Game Day Nerves: The Story of a Nervous Nancy

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I love the whole Friday Night experience. I love getting there early and letting my kiddos run out on the field and see their daddy during warm ups, listening to the band play, and the cheerleaders cheer and visiting with friends. Even though I look forward to and enjoy every Friday Night, I get very nervous about games.

I do not know about you all, but my stomach turns in knots before a game, and if I’m being completely honest – during and sometimes even after a game. It doesn’t matter if my team is supposed to win by 4 touchdowns or if it is supposed to be a nail biter, I get very nervous about football games.  I jokingly explained to one of my friends, that willingly sits by me each week, that I couldn’t really relax and pay attention to anything else until we were winning by 3 touchdowns.

 This is a picture of what I do to water bottles if they are left in my hands during a game:

sara craft water bottle

Programs often look like some weird sort of origami from folding and folding and folding them until I can relax. 

Over the years I have realized that I have a hard time carrying on a conversation with the people around me. It’s like I hear them and I know people are talking but I’m kind of consumed with the game and what is going on. Was it a good play or bad? Did we really deserve the penalty that we got? Does my husband look happy with what is going on or is he fuming?  These are just some of the things racing through my mind during a game.

I have been around other wives that have to walk the track or walk up and down the bleachers. Some can’t stop talking to others just so they don’t have to actually pay attention to what is happening in the game. Others sit right next to the band so they don’t have to hear any ugly comments made by fans when the game isn’t going their way. I also know lots of wives that don’t get nervous at all, and at times I am very jealous of them! 

During my first season as a Coach’s wife, someone told me “it’s just a game, don’t be nervous.” And for a minute I felt a little foolish for being so nervous. That was very short lived, because in my home it’s not “just a game”. This game decides where I live, and how long I may live there. It is my husband’s job. It’s what brings home the bacon and provides for our family. This game is what he pours the majority of his energy into watching film, making practice scripts, teaching our players different plays and creating the best possible plan for his team on any given Friday night. It is what he spends 80 plus hours a week working on. I get nervous because I want everything to go just how they planned so all that work will be worth it. And realistically, win or lose you can always come away with a lesson learned. But it definitely is not “just a game” to me.

Both sides of the field have prepared, planned, and are trying to execute. Most weeks there is a wife just like me on the other sideline with her own way of controlling her nerves. After 8 years of being a Coach’s Wife (which is just a drop in the bucket), I have seen us win big and lose big, win close games and lose in triple overtime, but one thing that I know is that the same effort was put in by my husband for all of those games and you win some you lose some.

This Nervous Nancy can be found every Friday night sitting in the bleachers crushing a water bottle or folding and tearing paper, trying to control my nerves.

Nerves and all are now part of my routine on a Friday night, are they part of yours?

Have a great football season ladies and enjoy every game…nerves and all!

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  1. I keep myself occupied by posting updates to Facebook fort our out of town family and live tweeting the games for the social media community (I had over 40 RTs last week so I know people are reading!). I also have the baby to keep me busy. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have any fingernails. Thursdays and Fridays are gut-wrenching during the day though! As nervous as I get, I wouldn’t change it for the world, it’s a strangely wonderful anxiety!! I think it’s such a special blessing to be able to witness my husband’s hard work and passion in person. Not a lot of wives are able to do that!

  2. Now that he’s an assistant coach (and I’m not involved with the team much because I have 2 young kids and his school is 20 miles away), I don’t get nearly as nervous as I did when he was the head coach. I can definitely relate. I always sat WAY far away from everyone else because I was afraid I couldn’t keep my mouth shut when the nasty comments started. :)
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  3. I completely understand with the nerves! It is not just a game for us, it is our lively hood. Essentially telling a coach’s wife that a football game is “just a game” is the same as telling a hospital patient “it’s just surgery”. When it affects your lively hood, it’s not “just” anything. My nerves are typically distracted with my 2 1/2 year old and 5 month old. While I always have one eye on the game, I also have to have one eye on my 2 young children, leaving me to read the reaction of the crowd to know every call on the field. Our husbands put a ton of blood, sweat and tears into the game and as their main support system, I think it’s common for us to be nervous. After all, we want a happy husband to come home too!

  4. This made me cry. Coach and I had a conversation last night about 18 years of moving, making new friends, leaving our sweet homes…..Your words moved me this morning. Thank you again for the Sideline page and for your wonderful blog!
    love it!


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