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So You Think You Want to Marry a Professional Athlete?

As I scrolled through my Instagram follower requests a few hours ago, I noticed something that has been weighing heavy on my mind ever since. A young girl who looked about 14 years old (judging by her photos) requested to follow me. I often get requests from teenage girls because (let’s be honest) those are the ONLY people who still watch My Super Sweet 16 marathons and see my episode. Usually, I just click approve as long as the page doesn’t look creepy and go on about my business, but today, as I read the girl’s bio, I stopped. This school. That city. Emoji. Emoji. Whoever’s bestie. “Future Basketball Wife.” When I read the last three words, I couldn’t help but wonder who in their right mind would purposely seek out such a lifestyle???

As I type this, my first ever blog post, I am sitting alone in a three-bedroom apartment in Cantu, Italy, a small town about 40-minutes outside of Milan. Being alone is something I’ve become quite accustomed to since my husband began his first season playing professional basketball overseas almost 9 months ago. I’m alone when he travels for away games (sometimes for as long as 5 days at a time). I’m alone when he goes to practices and team events. I’m alone when he sleeps until the late afternoon on his (few and far between) days off because he’s physically and mentally warn out from playing 2 games a week. And I’m alone when he simply doesn’t feel like talking because he is stressed about his playing time or a bad game. Without family or friends here, I’ve gotten to know myself better than I ever thought possible and watched more TV series from start to finish than a normal person would watch in a year (Thanks to Netflix and our handy dandy Slingbox).

I would love to say that most of these issues come with having a husband that plays overseas and that life would be easier if he played in America, but having also lived through that, I honestly can’t say that it is much different. My husband played one year in the NBA and one in the NBA D-League, and both come with their own unique set of stressors. Groupies, call ups (or lack thereof), trade deadlines, and, again, spending a great deal of time alone because your mate is either training, traveling, or stressed. These are only a handful of the issues that come along with being in a relationship with someone in this industry. Add to that the instability of not knowing what city (or country) you will be living in year to year and having to often choose between spending holidays with your family or your significant other, and I bet you can see why this lifestyle isn’t all it’s chalked up to be.

As the wife of a professional athlete, the sport literally impacts every single aspect of your life. For example, as newlyweds, my husband and I often discuss having children. But, when? First of all, we would have to plan conception to the tee to ensure that I delivered the baby during the off-season so that my husband could be with me to witness it. Secondly, because he plans to play for at least 7-8 more years (God willing), he would miss a great deal of his child’s life with his constant traveling. On top of that, if he were still playing overseas when our child reached kindergarten age, I would likely have to stay home for him or her to attend school and we would both be separated from my husband for months at a time. An already complicated decision is made ten times more complicated when you take into account all that comes along with being a professional athlete’s wife.

Now, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there are great things about this lifestyle. First of all, the money is great. We have been able to save more than we ever thought we would at our age without having to do without things that we want or need. Also, I don’t take for granted being able to see so much of the world and learn so much about other cultures. Moreover, I look forward to every summer when my husband gets 2-3 months off (as opposed to the 2 weeks or less of vacation time he would likely get if he worked a “normal” job) that we can spend traveling and enjoying time with our family and friends. But, sometimes I feel like I live for the summer. We have been counting down to our trip home for at least 6 months now. We have missed holidays, weddings, birthdays, graduations, and countless other family events in the time that we have been in Italy. On top of that, the time difference makes it difficult to keep in touch with family and friends and many of our relationships have suffered because of it. Are the few advantages really worth all the sacrifices?

I have no regrets when it comes to who I chose to spend my life with, our relationship, or the experiences that we’ve had as newlyweds. But, I know that is because I married for love. If I had married for any other reason, especially because of some glorified image I had in my head of what it would be like to be a basketball wife, I would be horribly disappointed. I hope teenage girls everywhere aim higher than being the future wife of a professional athlete. How about “future lawyer’s wife,” “future doctor’s wife,” or “future first lady”? Or even better, how about they marry for love, and become the future athletes, lawyers, doctors, and presidents themselves?


I hope teenage girls everywhere aim higher
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