Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Life of a Football Girlfriend

I'm sure most of you have gathered this already (or know me personally and are well aware of this fact) but Brett works in Collegiate Athletics as a Strength & Conditioning and Football Coach. He's currently in the midst of the third football season since we met and the second since we've been dating. Football has always been a part of our relationship, and likely always will, but I'm completely okay with that. I grew up in a football-loving family and enjoy sports myself, understand the basics of the game (as far as a spectator is concerned... when Brett gets into his theories and techniques I get lost pretty quickly), and love that it's a source of such joy and passion in his life.

I think it's a good thing that I was an athlete from age 5 'til I graduated college because I definitely understand the time and energy that is demanded from collegiate athletics. That being said, dating a college football coach comes with some pretty unique relationship dynamics. I thought it'd be interesting to share with you all this part of our relationship, and give you an idea of what life is like to be the significant other of someone who's life revolves around the world of sports. (I'm sure that those of you out there who also date full-time coaches can relate to some of these!)

1. We're on completely different schedules. We are both so busy with all of our commitments, which usually means we wind up missing each other for most of the day. He's usually up at 4:30 AM for lifts with his athletes before working his 9-5, while I'm usually working with my students or in class long after business hours come to an end. We still manage to send texts or Snapchats between meetings throughout the day and strive for at least a 5-minute phone call before he passes out at 8 PM. Though we'd, of course, love to be able to make more time to speak to each other each day, we're still lucky enough to have those few interactions.

2. Time spent together typically involves him working or sleeping. But to be fair, I'm also usually doing school work or sleeping as well. For the most part, we're just happy to be in the same room for more than 5 seconds, so it doesn't really matter what we're doing. We're both very understanding of how busy we both are and know there's work demanding to be done!

3. Conversations tend to revolve around work. But who can blame us when that's what's consuming our lives. Brett literally lives his job from the moment he wakes up to the moment he goes to bed, and he is with the same people for 4 straight months. (It's similar for me, although I admittedly have much more personal time than he does and get to interact with people from 3 different campuses, so it's definitely not the same.) However, I really enjoy his stories from his job. He works with a staff of 20+ people and a team of 100+ athletes (and that's just the football team - he trains nearly every team on campus!), so no two days are the same!

4. I'm really good at packing a sideline survival kit. I developed this skill as a kid travelling to my sister's softball and soccer tournaments growing up, but I'm really good at knowing what to bring along with me in order to prioritize my time spent watching practices and killing time during half time and time outs during games. (I've found this to be prime time to catch up on my reading for grad school!) Whether I'm cheering on the team or getting work done, I'm certainly never bored in the bleachers!

5. Technology has made it much easier to support the team. Some of these games are far. (I mean, that's coming from a small-stater though, so 2 hours away for me is far.) If I could, I would be at every single one, but as a grad student I am:

a. broke and have to save my gas as much as possible, and
b. usually drowning in homework, so I really have to consider if all of the travel time could be better spent at the computer getting projects done.

That's where things like LiveStats and streaming come in! It allows me to "watch" the game without actually being there. Of course, nothing beats watching the game in person, but at least I'm still in the loop of what's going on. (Unless, of course, the technology crashes, but it's usually pretty reliable!)

6. It's an awesome professional development experience. As funny as it sounds, Brett and I are really in the same field. Different aspects of the field, but we're both working with students to enrich their college experience. I love being able to observe how he's interacting with his athletes, how his department is arranged and deals with their day-to-day business, and meeting everyone he works with. Student-athletes are a pretty misunderstood population, and getting the chance to interact with them through Brett keeps me educated and aware of what's happening on the athletics side of student affairs.

7. Summers are cut short and fall activities are non-existent, but... I get my man for the whole rest of the year! Yes, August-November I get some real quality time with myself and we don't get to do fun things like go apple picking or spend the day at the local fair, but the rest of the year we get to make up for that lost time. Of course, he's still working with the rest of the athletes doing Strength and Conditioning and Spring Ball, but we don't have to miss entire weekends together and can even (*gasp*) go on dates! So although these 4 solid months can get lonely, I have the whole rest of the year to plan and get excited for!


I love that Brett does what he does for a living. It's awesome that I get to see his work in action on a fairly regular basis, and it's even more awesome that it makes him happy. We're two very lucky people to be able to say that we're both pursuing what we love!

What does your S/O do for a living? How does it impact your relationship?
I'd love to hear some stories in the comments!

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