Hopefully other coach families out there won’t mind if I dish on one of my favorite coach-family perks – having the keys to the pool. It’s not exactly a secret but it’s not exactly something that non-coach families love to hear about. Understandably so. When other families live at the mercy of the pool-scheduling gods, they don’t want to hear about me working out in lanes 3, 4, 5 and 6 if I feel like it.
But you know what? It makes up for a lot. Let me just give you one example of why having the keys to the pool is a perk you should never begrudge a coach family. That example would be my most recent New Year holiday.
This year, the Little Coaches and I didn’t travel down to Florida with the team. So, on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s Day, we bid Mr. Coach and his sun-hungry swimmers a cheery adieu as the bus headed out. Three hours later, I was reading in the living room when Little Miss Coach went sprinting past me to the bathroom. The sound of vomiting ensued.
"This better not be bulimia," I muttered as I headed up the stairs. Thankfully it was just a nasty 24-hour stomach flu that took another 24 hours to recover from. Little Miss Coach recovered and then, a day later, I came down with it. (Spectacularly, I might add.) Here’s where it gets a little poignant.
You see, most collegiate and many large-club coach families don’t live near family. That’s just the nature of the job: You go to where there is a job. And though the people in your community very often become your family, you still have to be very self-sufficient. The Coach Family has relied on the kindness of some amazing friends when kids have been born, new houses have been moved into, or the family patriarch ends up in the ER because his bike is a magnet for idiot truck drivers. But stuff that involves a toilet? Sorry – but that’s immediate-family territory.
So the Little Coaches and I hunkered down and got through it. As I was recovering, though, I found myself thinking, "Dang, that molar hurts." About 12 hours later, when I couldn’t see straight on account of the shooting pains in my head, I called my dentist – whom I found on a day cruise off the coast of South Carolina. The long-distance diagnosis was that a root canal was needed. But it couldn’t be done until the following Monday, three days later.
So I got through it all and I recovered with such admirable speed that by the time Mr. Coach returned home, he was able to insist that I didn’t look at all like I had lost and regained five pounds (the hard way) since he last saw me.
Yes, this year finally trumps the year that I spent six days snowed in with a 5-year-old, a 6-month-old and half a bottle of cooking sherry while Mr. Coach was, again, in that lovely land called Florida.
So do you get it now? Hearing that the Coach Family makes selfish use of the keys to the pool might make you seethe with jealousy, but we’ve earned it.
Oh yes, we have earned it.