Did you know?

Did you know that the 2018 Arkadelphia Badger’s have EIGHT Captains?

When Ben first told me, I thought that sounded a little funny…but what do I know? The players voted before the season (after summer workouts) for the captains. Usually there are four, this year they doubled up.

During the season four would walk up, do the coin flip and shake hands while the other four would stand guard on the sideline. I thought it looked pretty cool. I also think it says a lot about this years group of Badger’s.

There are about 50 kids on the roster (before some freshmen moved up) and the votes were so close for the eight that are captains that they couldn’t decide which to give it to so it became a group effort. Which is exactly what this season has been…there is no ONE-MAN SHOW like there are at other schools. We have a team of players who do whatever they can to help their brothers and improve their lives.

For those that don’t know them:

Victor Tademy: He’s a smart, smart kid. He’s signed to play for Harvard next year. He’s pretty versatile being in all the phases of the game. He’s also looked up to by all the boys…my favorite is that he rolls up his shorts super short and a lot of the younger guys do it too…cracked me up every time I was out at practice. Obviously he’s a role model and a great football player. 46482392_1781699965285982_8280351257655246848_o.jpg

Zion Hatley: He used to be my neighbor, so there’s that. Really though, he is an excellent runner and kid. He went from being on almost every play last year to sharing the RB role this year and it has only improved our offense. I think it says a lot about a kid to keep coming to work, especially starting out 0-5. He’s going to do great next year at UCA. 46330650_1781699741952671_1040917304512086016_o.jpg

Josh Wallace: Probably comes as a surprise to no one that I would pick a picture of Josh that included my husband, Ben. Josh is the vocal leader for the defense. I kind of call him the QB of the defense, maybe you’ve noticed he’ll put kids in the right spot during plays. He is very football smart and I can’t wait to see what his future holds. 44112914_1739628296159816_3316813396556382208_o.jpg

Alec Ruble: He’s a work horse. He’s not going out on a play unless he’s forced to. He comes off as quiet then cracks a joke when you aren’t expecting it. He leads by example.46334301_1781748131947832_6362377068381995008_o.jpg

Gabe Goodman: Best kicker in the state. I’m not sure if that is just my opinion because it might actually be true. We don’t call him The Weapon for nothing, having a kicker/punter like him has given the Badgers an advantage. 45494990_1770048933117752_3707106330398425088_o.jpg

Carlos (CJ) Haynie: He has the most charisma of anyone that I’ve ever met. He is the personality of the team, he is loud and funny. He is fun to watch. 46312938_1781757555280223_7826702728653963264_o.jpg

Cannon Turner: He’s the quarterback, he holds for the kicker, he punts some, he plays safety, he plays linebacker and for all I know he fills up water bottles. He is a true role player, he’s going to do what he can do make the team better. Also, he’s a junior. 46457954_1781711005284878_8952798434465677312_o.jpg

Kyren Harrison: He’s quiet but a killer. He’s an incredible athlete and leads by example. He works hard every down and it is kind of scary watching him hit people. I don’t know how they get back up. He leads the team in tackles but he’s got several TD’s too. He’s only a junior too. 44270144_1739614672827845_8584074727599898624_o.jpg

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This pic has at least four of them in it. ^^

There have been one man shows this year and their ships sank. I’m so thankful that we have a true team. Every player, regardless if they are a captain or not, has their role. The Badgers would not be in the State Championship game if they practiced against scrubs every day. They are practicing against guys that one unnamed #1 ranked school only scored 14 points on. Every player is so important. I’m thankful to be a tiny, praying, part of this year’s Badger squad.

 

 

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A Thank You Letter to my Friends:

Dear Friend(s):

I just wanted to write you a little note thanking you for being my friend. I know that I can be so busy and sometimes (all the times) forgetful. When I miss an event that is important and you still text me and invite me to lunch, I just want you to know that I appreciate the effort that you are giving me (the person who adores you and is struggling to keep her head above water).

You’ll never know how important our friendship means to me. When you stick by me, send me funny texts and come to the games on Thursday or Friday nights and offer me congratulations, even though I have no bearing on the outcome, THAT support carries me to the next week, to the next season.

