Written by Elyse Rowland-Bauman
So this week is a pretty unique situation for the reason that we are 2 coaches married to each other. Apparently, Scott and I have come to terms with the fact that we will both have grey hair and high blood pressure much earlier in our lives than most married couples. Believe me, no one could ever care more about the programs I’m part of than me but yet I find myself caring equally as much for the programs that Scott is part of too. This creates an internal environment of fast-paced heartbeats, flushed cheeks, shaky hands and nervous ticks from August until March. It’s a little exhausting, to say the least. But then thinking of those wonderful days of sweet victories, breakthroughs with players, exciting things for the program, etc. makes it all worth it and helps the anxiety sink back below the surface.
Day in the life of being married to a coach
Again, this poses a unique situation since I could talk about both of our lives, but I’ll just talk about being married to the basketball guru that is Scott. Generally, you would think that in-season spouse and out-of-season spouse are different from each other but what I kind of love about our relationship is that Scott stays pretty consistent throughout.
A lot of film watching and breakdowns with some occasional “Ugh, gross” or “Man, good finish” or “And one!” thrown in there.
If it’s not film then it’s videos of drill ideas or X’s and O’s chalk talks on YouTube while scribbling down the ones he likes and even making modifications to some. I try not to talk or distract him much while he’s in that zone but I do enjoy watching and processing in my own way sitting next to him. Outside of that, he spends a good amount of time planning out practices, perfecting his scouting reports, and prepping his pre-game. My favorite parts of the day are obviously the parts that we get to spend together. We are typically able to have some time in the morning to wake up, have some breakfast and go over plans for the rest of the day. Come dinner time we usually have a lot to talk about so we enjoy cooking/prepping dinner in the kitchen together. Sometimes chopping things up is good for the stress! It may not seem like anything special but we do a really good job of finding time to watch our favorite shows or movies together and keeping the laughter at a high no matter if it was a good or bad day.
Dealing with the emotional roller coaster
As mentioned earlier, I think Scott and I are both on an emotional roller coaster for more than half of the year between our two seasons. I think it’s gotten a little easier the longer we have been together but I still struggle with how to be around Scott after a loss from his team. Being a coach and athlete myself I’ve lost plenty of games and each one can be different. There are those “good” losses where it still sucks, but you feel optimistic. Those are much easier to process as a spouse. Then those losses that just leave you feeling gutted, embarrassed or just downright angry. Man, those actually give me more anxiety than watching the game itself. When I lose those games I either don’t want to say a word to anyone or I want to get it all off my chest and sometimes Scott is on the receiving end of that. I try to be very cognizant of that when dealing with Scott’s team’s loss. I usually try and get home before him so that I can have some food and a beverage ready for him since, I mean, who doesn’t feel better after some food and a beverage? After that I just allow him to come and talk to me whenever he is ready, and sometimes he really doesn’t want to talk about the game at all.
My biggest piece of advice that I’ve learned is that listening to your spouse when they are talking about their frustrations is the most important thing. They are going through something rough and they want to vent. Without knowing the personnel at hand and the make-up of the program there is probably not much you can do to help other than being there to support them and maybe providing a couple of ideas of how they might be able to handle the situation. If you are the one doing the venting to your spouse also keep that in mind yourself. Although your spouse might know the names that you’re referencing or whatever, they aren’t nearly as involved so they won’t process it the same way that you are.
- Listen closely before responding to what your spouse is going through
- Try not to react emotionally to what they are saying – have a 24-hour rule for yourself that you’re not allowed to act on something within 24 hours of it happening
- On the flip side, don’t drag your spouse down with your issues. Of course, they’ll support you but it’s difficult to pull 2 people out of an emotional grave.
- If you are the coach in your relationship, share the good and the bad of what goes on through your program. Your significant other just wants to be involved in as much of your life as possible even if they have no idea what you’re talking about sometimes
- Make time for the non-sport things! Being in the heart of your season it seems like there’s no spare time, but you have to make time. Don’t drive yourself into a wall by not giving yourself a break to enjoy time with the people in your life. No matter what side of the relationship that you’re on, the roller coaster is inevitable in a given year and that’s ok. Sometimes you have to embrace it, ride it out, and get your head above water again.
Job security and opportunity for future planning
This part has completely developed for me over the last few years. Once again, my husband and I are in a very unique situation where we are both so driven to be in college athletics for our respected sports. This is a very difficult thing to accomplish in the same city, let alone the same state.
When we were first looking for our big breaks it seemed like we agreed on the fact that we would “take turns” for the opportunity. If it was me that got the big break then we would go there and wait for him to get the next big break. Now, I realize that it’s not about taking turns. It’s about truly understanding what the new opportunity is going to do for you and your family. Sometimes the new opportunity might be for the same person multiple times in a row. But if that’s going to put you guys in the best situation for happiness then support each other and pull the trigger. It has to feel right. There are going to be some opportunities that come up that might “look” right. Like everything on the surface screams, “Yes, this is a dream opportunity!” But if it just doesn’t put your mind, body, and soul at peace then maybe you need to reconsider. Sometimes it may seem or feel like a great opportunity will never come again, but have faith in yourself. The right opportunity for you and your family will come.