.

So this is my life, me and The Bench. Supporting my husband no matter where his coaching career takes us...while dreaming of non-dusty feet and pedicures and dinner that doesn't come from the Booster Club stand.