Put yourself in Coach

I’m trying to impress my “Coach” with my four inch vertical. To be fair, I’m wearing jeans. I try.

Around my house full of men who coach and play football, I’ve grown a thick skin over the years. Whenever I attempt to jump into the postgame “break it down” talk, or add my perspective on football recruiting, I often hear comments like:

“Mom, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Seriously, that’s not even close to right.”

“Oh my word, did you just say that?”

“We love you, but you need to stay in your lane.”

It sounds cruel, but don’t feel sorry for me. My men are good guys and they’re right. I honestly know very little about football when compared to their collective knowledge. But because I’m practically living in a locker room 24/7, it’s a little impossible for someone who talks as much as I do to stay out of the conversation. Most of the time, I keep talking until something gets a reaction, even if that reaction is eye rolls.

My football analysis could be described as “Mary Poppins talks X’s and O’s.” It’s laughable. Sometimes, I have to laugh at myself.

I confess that I admire the competitive drive and passion that my guys have for the sport they love. I understand why it’s no laughing matter to them. I’m also admittedly a little envious of my husband’s role as the “Coach.” Deep down, we all want to be that no-nonsense expert at something, right? In a phenomenon that only happens in sports, I think it’s interesting that once a person coaches a sport, even if for just one season, that person will forever be referred to as “Coach” by other coaches.

So what do I have to do to earn that title? Even though my family sarcastically calls me “Coach” all the time, they have no idea that I’ve actually been coaching for years.

Hey, I’m good at things! We’re all good at something. I’ve come to accept that while I may never be a member of their intense little football fraternity, I’m already a coach in my own right. We all are. We just need to be reminded sometimes.

Here’s my coaching resume:

I’m the coach of two needy cats.
I’m the coach of planning the most unpredictable vacations.
I’m the coach of challenging the status quo.
I’m the coach of networking.
I’m the coach of embedding stories in the hearts of my children.
I’m the coach of organizing family time.
I’m the coach of fun and mischief with my friends.
I’m the coach of stretching a dollar and finding treasures in the trash.
I’m the coach of living room karaoke.
I’m the coach of all the holidays.
I’m the coach of raising boys.
I’m the coach of finding the right words.

It’s incredibly empowering to recognize and believe in our unique value. It’s essential to embrace what we can do like no one else.

What can you do? What team would fall apart without you? What characteristics and talents have made you a coach?

When you discover OR re-discover these gifts, be thankful! They are the best part of you. While it’s a worthy goal to learn and pursue new things, it’s also okay to sit still and thrive where you are.

We have no business trying to be an expert at everything. That’s a recipe for neverending frustration.

This lesson alone may be the hardest one I’ve had to learn over and over again. It’s the lesson that just keeps giving, and humbling me constantly. When we stop bossing all the people, we can step back and get a glimpse of the boss in the mirror. This boss is the best one you’ll ever have. God gave you everything you need. He designed YOU to lead yourself first before leading anything or anyone else.

The game plan is simple. When you’re winning at being the best version of YOU, then you’re unbeatable, Coach.

On vacation, I’m in charge. This trip out West is one epic example of me as the “Coach of Vacations” (pictured here at Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park). We stayed in a teepee, we stayed in a dome, and we stayed at a hostel where some German guy in a sweater offered me an onion for breakfast. My boys called it dirty summer camp. #winning

Are you ready for some football?


Friday Night Lights in middle Tennessee.


It’s hard to even say the word right now because it sounds pretty optimistic, right? Yet we need some optimism, even if it’s misguided. So I’ll ask the question on many minds, are we really ready for some football? 

I know I am, no matter what it looks like, but I wasn’t always so enthusiastic. To provide a little context, I have a complicated history with football. Many years ago, the silver lining in a global pandemic would have been the cancellation of not just football, but ALL sports. Yes, that’s a true and difficult confession, but it’s an important chapter in my story.

For a large part of my life, I actually hated sports.

In elementary school, I hid behind trees in the outfield during recess softball. In middle school, some overly demanding (ok… brutal) P.E. teachers exposed my complete lack of athleticism in basketball drills. Literally, it has taken me years to resist flinching at the sound of the scoreboard buzzer in a gym. Truth be told, the only thing that made P.E. bearable for me was the square dancing. 

As I child, I managed to generate some sort of family loyalty to the Crimson Tide because that’s what you do when you grow up in Alabama. But deep down, I didn’t really care. I just didn’t want to hear about Auburn beating Bama for weeks in the hallways of school if God forbid, the Tide lost the Iron Bowl.


Let’s be honest. Have you ever seen a bigger dork proudly sporting her Alabama Crimson Tide jersey?

In the South especially – and not just Alabama – football is a larger-than-life passion that is shared in some way or form by almost everyone. It is a place where community happens, emotions are elevated, and talents of all types are on full display. Love or hate football, it would be hard to deny the strong and colorful thread it weaves through the fabric of our country.

Football is a uniquely American experience.

So that brings me back to the now of football and IF we’re going to have a now 2020 season. So far, there is promising news on all fronts, but I don’t want to jinx it. For my family, fall represents only one reality that remains firmly planted somewhere between two goalposts. I did not choose this sport and this life of first downs and touchdowns (I know the difference now, okay!?). Through my circumstances, it chose me. That’s why I can now say that I love football, and here’s why.

I am married to a high school football coach. I have two sons who play football. One plays for his Dad in high school and one plays in college. Football has given us security, a large extended family that transcends towns and schools, and a banner under which our family unit will always be on the same team. It has given my husband a way to process a difficult childhood into a worthy calling to influence and shape boys into men.

I have seen the literal transformation of players who couldn’t even make eye contact develop into young men who stood taller than they were and pushed themselves beyond their abilities. I have seen giant guys let down their defenses and weep into each other’s arms following the big wins and losses. I have seen tender, young hearts choose Jesus and embrace that new relationship in baptism. 


Coach training up our wild little boys early.

Football has gifted my sons with equal parts confidence and humility and always with perfect timing.

It has built their physical strength and mental fortitude in a world that too often celebrates and justifies weakness.

It has taught them responsibility and strategic thinking far away from their phones and video games.

It has served up accountability and resiliency in the place of blame game theatrics.

It has allowed them to have a healthy and appropriate place to channel their adolescent aggression.

And football has given them relationships and a brotherhood that can only be found through adversity and teamwork in the trenches.

Yes, I acknowledge and am very aware of the risks of this high impact sport, but I live with that. I choose to leverage those risks against the rich blessings that have been showered on them on this path. 

Has football been the great cure-all for our family and made my sons, who won’t cut their hair or keep their rooms clean, into perfect children? Far from it. But like any good football parent, I know that our years have been far more meaningful with it than they would have been without it. The same would hold true for all sports and activities that build character and develop confidence in our children. 

So to clarify, I know it’s unlikely that my words would ever sway the votes of lawmakers and educators and officials for football or in-person school. I don’t pretend to understand the data. Who can interpret something that changes almost hourly it seems? I DO value our safety and health and I pray daily that some intersection of knowledge and common sense will serve our schools and students well.

For my sanity and for my people, I just needed to say these words out loud for all the boys and coaches and fans and cheerleaders and band members and families and anyone who occupies some kind of space on or near the gridiron. I had to offer up one small rallying cry from someone who has also been transformed by football. That someone is me – a (still) proud band and theatre geek who is also now a football geek. Yes, it’s a thing. I am proud to be that combination with cowbell in hand, and I’m not afraid to ring it! 


My “More Cowbell” spirit was not lost on the Nashville, TN TV news. I am thankful for other football moms and wives like my dear friend Jamie (pictured here), who have taught me everything they know.