I know every wife and every life is busy and stressful but you know how I am, you know that I give my all to one thing and then sometimes other things suffer. Yet, YOU ARE THERE. Being a friend to someone like me must be hard, yet you are still there and for that I will be forever grateful.

Please give me an extra dose of grace the next few months and please keep me in your prayers. This season comes with extra pressure and I want to be my best for everyone including you. Please consider this letter as an invitation to every ball game (with the worst seats in the house), every football club lunch and every Saturday morning that you might want to have coffee with me before Ben wakes up. I need you as a friend and I need you in my life, even when I can’t be the one making plans.

If there is one important lesson that I have learned about friends and football it’s this: You can’t do one without the other. It’s as simple as that…ask any coach’s wife, this part of the year can be so incredibly lonely.  Again, thank you for being my friend your love is more important than you know.

 

With all my love,

Nikki

 

PS: Coach wife friends, thank you so much for putting up with me during the season and us being able to pick up where we left off. Go #badgerfam

PPS: I know I have tons of friends (which I am sooooo thankful for) I just need more pics with you 🙂

Summer is Over.

It happened again. Summer passed and I’m sitting here looking at my calendar, writing in games, practices, meals. The squares are filling up all the way until December 8th (6:30PM).

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The pre-season anxiety is filling my fingertips up with the weird feeling I get right before an anxiety attack tries to get me. I will do my best to work through it…but I am almost positive I will text Coach with something that sounds so depressing and slightly bitter before the first game happens. It has happened every year around this time, I wish I could learn from the past and be an overcomer but I’m not mature enough for that yet. The feeling is more than anxiety if I have to be honest, it is a mixture of dread, excitement, wonder, frustration and stress.

I tend to ride on the negative wave before season, I’m not sure why. I think it is okay to sit in those feelings and to really feel them and to live in them, kind of be lonely and be sad and be bitter…for a minute, but you have to find your way out of them. I don’t think one coaches wife will tell you that they’ve never felt feelings like that but the difference between the “good” ones and the “bad” ones is their ability to have the negative feelings but still face the world and your family with a righteousness that you can only get by knowing where your hope lies. We don’t need to stay in the funk because we don’t need to find our happiness in what our husbands are doing…we find it in The Lord. We can’t depend on our spouse to make us happy…that is a tough lesson but if you can figure it out sooner rather than later then you will be better off for it. If you can summon up the why…why you are called to this then it makes it easier. The why is because this is a ministry, try to remember that this season.

As much as I can I try to be involved, I think that is why this part of the year is hard. When the season starts we get to be involved: games, practices, dinners at our house, football club lunches, team pictures, festivals, all the things are happening that you fall into a rhythm of being without your coach-spouse-father-friend that the loneliness and stress doesn’t hit you as hard. Right now with camps and workouts we just miss him. We miss the players and we miss our coaching families.

As hard as it all is NOW, it won’t be long and we will be wearing long-sleeves, hats and gloves. Hopefully making arrangements for Thanksgiving dinner at the fieldhouse and having a Christmas celebration around 9PM on December 8th.

Until we are partying, follow us on Social Media with the hashtag #badgerfam.

Life Right Now.

There are times when I wonder about myself. I can see the growth in our family and I can see the growth in me. Several years ago I started doing a “word of the year” instead of New Year’s Resolutions. Growth was one and this year it is More. Since I had a miscarriage in 2015 it has felt like every year has been the hardest year. I’m thankful for my growth from 2015 to where I am now.

That miscarriage sat me down and said, you are not alone. It brought my husband and I closer after we had a huge fight when I actually said the words, “this is harder for me then it is for you!” It was ugly. I realized how small my worldview was. We were both hurting but I was focusing on me. I was able to grow from that moment on. I got pregnant again in that year.

