I love football. I’ve always loved football. I grew up a huge fan of the New York Giants. Yes, I’m a Jersey girl and that will forever be my NFL team. I owe my love of football to a very special man in my life, my mom’s boyfriend, who I now affectionately call my Dad. He was a season ticket holder and took me to games, training camps and charity events, which are some of my fondest memories. All of this I believe prepared me for where I am now in my life. I am a coach’s wife. My husband is Chris Partridge, Special Teams Coordinator and Linebackers Coach for the University of Michigan. It’s great to be a Michigan Wolverine!
Our life is full of football, family and love. Because honestly, I don’t see how you can be a coach’s wife without loving football. The two go hand in hand. So, it’s a win-win for him. I love him, and I love football! Isn’t he a lucky guy?
But being a coach’s wife is two-sided.
The highs are high. We cheer hard and loud. We celebrate the victories. We run onto the field to find our coach and congratulate him on the win. Always followed by a celebratory on the field family picture. We know our coach’s passion for the game. Every day we see his dedication to his players. His determination to succeed. The undying desire to strive to be better than the day before, the game before. We are a coach’s family and proud of it.
The life of a coach’s wife has so many exciting parts. My favorite part is meeting and developing long lasting relationships with the players and their families. I’m an Italian girl, where family comes first, and football is family. We host players for big dinners, where I cook their favorites, so they can relax, enjoy a homecooked meal, watch games, play PlayStation, or just laugh and joke around. Many of them have also become big brothers to our daughter Mia. They will play soccer, catch fireflies, and roast smores with her. I swear she is going to be just like the little girl from the movie Remember The Titans. My heart fills with an overwhelming sense of joy by being a part of these young men’s lives, hearing them call me their Michigan mom and seeing their excitement when I’m making their favorite foods. We have real life conversations that do not just revolve around football. I’m always checking up with them on their academics, personal life, families, and I keep it very real. Our home is their home. And our door will always be open to them.
We have traditions…well, maybe superstitions for gameday. I always tell my husband good luck before he leaves the house. That is followed by a text, the same text, every single gameday. With the same response following. It’s our thing. And it’s these little things that mean the most. The next step is I wake up our daughter by saying, “It’s GAMEDAY!” After this my anxiety for the game to start sets in. I need to get to the stadium as soon as possible. A noon start? I’m there at 9:00 a.m. A 3:30 start? I’m there by 12:30 p.m. A 7:30 pm start? I’m there by 4:30 pm. I love the feeling outside of the stadium. The hope, the excitement, the adrenaline rush for the game. I’m all in. For my husband, for the players, for the other coaches and their families.
I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the other coach’s wives. These truly amazing ladies that I’ve been blessed to meet and have in my life are simply the best. Michigan is my first place as a college coach’s wife. Each and every wife on this staff that I have met, has embraced our entire family with open arms. We are the women behind the men. We are strong, loyal, and fiercely independent. We do it all. And we rely on each other through it all. Need help with our children, done. Need help with your house, done. Need recommendations for doctors, dentists, activities, schools, done. Need a friend, done. Need anything at all, done, done, done. No questions, no hesitations. Why, you ask? Because we are all in the same boat and we will not let each other sink. I thank each and every one of them from the bottom of my heart for their friendship, their kindness, their guidance, their support, and their true understanding of what the life we live brings.
Now onto the other side of the ball, so to speak.
The lows are low. The losses hit hard. If you are a coach’s wife, the pain of a loss sits in the pit of your stomach. For me, it’s not only because I am competitive myself and like to win, but because you see day in and day out the dedication, persistence, determination, focus, and incredible effort our coaches and these players put forth. Then you must go home and gauge how to deal with a defeat. I like to make sure my husband has food ready to eat and other games on television to watch, with family and friends over that have come to support him, us and our team.
Time. There’s never enough time with our coach. The days are extremely long, so you become creative. I stop at the office with our daughter from time to time. She runs right to his office and is right up in the mix of what’s going on. She’s running gassers, drawing on the dry erase boards, asking questions about film and players. She’s in her football home and she’s happy. On the days where that’s not an option, you let your child stay up just a little bit late, till he comes home and can say goodnight. You go get your Christmas tree around his schedule, so you can do it as a family. After that, he’s probably on the road again recruiting. And when that window of opportunity arises, in those crazy recruiting weeks when your coach is home, you make sure the lights are on the tree so that you can all decorate it together as a family. Vacation? Only in the month of July. And that fills up quickly, trying to cram in family, weddings, friends, and just some good old- fashioned quality down time. Prioritizing with the ability to do it in a moment’s notice is a must. Throw your planner out the window. You are a coach’s wife. When he’s home, you are home, and the kids are home.
Which leads me to another topic. Family and friends. Attention…due to football season we are not available for anything. We go to every game, even most away games. From September until at least November, but we ALL hope for January, our weeks and weekends are booked. It’s the life we chose. But please understand that it doesn’t mean we don’t miss you, love you, wish we were celebrating, or laughing, or crying with you. But unless it’s a bye week, we are not available. And when January comes, nope, our husbands are still not free. We have more time to take trips, schedule visits and such, but our husbands are out recruiting for weeks at a time. And when that’s over, they have spring ball and the spring game. Followed by more recruiting and camps, until finally…yay for July! Ever realize how many coach’s anniversaries are in July? Want to know mine? July 1. Exactly. You get it now. Then…BAM…it’s August and fall camp. Here comes the start of another season. See you when you come out for a game? Bye week? End of November? Hopefully not December or January. If not…see you in the spring…or July!
This is my life. This is our life. This is the life of all the coach’s wives I know.
And as my husband would say, “Woooooooooooo doggies!” It’s one heck of a ride and we are loving every minute of it!