And actually, small is giving it a lot of credit. It’s a tiny, dirt road, give-directions-in-accordance-to-the-ball-field-kind-of-town.
You get the picture. It was the kind of town where community meant everything, and coaches played a huge role in our lives growing up. So much so that when I stopped to think about the fellow CWs in my "inner circle" there were three! Counting us, four out of the seven couples that we grew up with, graduated with, stuck with through the college years, found our way back home to, celebrated weddings and babies and real jobs with, and continue to call our people today, have embraced the life of a coach/coach's wife.
Though we've all been together for what seems like forever, we're all at different stages in our CW journeys.
One is recently married and starting their newlywed lives together. One just celebrated their first baby girl turning one. And one is planning to run off to Mexico this autumn to tie the knot.
While we're all handling this adventure a bit differently - as is to be expected - the best part of it is watching our families grow into the role models we looked up to so much when we were younger.
Meet Heather - soon to be wrestling wife. When I asked her what her Coach meant to their community and school, she echoed exactly what those who went before us did:
"Being in a small town, he has a lot of people watching what he is doing with the program. They want to see it grow and have success. He wants to teach the life lessons that wrestling has to offer to all levels of wrestlers. My role in all of this is to be a supporter of not only him, but of the wrestlers as well."
Meet Katie - seasoned veteran wrestling wife. She and her coach welcomed their first tiny human into the world about a year ago. "I imagined I'd bring her to the duals and tournaments and we'd "cheer" on daddy all the time. But in reality, some days it was way to much work to pack everything up and get out the door on my own, so I'd tell myself that I'd catch the next event. Needless to say, I went to very few events."
"I imagined being his biggest supporter, being all the help I could be, Heather shared. "Reality is he spends a lot of time away from home. Practice every night from November to February. Wrestling duals and tournaments almost every Saturday. Open mats and camps all summer long. Fundraisers, meetings, and more. I never knew much about wrestling, I've never been around or interested in wrestling until he took on a head coach position. But now I can keep the books and not sound like a complete idiot cheering for the athletes! I try to be a good listener when he needs me, but provide an outside perspective as well."
Maybe it's a wrestling thing, but Heather and Katie both seem to agree on what they've learned that gets them through the daily grind:
Katie's Top Three
1. Quality, not quantity. Spend quality time together when you get the chance.
2. There is (somewhat) of an off season for wrestling.
3. I can ask my family for help. They're always there.
Heather's Top Three
1. The season will come and go and we will eventually get the time together that we miss out on.
2. He's making a difference for kids who may not have a great home life and wrestling is their only
outlet - and that's something I can be extremely proud of.
3. He wants the kids to learn more than just the sport - but the discipline, work ethic, and heart that
comes with it...those are all the things that helped him become the man he is today...and all things I
have to be thankful for!
What role does your coach play in the community? How do you fit into to that? What kind of coaching culture do you have to thank for where you're at now?
P.S. Mad photo cred to the talented Chantel Lea Photography...a family friend with an amazing eye behind the lense!