Another Year of Football
Early this morning, Craig left the house to embark on his eighth (ish) professional football season. Wow. Time sure does fly.
How it All Began
Craig grew up and went to high school in Scottsdale, Arizona. After high school, he accepted a football scholarship at the University of Michigan – where he got his nickname “death Roh.” After college, he went undrafted and got signed to the Carolina Panthers and spent his first year on the practice roster. We met two weeks before his second NFL training camp with the Panthers. In those two weeks, I remember us trying to squeeze in every single second we could together just getting to know each other. At the end of it, I dropped him off at the airport for camp and we both had no idea what would become of our two-week summer romance.
Honestly, if an O-lineman didn’t roll on Craig’s ankle two days before the first preseason game we probably wouldn’t be married right now. Craig LOVED his time in Charlotte on the Panthers but we both look back and see him getting cut was as a blessing in disguise. Injured and waiting to get picked up again was a real low for him, but we were able to get to know each other in those months and gut it out together.
Now, here we are three years into marriage and he’s still playing! We’ve made two major cross-country moves since then and have gained a million memories along the way!
When the first day of training camp hits I always have mixed emotions – as I’m sure most of the WAGS of any professional sports team feel. It’s the start of an emotionally intense six months. Honestly, though, I feel us football WAGS have it easy compared to basketball, baseball, and hockey. I can’t imagine Craig being on the road that much during the season and we don’t even have kids yet. It becomes a whole other ball game with kids.
When I think of training camp, I immediately think of sunscreen and tanned feet. Each year at camp, I sit in the bleachers watching Craig run the same ole’ D-line drills and get a sweet tan. While tanning though, I’m assessing all the new defensive ends that came in hoping to take my husbands starting position. There is no other profession like it. Every single rep at camp and in the preseason counts and could mean having a job or going home. I never understood this until Craig pointed it out to me but imagine having a job where your boss evaluated every single decision you make in a day, for six solid months. ON TOP OF THE FANS. (I won’t get too much into armchair QBs this post but it’s coming.) I gained a whole level of respect for professional athletes after he pointed this out to me and know I couldn’t do it.
For the BC Lions, training camp is held three hours northeast of Vancouver in a town called Kamloops. I would drive up and get to see Craig for a few days during their “fan fest” weekend and then would drive home again. Since moving to Winnipeg and playing for the bombers, Craig is able to stay at home during camp. Honestly, I got used to not seeing him during that time frame, and last year was a whole new experience for us. I can imagine its very similar to if your spouse or husband works extremely long hours and only comes home to sleep. That’s exactly what it’s like for three weeks. Craig leaves super early in the morning and returns late emotionally and physically beat up. When he works in the offseason, we usually have time to spend together each night but moving forward I’ll need to put aside my needs for quality time and cuddles for a short bit. (I knooowwwww, the horror! How will I EVER SURVIVE?!?!) Seriously though, it’s an abrupt change but mostly for him.
I didn’t do a good job of it last season, so I’m hoping it’s easier this go around. This time, I’m keeping myself plenty busy with serving and might dive deep into some books to distract me in my downtime. If you recommend any books to keep me occupied, please let me know! I’m so sick of sitting in front of the tv, as that’s all I could do post-op and I’m ready for a change!
Training camp isn’t the most exciting topic when it comes to football, but I’m wanting to let you guys into our world a bit this season since so many of you ask! In my next post, I want to talk about preseason games and those final roster cuts. While I can’t talk from the guys perspective, I have witnessed some crazy things that most from the outside don’t think about. If you’re a huge fan of professional sports and football, these posts might ruin the fun for you. Since meeting Craig and living this life with him, I see sports in a COMPLETELY different light. I think it’s a blessing, but some may not want that bubble burst. I do plan on talking about Craig’s diet and what it’s like to cook for a 6’5 265 lb defensive end every week though – to keep it light. If you’re curious about any other topics in regards to football or the CFL – post below and it’ll help me decide on what I should post about in the future!
Buckle up, this season is sure to be as crazy as all the others and let’s go Bombers!