I Love You, Football Head!

It is football season in case you haven’t noticed.

Football season is NOT like hunting season.

When you are married to a football coach, football season unoficially begins in January and runs through March with numerous football clinics all over the state.

There is a short window between late March and early June when football schedules do not rule every decision in the household.

Then, in June, the players start meeting up with the coaches at the weight room to begin summer weight training to bulk up for the fall season.

The first game occurs before Labor Day (Public school begins the Monday following Labor Day in Michigan), and kids must be at practice on Labor Day, or else.

The official football season runs through October, or even November if the team is good enough to make the playoffs.

Is it bad to admit if I have prayed for a defeat?

I was just asking.

I am neither confessing nor denying…

Yes, I am married to a football coach.

My husband, Shawn, has either played or coached football since the age of nine.

Nine.

He is 42.

Shawn and I met when we were sixteen years old in the summer between our sophomore and junior years of high school.

I figured if I wanted to date a football player, I needed to learn all about the sport.

This was in 1990, long before I could Google, “How to play football” or search for “Football Rules” on Wikipedia.

I learned by immersion.

I spent every Sunday watching the San Francisco 49ers play ball, and Joe Montana was H-O-T, hot!

He and Jerry Rice connected like magnets working together to get the ball down the field and into the end zone.

Once I understood how the game of football was played, I knew why my father would sit on the edge of the couch and scream at the TV.

It helps to yell, right?!

I will admit that I thought Shawn would outgrow his love for the sport.

I was never so wrong.

Once, Shawn’s dad joked, “If I aim a flashlight into your ear, I will see the laces of a football spinning around inside your head.”

Football head!

I thought that was hilarious!

Shawn did not…

Shawn loves football.

LOVES football.

Not just like in a friendly, “I love you, football!” way, but in an “I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE you, football!” way.

I will admit this is the first year that his coaching has not made me absolutely irritated.

Last year, he and I participated in a program called Journey of Generosity with our church.

That program completely transformed my love/hate relationship with Shawn and football.

For the first time, I saw the impact that Shawn’s coaching has had on so many young men’s lives through the years, and I came to understand that he is one of the most generous people I am privileged to know and to love.

Shawn used to coach in a community where a significant number of the boys were growing up in one-parent households, and they were not receiving the love, attention, and discipline from their absent fathers that they so desperately needed.

With powerful words of encouragement, Shawn teaches his players about the importance of integrity, being your personal best, constantly working to improve, and becoming a leader.

Sometimes it is very easy for me to look around at our youth today and just shake my head (SMH, if you are text-savvy).

Kids are so immersed in social media and technology that I have wondered how they will ever become the future leaders of America.

Then I watch Shawn on the football field with the other coaches and the players, and I have hope.

Yesterday, our team played an undefeated team.

Our kids exhibited all aspects of a powerful team, and they took every setback in stride.

When interceptions, penalties, and fumble recoveries threatened their win, they held together and stayed strong.

The players demonstrated both camaraderie and healthy competition, and we won the game in the last four seconds with a touchdown and a final score of 16 to 14!

All of the fans were on their feet, and the kids were jumping and cheering afterward.

All at the same time, I can only explain their amazing win as refreshing, encouraging, and breathtaking.

I fell in love with Shawn again last night.

I love my football-headed husband.

 

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