In 2016 we had our baby boy. Then he got sick. Twice. The big sicks where you end up in the NICU or Isolation or PICU. When the NYE bell rang I cried because I was so thankful it was over. My husband helps me more than I realize at the moment…it’s always looking back that I realize how he is more than a husband, he’s my team captain (this works in our sports-centered world) or my partner, or sometimes co-conspirator. Where I just saw the “sicks” he saw the blessings of him being healed. I think as mother’s we see those things, eventually, but in the moment it is so easy to focus on those negatives. 2016 was also a terrible football season, for those that may laugh that that’s important, it’s important when your husband’s livelihood ($$) is dependent on a bunch of teenage boys being focused on a Friday night.  It makes me laugh too. Looking back, it really wasn’t the season or the games or the players…it was the parents. It was a life lesson that I will take with me on how not to act. But those parent’s “graduated” too.

Now 2017 was a different beast. I’ll say that I dealt a little better with the coaches being gone a lot. Maybe I got used to it, maybe my growth helped me. By the way, growth was my word in 2015, ’16 and ’17. I’m a creature of habit I guess. The Badgers did really well, as well as they could really, they won State. The parents were awesome. Our family though, was a little bit different. In November Ben’s older brother was in a plane crash. He tore up his foot bad enough they weren’t sure if it would ever be the same, Ben’s younger brother (who is autistic) had an incident with his heart that landed him in the hospital and then home with a heart monitor but we were able to go out there around Christmas so we could see everyone and it was alright.

2018 word is More. I changed it up…let’s see how it holds. I want to be more this year. More Jesus-filled, more of a wife, more a mother, more of a friend, more of a sister, more of a reader, writer, exerciser, all of it. Right now life seems to be more valley-ish because Ben’s dad was in a car accident that broke his back, we are looking to buy a house (which is not a fun process), we are dealing with family legal stuff, our friends are dealing with legal stuff, people are sick, people have cancer.  But through it all my help comes from The Lord and I am so thankful I have that hope.

My daughter and I have been talking about diamonds a lot lately…how they aren’t pretty when they come out of the earth. It’s not until they have been pressured, refined, torched, sanded and then finally polished are they as beautiful as the stars in the sky and fit to line the walls of Heaven. So we are understanding that to be a diamond you have to go through all those things too.

Thoughts from a Coach’s wife after a State Championship.

A few thoughts from our winning weekend:
1. I feel like I’m giving away a state secret but here goes…. This year I never once prayed that God would allow the Badgers to win. I prayed for good health, safe travels (Ben drives one of the buses), confidence and for them always to play ‘their’ best and with integrity. The last three minutes of Saturday’s game I also prayed for supernatural strength….I’ll let you ponder on that one.
2. My brother-in-law Josiah or (Uncle Joe Joe) flew in on Friday night with Ben’s dad Robert. He had just been in North Dakota two weeks earlier because Ben’s older brother had been in a plane crash (he’s doing okay). So he’s been a jet-setter and he did so wonderful Saturday. Joe is better than us because he deals with life a little differently and he is doing just fine.
3. I’m thankful for the head coach we have. I don’t know if, before this weekend, most of the town knew how Godly JR is, but not only is he a man of God he is also well read. One of the things he reads is called the AAA rule book.
4. My husband is the linebackers position coach & special teams coordinator. Need I say more? Those kids are the bizness.
5. Not only did this game bring back old Badgers from ages ago it also brought in new Badger fans…including family we have in California, Texas and North Dakota. I think that is so neat that we had people cheering us on from all over the country. I have a feeling if Randle Thomasson had internet wherever he is in the world he’d have watched it too. Also, Ben’s mom watched the game in the airport in Denver!!
6. I’m thankful for Mark Burnham letting Joe Joe hang out with him Saturday during the game. He didn’t have to do that but that family has been incredibly supportive to our family the last three years.
7. My mom and sister have never been into sports but you know what…they’re super supportive and have been here to help me since the playoffs started. They carried my “side of beef” son all around that stadium and press-box Saturday. I couldn’t have gotten in nearly as many prayers if I was watching him!
8. I’m thankful for Robert Chandler’s coat. I sobbed on that sucker and it absorbed all my tears and makeup.
9. I’m thankful for every text, call or FB message I’ve gotten since Saturday. I literally had no bearing on the game but it’s still cool that people say nice things 🙂
10. We went to church on Sunday and our youth led the worship and I cried like a baby, again. There is something so special about kids worshiping The Lord.
11. I’m thankful for The Carozza’s spaghetti dinners. No cooking for us after church.
12. I’m thankful for Ginger and her family. Bobby Turner was loved, you could tell.
13. I know I’ve said it plenty but this group of Badger kids will always go down as one of the most talented group of players…Well one night earlier in the season I asked the kids what their grades were and how they were doing and one of them sheepishly told me his GPA was the lowest…it was a 3.6 or something crazy. So they have to be one of the smartest too!
14. I’m proud to call Arkadelphia home. The Badger fans really stepped up. I’m sure the attendance level was high but so was the energy. Such an exciting day! #Badgerfam is a thing for a reason.
15. I’m thankful for THE COACHES WIVES! We get our husbands (and the kids get their dad’s) back (for like a week)!
Okay I think I’ve rambled enough. Also, I could probably have a list this long of people we should thank who have supported us this year especially while I had surgery THE WEEK OF PLAYOFFS (whoops)! I also want to thank everyone for words of encouragement when the Badgers hadn’t won the State Championship…sometimes being close to it can be tough, but not as bad when you know you have people in your corner.

