I've escaped to a local Starbucks to have some peace and coffee in order to knock out some serious grading I have to get done before the week starts tomorrow. I am about 60% done but really aching to add to this blog, so I'm taking a break to share a little bit about a tough decision I made recently.
First, let me explain a little something about myself: I absolutely love volleyball. It is not just a sport to me; it is this euphoric state of mind that I wish I could be in all the time. There are so many great things about this sport: the team aspect, the intensity, the stress-releasing feeling of hitting a ball. I love throwing my body around, mostly looking ridiculous, but always hoping for that one amazing "up" that transforms a rally. I love how competitive it can be, yet how insanely exhilarating it is win or lose. I love playing, watching, and, especially, coaching this perfect game.
I went to college with the ultimate goal of becoming a volleyball coach and teacher (because that's what actually pays). I was blessed enough to find an opening for a teacher/coach at the high school I have been employed with for the past 4 years right out of college.
I learned quickly that a coach's life is one that consists of a lot of hours spent on a bus, late nights, tough decisions, parent problems, and little monetary reward compared to the hours. I also learned that at this particular district, like most, you have to coach two sports. (Luckily I was able to coach another sport I've played and loved since the 3rd grade -- basketball!) Despite all the stress and hours, I was willing to do it for the past 4 years because it's what I had dreamed about since I started college. Additionally, I made some really great friends along the way. While I disliked the extra time and stress on top of teaching/planning, I really enjoyed being around the sports I loved and being identified as a "coach." Then along came something that overshadowed my need to be immersed in athletics and have that coveted title: my daughter, Morgan.
After she was born, I realized how much time I really spent doing the coaching part of my job. It was on average an additional 18 hours a week I spent away from my family. Not to mention, I lost entire Saturdays to tournaments, and out of town trips kept me away from my daughter a few nights when she was still really young. Before her, I could manage the hours because the only person at home was my husband, and while I missed him a lot, he was more understanding and not totally dependent on me. My daughter's presence, on the other hand, shed some light on what I was really doing in exchange for precious moments at home with her.
So halfway through my first season of volleyball as a mom this past year, I realized my heart was simply elsewhere. I still love the sports, but it doesn't carry the same meaning when it takes precedence over my own child. She is irreplaceable to me and I hate missing these key moments in her life. I also don't like the burden it puts on my husband and my mother, who watches her during the day, to take care of her. So once the volleyball and basketball seaons ended, we decided as a family that I would not be coaching again next year.
I struggled with this decision for a few days. It almost brought me to tears a few times because I felt like I was giving up a part of myself, which truly I am. I love being called "coach" at work. I love that I can have that relationship with the kids and share sports stories in my classroom. I especially love my fellow coaches, who made the hours a little more bearable. These sports, volleyball especially, have been apart of my life since I was still learning how to operate my awkward little self and figuring out who I was as a person; they have become part of my identity. But growing up is learning what's really important, finding balance, and ultimately making the tough decisions when the time comes.
I know its going to hurt for a little while, especially in August when I know everything is gearing back up for the year, but all I have to do is look down at that adorable face and know I made the right decision for our little family. I'm hanging up my title as "coach" in exchange for an even better one: "mommy."