The Times, They Are A’Changin’!!

So if you’ve followed this blog at all (and you probably haven’t) I’ve written about change and transition A LOT. It’s a huge part of the whole coaching lifestyle. Well, that call finally came for us. But not in any way close to how I imagined it coming. A couple of months ago, in the midst of what I can describe only as smack dab in the middle of the darkest period in my adult life, I was shuttling our 2 girls to a gymnastics meet 5 hours away, solo. I was solo because our family had suffered the unimaginable loss of my husband’s 27 year old cousin, suddenly and without much warning. While we were reeling, the competitive gymnastics season trucked on and so did we. He stayed behind for the service and visitation and the girls and I tearfully and reluctantly left town.

I wasn’t 2 hours away when he called with news that we had been waiting for….we had a new opportunity. And not a coaching opportunity either. Something that would keep him not only in the same state, but the same town! All the time! And he wouldn’t have to travel, save for a weekend here, a week or so there, maybe 3 times a year. No more late nights at the office, no more juggling soccer and gymnastics with recruiting trips, pregame meals and last minute emergencies at the field. No more missing entire weekends of activities because the team is in another country.

No more tailgating…no more wives outings…no more sisterhood…no more bear hugs from linemen who are dripping in sweat and bleeding from some unseen gash in their heads but don’t feel a thing…no more hearing, “Hi mama!” from 80 boys on a daily basis…with one decision, everything we’ve ever known as a family was turned on it’s head. At first I wanted so badly to tell him to say no. We made it through this long, we can make it work again. Then I thought of the 6 children under the age of 13 whose fathers or mothers I have buried in the last 6 months and I instantly knew what we had to do. So The Decision was made, he accepted, we hung up the clipboard and whistle and we’re in the mad dash of moving.

I’ve written a ton of blogs about purging, organizing, getting your ish in check for a move. Guess what? I didn’t listen to a damn thing I wrote. Not. A. Thing. 7 trips to the dump, countless garbage bags and many, MANY late nights later, my house is getting there. We have a showing on Thursday and don’t EVEN get me started about how much THAT stresses me out, so I’m down to crunch time. Laundry has been done, down to the last sock, the only rooms I have left that need some serious work are the kitchen and my youngest daughter’s room. Both of which are small and pretty easy. Then I just need to run a quick vacuum and broom over things and breathe. Riiiiight.

In the meantime, we have nowhere to live in our new town (which is 400 miles and 6 hours away), I don’t have a job yet and my husband leaves in exactly 13 days. No big. I always told myself our first move was going to be so exciting and an adventure and the best times in our lives. HA! Have I MET me?! Have I seen how insane I get when things are out of my control? I’m funny.

The last wrinkle of all of this is the good byes. Last night I saw the staff and wives for the first time since we made The Decision. It was easier than I thought it would be, but coaches wives are a special group. We (yes, I still consider myself a coaches wife even though technically I’m not one anymore) are used to transition and moves. We know goodbye is inevitable and it’s part of the game. So there were hugs and “I’ll miss you’s” and “we’ll have dinner before you go!” This week I’m meeting with another group of ladies who I’ve grown close to over the years and next week I put on my last seminar here.

While the good byes are hard, I’m so excited for the next chapter. Being able to have time as a family has been an amazing experience and while I wouldn’t trade the last 6 years of our lives for anything on this Earth, I can’t wait to go to a college game this fall, as a family. ❤


Show Me The Money

No, Cuba Gooding, Jr. isn’t guest blogging today, sadly. But this famous phrase, uttered by Gooding in the hit sports movie Jerry Maguire, is a great lead in to a hot topic surrounding college football today: paying players.

If you’re even a casual fan of college football, you’ve heard of Johnny Manziel, otherwise known as Johnny Football. For those unfamiliar, Johnny Manziel is a sophomore quarterback for the Texas A&M Aggies football team. He tore the college football landscape apart last year with his brilliant play and was the first freshman in history to win the Heisman Trophy, the most prestigious award a college football player can earn.

Since winning the award, Johnny has been in the media for the things he has been up to in the off-season. Most recently, and most worrisome for A&M fans, is a video that was leaked showing Johnny Football signing autographs. The video was shot by an autograph dealer and he claimed to have paid the college sophomore for his services. This is a direct violation of the NCAA rules. A player cannot be paid for his performance, likeness or signature. Period. That is NOT a grey rule like so many other NCAA rules, it is black and white. If A&M plays him and he is found to have violated that rule, the team will forfeit any game he played in. Obviously, that’s a huge concern for the school.

On the heels of the Manziel controversy is a lawsuit by former players against the NCAA for making money off of their likeness in the EA Sports NCAA games. If successful, it could pave the way for change concerning how the NCAA compensates its players.

Currently, the NCAA “compensates” its players by providing a free education to Division I players. For most of them, that’s huge. For players like Johnny Football, they’re not there for the education. They’re playing strictly for agents and pro scouts to see them and decide where they will be drafted when they’re eligible. In the meantime, bookstores sell jerseys with the most popular players’ numbers on them, their images grace marketing materials and they’re discussed on all the major talk shows. They train for months, get knocked around on Saturdays and don’t see a proverbial dime for it.

Isn’t an education enough?! Lots of people say yes, it’s worth thousands of dollars. However, agents, players and some experts argue that the amount of money the schools are making from these marketing efforts far surpasses the value of that education. And in my opinion, they have a point. Schools can pay a limited stipend to players; enough for gas or rent, but they cannot go further than that. Players cannot be paid a percentage of the money from jersey sales or program sales. All that goes to the school. Consider this: if an NFL level player in his senior year blows his knee out and is no longer able to play at a competitive level, he is now out whatever he could have made as a pro. He will graduate debt free, but he will not have the guaranteed income he once would have.

So do we pay them or not? Is a free education and enough cash to buy a few things sufficient? Keep in mind, these young men cannot work. They are being “paid” to play football so play they must. Most of the players you see on Saturday won’t play on Sundays. They’ll become engineers or teachers and be content with the memories and the mementos they receive from playing at college’s highest level. But does that mean they should watch the schools they play for rake in the money while they cannot? The answer is not simple. The solution certainly will not be.