Side note: I do these little spiels mainly because my memory is terrible and I like seeing these pop up year after year.

Summer is over and it’s only July

Do you ever feel like that as a Coach’s wife? Or I guess Coach’s husband…

Dead weeks are almost up, for those not in the sports world, that is the few weeks at the end of June beginning of July where no athletic events can happen. No practice, no working out, no camps. Well those end this week and with that that means our fun little summer break is officially over. I hope we can sneak in some stuff here and there but it stinks knowing that football is back…it will be “fun” football when school starts and you can see the games and the boys growth but right now it just seems like a downer.

We went to Hot Springs to a lake house that our friend’s own. They let us stay there for FREE! It was so beautiful and right on the water, it was amazing. We swam, ate God’s chicken (Chick-fil-A) and went to Magic Springs. It was an amazing few days. That was our summer vacation and I will cherish every memory! Including the scary snake, but I’m not talking about scary snakes today.

This was the view from the upper balcony. IMG_6074[1]

I’m sad our little summer is over but I like how it isn’t crazy yet. It is like we can slowly add the events until school starts…then by then we will ready and firing.

Today is June 21st. It’s the first day of summer, it’s the day my brother in law was born (23 years ago) and it’s a day I’m very proud of my husband. It’s only been 10 months or so since I’ve blogged anything but I figured I’d post this so I can look back on it in another 10 months.

There has been some work drama for him. Coaches coming and coaches leaving, transfers, promotions etc. This is probably normal for most coaches’ families but there actually hasn’t been much change since we have been Badgers. This is our third season and the first two everyone stayed…this year we have had three or four leave. Some have gotten better opportunities at our school and some had the ability to be head coaches in other schools. With all the changes my hubby requested to be transferred to the middle school campus, he teaches History at the high school and wanted to try it on the middle school level.  Several of the coaches that were hired are only certified for 5-8th grades whereas he is that and secondary level. He did that to make himself more marketable to be hired and it is a good idea, but it didn’t work out for him this time. He is still at the high school. I was disappointed because the lady who is Principal at the other campus is so lovely. The lady who would’ve been his department head is who I wanna be when I grow up. The schedule would have been a little more flexible for his coaching duties. But alas, a no.

Now, I am not one to be told no. Luckily this happened to him and not me. BECAUSE he has been so great. He didn’t go down the tank or get angry or get prideful or get snooty. He just knows that The Lord is watching out for him and guiding him. A no for this means a yes for something else. Now isn’t that great? Shouldn’t we all take a page from that book?

In all the change there have been people who have not been happy. It is so easy to look at someone else and see their sin. To see the pride or anger. To see the fit that they are throwing. But we have to remember to be a spiritual contributor, we have to pray for them through this. They are probably hurting more than just because they were told no. There is a lot to every situation and we have to use this opportunity to pray for people when they can’t see past this problem in front of them.

