The coach’s wife, you’ve met her before. She’s the one in those feel-good-sports movies that appears exactly three times. Once in the opening scene, she’s up in the bleachers rooting the team on, and you realize she’s the wife after her husband’s team has lost, disappointingly, and the camera goes from her look of sadness to her husband’s slumped shoulders. The second scene she gets to star in is short, and the only time the writers give her any lines. The coach needs a little pick-me-up, and so the coach’s wife is there to let him know how much she believes in him and his team. The last scene she’s in is at the very end of the movie. Once again she is up in the stands, but this time she is jumping up and down and smiling because her husband has brought the under-dog-team to victory, and of course, they’ve won a championship. If she’s lucky the coach, her husband, looks up into the bleachers and smiles.
I’m the coach’s wife. I’ve been a coach’s wife for eleven of the twelve years of our marriage. And I keep wondering why there aren’t any blockbuster films where the wife is the star and the husband is in the sidelines.
I mean, I am a fairly intriguing and occasionally exciting personality. I’m the constant. I’m always there. I’m there in the preseason, the regular season, and the off-season. I hear all the team drama. I know all the squad secrets. I know what the coach really thinks of all his players: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I know what the coach is like after a win, a victory, a defeat, and an utter failure.
I’m that lady with the three little boys who is often not watching any of the games, but is instead trying to entertain the children: snacks, toys, bathroom runs, concession stand visits, and games of tag and wrestling in the grass. I often wonder if any of his players think, “Wow, what an amazing mom. Look at her wrestling with her three boys. I wish my mom was that developmentally appropriate.”
And I have my dramatic moments too. I have those scenes where the coach talks me out of quitting, convinces me that this is all worth it. That these late nights and no-weekends-with-daddy will all pay off. It’ll all be worth it for that one season when they win the championship. I too dream of glory. I hear the soundtrack running through my mind as I live the sport’s dream.
Fall is but weeks away, and so my friends have started to ask, “So, is Hans busy? Has soccer started?”
I want to yell, “When did it ever end! Do you realize there is no off-season anymore? It is a year-round obsession and commitment.”
But I don’t, “Yeah, daily-doubles start next week. Soccer widowhood here I come.”
They smile and nod and that is the end of it.
And then it hits me, the reason that there is no movie titled The Coach’s Wife is because then the wife would appear to be the true hero, and that would ruin all the other great sports films of history past. And we certainly wouldn’t want to have the mirage come crashing down, now would we.
(I read this out loud to my husband, laughing the whole time. His response, “Wow, a little bitter?” I told him it was necessary therapy, and not to worry. I’d be on the sidelines cheering them on, even during the wet games of November.)