I have figured out that normal people (i.e., people who aren’t swim coaches or married to them) go through three wedding-attendance cycles in their lives.
The first one comes right after college when a small but significant group of your friends decides they need to lock in early because they’re afraid their good luck will run out if they lose a hold of this one.
The next cycle starts about five years later and runs for another five, as the rest of your friends decide it’s time to trade in the happy-hour shot glasses for a lovely set of wine glasses from Crate & Barrel.
Then you’re in the clear for another 20 or so years until your friends’ kids (or your kids’ friends) start getting married at which point you’ll get seated at the tables in the back but expected to buy the most expensive items from the gift registry because you now have the income to do so.
Swim coaches (and their spouses) are different because they experience only one wedding-attendance cycle in their lives. It starts when they get their first coaching job and it doesn’t end until they die.
Every year, guaranteed, Mr. Coach and I (and sometimes even the little Coaches) get invited to anywhere from two to six weddings. And, we have discovered, this seems to be a phenomenon limited to coaches and not professors at our university, which only makes sense. A student rarely spends the kind of sustained "quality time" with a professor that generates a wedding invitation. (Although the university’s chaplain does get conscripted into service quite a lot and, so help me, if he doesn’t come up with a new sermon soon, I’m going to pull out my electronic Yahtzee game and start playing – with the sound on – the next time I am present for one of his weddings.)
But, mind you, I am NOT complaining about all the wedding invites. Weddings have proven to be a very efficient and enjoyable way to keep up with Mr. Coach’s former athletes, kind of like Facebook but with food and an open bar. Sometimes you run into people and your last memory of them may have involved court-ordered community service but now you find out they’re in med school, have an adoring spouse and they spent their last vacation building an irrigation system for a village in Albania – and no judge told them to do any of that! That’s a really beautiful encounter when it happens.
But it sucks that we can’t get to all of the weddings we’re invited to. This past weekend, one of my husband’s former athletes (and also former assistant coach) got married in New Mexico which would have been awesome to attend, but with Homecoming and the Alumni Meet on the same weekend, it just wasn’t happening – not that I’m saying Hope scheduled her nuptials to get out of relay duties at the Alumni Meet, but the timing does bear noting.
So, I hope that Hope and Dave had a fabulous wedding (I expect pictures by month’s end), as did Rebecca and Amanda earlier this year.
And then it’s on to the other cycle that never ends – the birth announcements.