Tuesday, March 30, 2010


As the wife of a coach, it can be difficult to avoid wise sports analogies invading your life. For me, as someone who was not an athlete as a child, I can’t really say that I “get” the great passion people feel for sports teams and athletic events. While I was not raised by wolves, I was raised by parents whose lives were not dominated by sports. Their passion and interests have certainly rubbed off on me, but a love of the game is not one of those things.

For my husband, he has truly become a seeker of inspiration from books written by successful coaches both in the college and professional arena. He pores over these novels, making notes and gathering thoughts from the wisest of coaches.

Recently, he was asked to speak at the National Honor Society induction ceremony at his Alma Matter. Being the good wife that I am, I wrote his speech after receiving some direction from him on the content. Not surprisingly, he wanted to talk about the idea of winning. Actually, he wanted to talk about the acronym WIN: What’s Important Now. So often we allow ourselves to become distracted, he said, and lose focus on the task at hand. The background noise distracts us only if we allow it to invade our heads. When we’re present in the moment and don’t lose focus, we live fuller, richer lives. I love this idea and ran with it for his 5-minute speech.

Ideas like this one, though, always get me thinking about my own life and ultimately, the big picture. For me, the idea of WIN is realizing what parts of my life are truly important and which comprise that “background noise.” So often, we place importance on things that don’t matter. Actually, they are the things that we think matter—but they really and truly do not mean anything.

In the “girl world,” a great importance is placed upon the size and carat of one’s engagement ring. You can say it doesn’t mean anything and no one cares, but you’d be lying. It does matter—the first thing that crosses every woman’s mind when she hears someone got engaged is, “What does the ring look like?” We want—NEED—to know how big and sparkly it is and inevitably, a case of ring envy soon develops. We judge one another based upon this simple, but expensive, piece of hardware. We stare longingly at oversized rocks adorning the fingers of friends and pine over the possibility of slapping a big hunk of diamond on our own hands.

What, though, does it really mean? Does having the biggest, most expensive ring guarantee the happiest, longest-lasting marriage? I look to ladies like Elin Woods, Kobe Bryant's wife and one of Donald Trump's ex-wives for my answer: not so much. Things are just things--nothing more. The moment we allow our posessions to run our lives, we forget about what is important.

I don't have a big engagement ring by traditional standards, but that's not what matters to me. It's exactly what I hoped for: a new ring with the qualities of an old, estate, Victorian style. I wanted a ring that looked old and had all the charm of the 40's and 50's with an attention to detail. It's simple, beautiful and is a symbol of something that means a lot to me--and that is what's important.

Yes, I realize that I have the hands of an 85 year-old woman. It's a problem and I'm working on it.

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