If you’ve seen Basketball Wives LA, you know what basketball wives do in their spare time. You know what they look like, glamorous and kept up perfectly. Their hair, their nails, their clothes. Their lives are full of drama and expensive gifts. Huge diamonds sit on their fingers, they have housekeepers, nannies, and constant help. They sit around tables on beaches, drinking champagne. They get in fights a lot. They party it up. They swear profusely.
Let me tell you, being a basketball wife in Aroostook County is not much different.
Okay, it’s a lot different (with the exception of the swearing profusely, which is at a current all time high). As I have dishes piled high, dog hair piled high, and my hair piled high, I think about how much my husband actually does for us in the Pelletier household. (He doesn’t do my hair, and honestly, my hair looks unkempt and undone for the majority of the year because I don’t do it. Anyway, I digress.) I look around my house and it’s very apparent that it’s basketball season.
Most nights, our suppers are cereal or frozen foods and we sit around a table we fight must like the wives of LA, but the fighting sounds more like this:
Aidan just took my carrot!
But you weren’t eating your carrot.
I wanted to eat that carrot.
I WANT TREAT.
Just like the show.
We have no clean laundry because dad’s at practice instead of switching the load over, so we must rewash the same load that mom has tried to do 3 times.
We now have to deal with me picking kids up from the sitters almost every night, bring them home, feed them (kind of), wash them (most of the time), and get them to bed hopefully before Dad gets home because he gets home late. Practice nights are easy, game nights are hard.
Basketball season teaches me a lot. And definitely not the same type of lesson that the LA wives learn about who to trust and who to not trust or who to call names and who not to.
It teaches me that our kids like him better because he’s more fun. He’s more consistent and methodical. He adds order to my disorder. He never stops moving. He always gives the kids a bath. He’s the reason why I have clean, matched socks (because lately, they are all in a basket unmatched and we frantically look for a pair at 7:43 AM when we should be in the car). It teaches me that a partnership cannot be one sided. It teaches me that you probably should do the dishes even though you had cereal for supper three nights in a row because you will eventually run out of bowls and spoons. It teaches me that kids need a second parent present in their life to offset the other and to fill in the cracks. It teaches me that I have a lot of cracks.
So, why do we do it? Why do I ‘allow’ my husband to coach when I have 3 kids at home?
Simple: He loves the game. He is passionate. He has coached longer than he’s dealt with my madness, so why should he have to give it up because I tricked him into having kids? Why should he have to stop doing what is enjoyable just because life gets a little hard during those months? Asking him to sacrifice what matters to him would be a travesty. Me expecting him to change would be a nail in the coffin of his happiness.
And further, as a bball wife, I know there is no greater feeling, no better sense of pride watching what he does out there. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t give up to see his talents and his passions displayed on that court. Watching the camaraderie he has with his players even YEARS past his tenures as coach is like that of no other. He will sacrifice a lot to give everything he has to teach not only basketball, but life lessons. He does his research, he displays tough love, he makes really hard decisions. He doesn’t do so lightly and often times I challenge his choices with questions and he always, and I mean always, thinks through his decisions.
So during these next few months, if you come to my house, understand that the disaster that ensues is mainly because my better half isn’t around to hold it all together. Don’t ask why or how I do it because I don’t know. But I do. We make it work because we are a team and sometimes when a player can’t run the plays he usually does, other players have to step up.
When you go to a game and feel the need to criticize the coach, remember that chances are they are criticizing themselves already, they are questioning their choices, and they are second guessing their judgement. There isn’t anything that you could say to them that they aren’t already saying to themselves. Remember that they stay up at night trying to find ways to get to kids, use what they have for players, and come out victorious. And that sometimes a win is less important than a life lesson. Remember that they will be harder on themselves than you realize, so be kind to them.
And remember that they have a wife at home who is missing that man wishing they could be watching him in action instead of telling their 2 year old that they can’t eat treats for supper, then dodging the toy that gets thrown at their head because of this decision. Remember that they and their families are sacrificing so your child, your nephew or niece, or your friend’s child can have an experience like no other playing a sport that they love.
Spread the love and encouragement, that’s the best thing you could do. And come help me find matching socks.