 

A different set of Hormones

 

Great. I thought being done being pregnant would help my hormone “rages” but alas it hasn’t. They have just changed to something else. It has been a while since I have posted anything but football is just around the corner and that’s my prime writing time. Mainly for the venting and rambling and venting and rambling. Did I say rambling?

This past year has been a whirlwind. We had our baby boy, March 30th, he’s such a joy. His name is Conan. It’s pronounced Co-nin. Like Conan O’Brien. No he isn’t named after him, but he is developing red hair so that’s going to be great. *sarcasm*IMG_8952

 

When he was born the labor was intense. All day, nothing, then when it came time to push he was here in less than two minutes, literally. Coach hubby Benny boy delivered him, he wore the gown and all. He was so proud, I was so proud.IMG_6776[1]

It was pretty exciting until we heard how he was breathing. It was almost like he couldn’t catch his breath…all the nurses just left me hanging, again, literally. They went over and checked on the baby and sure enough he had transient tachypnea of the newborn (TTN)…so we spent the first eight days of his little life in the NICU in Little Rock (You rock Big Baptist)! UWTF2303

After we get home, one kid (& then mom) drop like flies with some stomach bug then a fever bug all in the next few weeks. So that was pretty exciting…I had one full week of maternity leave where there wasn’t an extra kid at home with us before I had to go back.

Then we make it to month three…baby Conan has been mainly a breast milk baby, which is hard as heck when you work full time, so he missed all of the sickness going around up until July 8th. The pediatrician had told us that if a baby has a fever of 102 when he is three months or younger then you need to go to the ER immediately…well that evening he had a 101.8 and he was three months and one week…so we called and she told us to use our judgement. I wanted to stay home, but Coach hubby Benny boy wanted to take him to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. I agreed. We go and they get us in and traiged and into a room super quick. They took his blood through his IV (which they got on the first stick, like the boss’ they are) and it all came back good. Then they wanted to do a Lumbar Puncture…I didn’t agree. I wasn’t happy about it because all of his blood work looked fine and all he was doing was being sleepy with his fever….well they all, doctors and hubby, talked me into it. So they did it. I had to leave the room, but it didn’t take long because they were able to get it on the first stick also. CHBB says that he felt the presence of God in that room because he was praying so fervently for them to get that LP done in one take and he said there was a moment where he felt HIM and the LP was done…anyway after a few minutes the doctors come back in the room and tell me that my sweet, sleepy boy has meningitis…of all the things on the planet it was meningitis. The lady who told me what it was had to tell me four times before I could wrap my head around it. It was like a bad scene in a bad movie…

“Your son has meningitis”- says the lady doctor wearing a Tinkerbell shirt and earrings, with green pants.

“What?”- the unintelligent mom

“Your son has meningitis” -says the lady doctor wearing a Tinkerbell shirt and earrings, with green pants, again.

“Are you sure?”- the disbelieving, unintelligent mom

“Yes, I am sure your son has meningitis”-says the lady doctor wearing a Tinkerbell shirt and earrings, with green pants, again.

“Umm…but…he’s…not…umm…”– the disbelieving, unintelligent, unable to forma thought mom

“It’s okay, he has meningitis and we are going to admit him”-tinkerbell doctor

So we spent the next four days cooped up getting our boy better. There weren’t many scary times, but we had faith he would be fine, when I finally wrapped my mind around what it was…IMG_8933

Ahhh…to the reason I even wanted to post anything today. All this to say that… I HATE BREASTFEEDING! He has been about 70% BM and 30% formula because I’m a slow/low milk maker, but even though he mostly gets BM he still goes and got sick. Oh it’s a no win. I’m sure he would’ve gotten sick regardless and maybe him being mostly BM helped him fight it off as well as he did, but in my mind I can’t help but wonder why I am putting myself through this. I get that it’s the best thing for him to have BM but man do I not like doing it. I know all of the pros. I know that I need to change my perspective and focus on the good. I do a lot of self-talk, people. I’m one of those that has whole dialogues in their head…but I cannot get into loving breastfeeding. So today I came into work and started looking stuff up on the interweb and I found this…About Nursing Aversion. It made me so happy to find out that I am not the only one. That it might not just be about hating breastfeeding but there could be a physiologically explanation to my agony (a little dramatic, I know).

