try again after football season

So, here is my authentic and candid experience as a college quarterback’s wife.

I don’t know where to begin. I can start from the beginning but that might take awhile… or I can start right now and work my way backward but that might be confusing.

I guess I want to preface this post with a few things:

  1. I don’t know what it’s truly like to be a division 1 college football player or even a college athlete for that matter. What I do know is what it’s like to be married to one.
  2. He’s my husband so I am biased. I know he’s not perfect and I don’t expect him to be but he’s the bee’s knees in my eyes.
  3. If you’re here to pick apart what I have to say, please click the ‘back’ or ‘exit’ button now.

So, here is my authentic and candid experience as a college quarterback’s wife.

First and foremost I want to mention that I chose to follow Kurt as he pursues his goals. This may seem obvious to some but I get asked quite often, “What about you?”. I find it somewhat offensive. I’m still my own person with my own life. I have a lot of my own things going on… feel free to ask Kurt who would totally agree. I used to say that it was ‘his turn’ and when college was over it would be ‘my turn’ but in actuality, this isn’t the truth. This is our turn, together. We’re both following his dream– my ‘dream’ is his dream, If he’s happy, I’m happy. I support any decision he makes in regards to our future. I still have my own goals and aspirations and no one is a bigger supporter to those than Kurt. Some days I want to go to law school, some days I want to open a kennel, some days I want to work in law enforcement, and some days I want to be a stay home mom. He supports all of my crazy ideas and says I should go for any one of them.

It can be incredibly fun. For almost 12 weeks straight on Saturdays, I am sitting in a football stadium. I love watching my husband play (not always but more on this later). It’s all his hard work right in front of me. I’m usually surrounded by family, eating and cheering. I go to some away games which are always exciting. Seeing other stadiums, fans, and towns are one of my favorite parts of football season.

It can also be heartbreaking. Really, truly, heartbreaking. I have cried because of football way too many times to count. After sitting on the bench for 3 years, he earned the starting position, 4 days later and 6 days before the first game he had a season ending injury. He asked me to pick him up from practice. When I pulled up he was sitting on a bench with his whole leg wrapped up and crutches lying next to him. He didn’t have to say a word, I just cried for him and with him. Seeing the person you love put in so much work for so long for it to be yanked out from under them sucks.  He had surgery a few days later. I cried during his surgery and I cried after. When I first saw him after surgery he was just waking up. He grabbed my hand and I could see the pain in his eyes. I won’t soon forget the things he said while coming off anesthesia. I was expecting him to be goofy and nonsensical, it was the opposite. I looked at his dad and we both knew we had to do our best to keep it together for him. His surgeon said the injury was different than expected and he couldn’t bear weight for 6 weeks. Kurt heard this while he was still hazy from the medication and was so confused. He’s my rock but I knew I had to be that and more for him then. I told him it was going to be fine and we would get through it together. We did… he slept on the couch for the first several days while I slept right next to him on the floor. I woke up every 3-6 hours to give him his medication or help him to the bathroom. I wanted to make this tough time as easy as possible so I did everything I could to do just that. He caught up on books he had been wanting to read, played XBox, and played with our dog who was a puppy then. What felt like many, many months later, he was cleared to play again. That was a happy moment.

One of my favorite upsides was moving away. I (and we) have learned so much about life and ourselves from leaving. Kurt was more used to moving around- me, not so much. I had never moved. It was such a blessing having this be an aspect of our relationship. We lived in North Carolina for 3ish years. I learned so much about being independent, getting out of my comfort zone, and learning that life is what you make it. I saw the leaves change, snowfall, ate authentic BBQ, and lastly, made NC home. After that, we moved once again. This time was different though because I was a part of it. I was there for the whole process. From the moment Kurt said, “I’m not sure this is the right fit anymore” to “Yes, we’re moving”. I was excited and sad. I love change and new things so that was appealing but I was also really upset about leaving the school I worked so hard to get accepted into. I loved loved loved my degree, my professors, and my advisor. After getting over that fact, I really was excited. A new town, new friends, new job, new place, new football team.

Why does watching my husband play sometimes suck? You probably could have guessed it… I don’t like watching him get smacked by a 250+ pound enormous lineman. Thankfully, he’s tough. There has been a few times he gets up slow or hesitates before getting off the ground and it makes my stomach turn. He comes home after the game and usually only mentions it once, “I’m really sore”. I can see the proof all over his body… I don’t think the average person would use the word ‘sore’. He comes home with bruises, lumps, bumps, and occasionally some torn body parts. But he’s just ‘sore’. Clearly, more than a little uncomfortable.

