I’ve been asked before, by interns who were working at one of my husbands games, “Why do all the wives dress up, I mean it’s a baseball game?” It was right then and there, in that moment, that I realized that some of the world sees our intentions in a different light than we do. Over the years, many comments have followed that have led me to believe that baseball wives are often assumed to be women who are living for the limelight, the money, or the ‘show’. That assumption could not be farther from the truth.
Knowing as many baseball wives as I do, I know that most are educated and successful women. They have dreams and aspirations of their own, ones that often need to take the back burner, for some time, in order for them to be present and supportive of their husbands career. As wives, there is a sense of understanding amongst us. We know what goes in to our lives, as well as the dreams of our own that are being put on hold.
Contrary to popular belief, baseball wives are not wives because of the money if you lived through the minor leagues you would understand. So before you judge us all by the new show WAGS (wives and girlfriends of professional athletes) on E!, keep in mind that we have had to use blow up furniture to avoid paying an ungodly amount to rent/buy it during the season. Let me tell you first hand it is pretty humbling when one pops halfway through the night and you wake up in a taco on the floor. I would like to present my story, to those who may be interested, as an example of the layers of life that do exists beneath the title of “trophy wife”.
As many of you know, I love the sport of rodeo. It was by far the greatest passion in my life, next to the Lord and my family. It is also what took me from my home in Hawaii, to life on the mainland, with a scholarship to pursue my dreams. I never once imagined I would have to sacrifice such a passion, until I began to date my boyfriend, now husband. When we were dating in college he experienced the life of a college rodeo athlete, making numerous weekend road trips to support me. At the rodeos, we stayed in my horse trailer, which is pretty typical for the lifestyle. It was a really neat time in our lives, and a time when our roles were reversed.
I wouldn’t say that I grew up privileged, but I would venture to say I was well taken care of. My parents instilled in my siblings and I that we would one day have to be independent, so we were tasked with responsibilities that would encourage our individual success, but that is not to say that they didn’t help us out a lot along the way. It wasn’t until after I met Casey that I realized that I had beyond what I actually needed and that he and I came from different walks of life.
When dating my husband it was unlike ever before, I did most of the spoiling when it came to gift giving. I wanted to help him out, and I was able to do so. I loved to make him happy, but some of the time it did come with shallow intent. I remember that it bothered me when he wore the same jeans over and over, I could tell they were the same pair because of a little hole they had in them. It bothered me so much that I asked a mutual friend what the deal was, which turned out to be that he just didn’t have many options. I was shocked and humbled, and felt guilty for feeling the way that I had.
What people do not know is that when I met my husband he drove an older model car, didn’t have many clothing options, and had one pair of shoes to his name. He didn’t have a lot, or come from such. When he first saw my truck, he said it was his dream vehicle. Of course I said he was welcome to drive it, but I immediately regretted that decision when he repeatedly stalled it! (He claims it was nerves because one of my best friends and I were riding in the back seat, so we will just leave it at that. Ha!) But, what I am trying to say is that, when we met, I was not attracted to his money (he didn’t have it), or the shiny pickup truck (that he didn’t drive), or that he was the best dressed guy in town (he wasn’t, but the ‘holy’ jeans did get replaced). I fell in love with his character, it was who he was that won me over. His love of God, his love for his family, and the love he showed me, and continues to show me, far surpassed my desire for his ‘things’.
Once engaged, reality hit me hard. The life I had been living started to change, and the changes happened quickly. Casey’s dream became a reality when he was drafted. We made the decision to move to Florida to be near the Pirates training complex, to give baseball the best shot we could. We knew that by moving down to Florida that we would have to board my horses, a big expense that we could not afford at that time. As a result, my heart was broken when I had to say goodbye to my roping horse. My rodeo rig, horse trailer, and dream truck (one that I had worked hard to purchase) were the next to go. As I was saddened by having to give up my passion, I was also excited to have the money for us to move, find a home, and start our new life together.
My story is much like many baseball wives, a story of sacrifice in one way or another. A sacrifice many do not see is the loss of comfort when it comes to friends and family, and our own dreams that we have put on hold. We frequently have to uproot our lives to start over in a new place, living out of suitcases for half of the year. I know, from our own experience, that after living in Florida for 3 years (technically 1 and a half) we still have yet to find our niche. Although we have found comfort in a church, and in our home, I often miss my family and friends. I miss the friends who knew me, who knew us, before baseball. We are often faced with the reality that people who meet us view our lives as easy, as one of privilege, and we are not given the chance to show them the people that we truly are. When we do meet people, I sometimes feel that they do not care to know anything about me, as most conversation is spent with questions about the sport. It can become really easy to lose your sense of self.
Despite these things, I am so grateful to God for the many blessings we have received. The process has brought us even closer in our marriage, at times we are the only friends we have (and we are great friends, a blessing itself). As the wife of a baseball player, I continue to see the man inside that uniform (although, his butt does look great in that uniform!). I know his heart, and I will continue to do what I can to help aid him in being able to live/accomplish his dreams, I know that he would do the same for me, and he has.
So to those out there who may think baseball wives are just trophies, or just “cleat chasers” after money, think again. Most wives I know regardless of status will work their butt’s off even though they could possibly afford to hire someone. In regard to dressing up at games; Yes, we may get prettied up, after all it’s our daily lives. Baseball games are not just a pleasure outings for us but our husbands job. Somedays it’s the only interactions we get with other people, remember we are not from these random cities. During the season our husbands do not have weekends off to take us on a dates, we are lucky to get two off days the entire month so if a game ends early we jump on the opportunity. Don’t get me wrong we can rock sweat pants and work out clothes too but we have every right to dress up for whatever reason it may be.
I did not write this post with the intention of seeking pity or praise, because I do realize how fortunate we are. I can only hope that this post inspires understanding. Our lives may look different, but at the end of the day we all have had our struggles and sacrifices. Lives may look sugar coated on the outside, but it is the road to get there that no one sees. Be kind to one another, because you never know what someone is currently going through. Celebrate others success, along with your own, but try not to compare one to the other. Beauty might be skin deep, but we as human beings all have depth, we all have our own stories, and each of those is an important one.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
—2 Corinthians 4:17–18
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?
Peace, Love and Baseball