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Honoring a great woman

"It's only a game."

That sentence absolutely should not exist in the verbal repertoire of the wife of a coach. I've known enough coach's wives and their husbands over the years to feel confident in saying that. There are many other things they should never say but I'll put that at the top of the list.

"We'll get'em next time."

That sentence, with an emphasis on we, is one that a coach's wife should learn to say with all sincerity. Unlike any other profession, the coach's wife must be sold on the idea that coaching must be a team effort between the two. Only the local preacher and his wife may even come close.

The job of a coach's wife is a tough one. There is a litany of things that she should not say or do plus all of the things that she must say or do. Add that to the fact that she is married into the most competitive group of people in the world and her life becomes one of him first, children second, and herself last.

To itemize all of the unique points in the lifestyle of a coach's wife would take up a year's worth of space in this newspaper. I won't even try. I'm not sure that quantifying all of those little tidbits is even possible.

Years ago, I heard a coach's wife trying to discourage one of her husband's former players from going into the coaching profession. "The games can be fun," she said, "but when there's no game you'll spend more time with everybody else's kids than your own."

Many coaching widows have learned that observation the hard way. Yet after becoming fully aware of that cold, hard fact of life they hang in there year after year. It's amazing to me how many coaches and their wives stay married for so long without the social phenomenon of divorce rearing its ugly head. For that, the wife deserves most of the credit.

I've known some wives that had to literally make themselves return to their own home after a tough loss by her husband's team. I've known others that had to stop and think just where home was after living the vagabond life that many coaches live. It is not uncommon for a coach's wife to get to travel to her own childhood home to visit her family only on rare occasions. In other words, home - to the wife of a coach - takes on an entirely different meaning than it does to most ladies.

There are many used to be or would be coaches out there that never made it in the profession. They either were not willing to put their wife and families in that position or the wife was not willing to tolerate it. Either way, even with the many inconveniences, they may have really missed something special. Only the wife of a coach can describe that lifestyle as special.

One special coach's wife will be honored tomorrow night by the Thomson High Athletic Booster Club. The first lady of Thomson football, Mrs. Anne Welsh, will be the recognized guest of honor at the club's annual banquet. She deserves the honor in the highest of ways. She could write a book on the things I have mentioned. She's been there with Coach Welsh through thick and thin and her book could be a best seller.

The best part of all would be chapter one. She would probably openly acknowledge that the thing that has made it wonderful is that Coach Welsh appreciates her and never takes her for granted. Anne and Luther Welsh, a wife and her coach extradionairre. Now that's a team.

Trent Henderson has shared with me a letter that is printed elsewhere in this edition of The Mirror. Trent has been helping to operate the new public address system at Thomson High baseball games. Trent made an unintentional error last Saturday that he wishes to acknowledge. I can attest to the fact that his feelings are sincere.

Web posted on Thursday, March 23, 2006

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