Even though I feel this way about BF I plan to do it until my body decides it can’t handle it anymore. Football season is around the corner so that means CHBB won’t be around for about six months so it’ll probably be in those lonely, crazy, busy, hectic months that it might stop. Until then, I will continue to look up other crazy feeling BF’ing moms who feel the same and help me cope.

Hormones. Hello.

I am 19 weeks pregnant. It’s the playoffs. It’s almost Thanksgiving. It’s almost my birthday (again). Oh and did I mention that I am pregnant?

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Our team started of not so great…we ended up losing quite a bit of games this year and that isn’t what any team wants to do…especially after a phenomenal  year last year. But these guys have battled back…they are a completely new team…not just on the field but off the field as well. It just shows the kind of character that they have which I am so thankful for.

We have all of “our” coach’s position players over for dinner on Wednesday nights and we have the best ones on the team. They are all so well mannered and they play with our kids and it is such a joy having them in our home. Well as I said it’s playoffs…which means any game now could be the last one so any week now they won’t be over for dinner…so I am preparing some gifts for our two senior linebackers and I am kind of a mess. I am blaming it on hormones, but it makes me sad to think that these kids won’t be here next year. and the next and the next. No one told me that I would actually LIKE these boys!!

Luckily for us (because my kids love these boys) the two seniors have both signed on to play baseball for our alma mater, Henderson State University! So they will, almost literally, be playing ball in our back yard. So that’ll help my sadness…what a roller coaster being a part of the coach’s family has been this year. I know I will handle it better next year…I won’t be so PREGNANT!

Type A Personality is a Must, but B is Better.

I have noticed that most families of coaches share a Type A personality. Here is the definition of this: (wiki)

Type A individuals as ambitious, rigidly organized, highly status-conscious, sensitive, impatient, take on more than they can handle, want other people to get to the point, anxious, proactive, and concerned with time management. People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving “workaholics“, push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and ambivalence.[4]

Everyone is my family has this going on. I wish we didn’t…I really wish that I didn’t. I think this needs to have overly competitive and heartbreakingly hard on themselves added to the list. Everyone in our coaching world have remnants of these qualities…there are a couple who do not go to all the games and can dismiss some of the hateful talk, but that’s rare.

Most of us wives have to take charge. We are the leaders of the family when dad isn’t home…and that is most of the time. Most of us wives also work full time jobs or have projects that are like full time jobs…and not to mention the children. Gosh the children, our group has 13 kids and I also have one more on the way.

My attitude has changed a lot this year…not always for the better but I am trying to get back on track. We used to be a part of the most wonderful small group from our church, but they meet on Sunday nights when the Badger Family Potlucks are going on. My coach has asked that I go to the potlucks instead of small group and I was very bitter about it for a long time. Not only because I was missing time with my friends from church, but I felt a disconnect from God. Like I wasn’t learning and worshipping like I have in the past. I also felt like it was a waste of time to do the potlucks because when we were there “together” he was sitting next to another coach talking about what they have been meeting about all day and spending basically no time with us. So that was tough. My kids love being with the other coaches kids though, and that made it a little easier to get over. I also learned that a place isn’t church and shouldn’t define my relationship with The Lord. Which I didn’t think it did, but I truly felt lonely not being with them. I realized that football season is a relatively short time. That I should be as supportive as I can. And be as thankful as possible that the person I love the most has a job he loves the most. I don’t think there are many people who get to do what they love everyday. He’s getting to impact kids and teach them more than just football. I know as a mother I would want someone like my coach leading my son.

I am learning to be a Type A personality where it matters: my home, our bills, my parenting etc. but trying to fit in some Type B personality traits here and there. Being calm, collected and savoring little moments with joy.