Another aspect I think some people don’t realize is how for 12 weeks straight, we have people around. I love our family so so much but sometimes it can be incredibly difficult. We sometimes feel torn between people. Who do we spend time with after this game? the next game? Not to mention, it’s our weekend. We have to get back to ‘work’ on Monday and typically, Saturdays are exhausting enough. With that said, I would never change having this ‘issue’.

Oh, Charlottesville. Football brought me to you. In the short amount of time that we have lived in Virginia, I have completely fallen in love. The trees and mountains are so beautiful, there is so much to do, so much to see. It’s one-of-a-kind. Not too small, not too big. No matter where life takes us this town will have a piece of my heart.

One of the things I had to learn the hard way was to not read social media about my husband. People are mean. They don’t always realize that players are normal college students. They have families who read the really unkind things people say. People have a right to an opinion about what type of player he is but not what type of person he is. This is one of the hardest things I have had to deal with. He’s so tough and never lets it get to him. I never read social media anymore, ever. Unfortunately, I can’t escape it at games. The people sitting next to me in the stands say such unnecessary things that are really difficult to ignore. I do my best and one day I know none of it will bother me because I get better every time. I have to remind myself that usually, they don’t really know what goes into what it took to get there or even how football really works. It’s a part of the game, unfortunately.

We live about 3.5 hours from Kurt’s dad and 16+ hours to our other parents. I know this isn’t football specific but it is for us. At this point in our life, I don’t think we would live near parents either way but that doesn’t change how challenging that can be. Holidays are an ordeal. Where do we go? Do we bring the dogs? Do we drive? How much time does Kurt have off from football? How much time can I get off? Most holidays in the Fall/Winter are off limits to leave. We’ve gotten really used to this though and we make the best of it.

I don’t know what normal is for couples but I don’t imagine it as being this. Kurt has practice before the sun comes up and is usually out the door before 5:30am. I don’t usually go to work until late morning. We share our Jeep so I often wake up to take him to football then come home and sleep for a few more hours before I get up and ready for work. I then go to work where he usually comes and picks up the keys in the afternoon to go home and take a short nap. Then he goes back to school or practice. Depending on the day, he gets done as early as late afternoon or as late as 9pm. There are days where the only time we really see each other is in passing when he or I am picking up the car. Then in the fall, he leaves Friday morning and usually gets home later Saturday night so half of our weekend is gone. Fortunately (and gratefully), we have most Sunday’s together. It can be lonely but that feeling is rare these days, it’s something I have just gotten used to. We cherish the time we have when we can spend quality time together.

Football has given Kurt a huge advantage. He will walk away from college debt free. He worked hard for that. We will start life after college with only one of us having student loan debt and for that, I am also incredibly thankful.

We have met some really amazing people along the way as well. Some were only in my/our life for a short while but some will be life-long friends. I didn’t have a ton of friends in North Carolina but those few are family now (I love you guys A & K, you know who you are!). Kurt also has friends that are our family now too. I love them dearly. Since moving to Virginia, most people have been so welcoming and I love those who we are close too. They have very quickly made Virginia home and I feel so blessed to know them.

Lastly, it’s being there when the curtain goes down, when the game is over and people leave. On Saturday nights or Sunday afternoons, we watch film and he teaches me things and vents to a confidential ear. It’s bouncing positivity off each other when that’s not really what we’re feeling but know that’s what we need to be. I do my best to be the strong one when he isn’t and vice-versa. We make a great team in that aspect. Football is up’s and down’s and then up again but with each other, we have a constant.

In short, being a college football wife is; fun, tough, sad, rewarding, exciting, frustrating, and a blessing.

 

2 thoughts on “try again after football season

  1. Well said. You both have chosen well in picking each other. I pray the Lord continues to bless both of you for many years to come.

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  2. Sam- this is perfect and no one will ever understand what you both have been through (*except maybe another college players wife) …i am so incredibly proud of both of you…The restraint you show when you are in the stands and “our fans” are talking shit about your husband and his performance amazes me… cause when i was there i was about to loose it with some of those “ignorant” people. Kurt is only one component of a team that is struggling and rebuilding…Way to take the high road and just love and support your man no matter what!!!! xoxoxoxo

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