At the end of July, football wives around the world kissed their husbands goodbye as they walked out the door for the start of training camp, the beginning of another season.
July 31st was an important day in the Hodges household, too. It officially marked an entire year without football. For one whole year, I’ve known when my husband would be coming home. I didn’t eat my meals alone, and our Saturdays were filled with laziness and coupley things. All things I longed for all five years we wore the football title.
Normalcy. Regularity. Stability.
Our year without football has been one of the hardest years of our marriage to date. A year full of transitions, shifting responsibilities, new beginnings and broken hearts.
It feels weird to confess this to you, but I miss it; the world I wasn’t ever sure I wanted. What woman wants that life?
I did more than just get used to it, I grew to love it. Mid-November breakdowns and single wife dinners aside, the world of football is filled with hope, determination, excitement, hard work and lessons learned.
Once in it, I never really saw our lives without it. In fact, remembering our marriage pre-football is hard for me. For almost exactly one year, we cruised the onramp to marriage without football, and it felt like everything we did that year was leading us to pigskin and scoreboards.
Filling the space football used to consume in our lives has been harder than you’d imagine. We made room for it, all of it, in our marriage. When people say they’re married to the game, that’s a real thing. Silly as it might seem, there’s more to football than four quarters and referees. There’s family and understanding, community and a sense of belonging.
For one whole season, my husband hasn’t been Coach, and I haven’t been Mrs. Coach.
And we’re still figuring out what that looks like.
To those wives knee deep in it, already missing their husbands as they eat their dinner alone and crawl into bed solo, I’m standing with you in spirit, missing every minute of it, cheering you on.