Let me set the scene. My husband,as you may know, was once a college football coach. Over the years, we moved around in a few states chasing his coaching dreams. One of those states was Pennsylvania. We were at this particular school for seven years and because of the perk of tuition remission, I got my college degree there. This school holds fond memories for me for reasons other than being my alma mater. I fondly remember our time there because of the friendships we formed with the coaching staff and their families.

College coaching consumes a lot of time and so the wives sort of banded together as a support system for the terminally neglected. It was either that or go everywhere and do everything alone. Actually, it was great having women who knew EXACTLY what you were going through as mentors and friends.

One the best times of our week was after a home football game. Everyone was ready to either celebrate or relax and commiserate before coaching meetings started again on Sunday night. No one in our group was getting rich (I didn’t say we were at a Division I school), so a lot of our entertainment was homegrown. We would take turns holding potlucks and BBQ’s at each other’s houses. There was lots of laughter, analyzing plays, telling tales and squeals of children playing kick the can. We enjoyed each other’s company.

Sometimes someone would attempt to ratchet up the fun by throwing an impromptu costume party. We would arrive at someone’s house and then be told we had one hour to go home and come back in costume. The fact that our testosterone driven football coaching husbands participated in this scenario speaks loudly to the security we felt in each other’s company or the power of the coaches’ wife. Either way, I’m so glad they did because we had a blast! Some of my favorite impromptu costumes had to be the totally politically incorrect and sacrilegious priest with a broken condom hanging out of his pocket and his partner the pregnant nun and the guy who came as a chef with an apron full of cooking utensils that he used to stir people’s drinks and pinch people’s posteriors.

I was fortunate enough to have a husband who was also a wrestling coach because his yellow singlet came in VERY handy in the ole impromptu costume making department! It was the center of two of our most creative costume masterpieces.

The first of the masterpieces involved the yellow singlet and a full length zipped to the chin bright blue robe. Luckily for me the children had been Smurfs for Halloween that year and I had a supply of blue face paint! So, in a moment of sheer brilliance, I put on the robe, painted my face blue and stuck a feather in my hair. Voila! The Indian Ocean!

My husband’s costume, however was not only brilliant, but appropriate for the day. The school’s mascot was a yellow jacket. With yellow singlet in hand we made him into a giant bee. We began the transformation by having him put on black sweatpants and a black hooded sweatshirt. Over this was placed the singlet. I fashioned antennae out one of our daughter’s headbands and pipe cleaners. I then stuffed the bum of the singlet with newspaper and attached a pipe cleaner designed “stinger”. The outfit was completed with the use of black electrical tape stripes and my husband’s promise to say “buzz buzz”.

The memory still brings a tear to my eye and a cockle warming to my heart,

The second time the singlet was used in the impromptu challenge it was paired with my use of a Hawaiian print shirt and glasses with an attached nose and mustache. Line dancing to country music was popular at the time and we were in possession of a belt with a very large buckle. Carrying the belt for inspiration, I scoured the kid’s room and I found a spray can of gold body glitter and the glasses with false mustache. I don’t know, but I found them and inspiration for a set of costumes complete with role play.

I became the manager of the big WWF wrestler called “THE GOLD NUGGET”. It was simple really. He put on the singlet. I sprayed him all over with gold glitter and created a championship belt out of foil and the Urban Cowboy belt and buckle. I wore a fedora with a press pass in the band and the tropical print shirt. We stopped at the drive-thru for a really big, really cheap cigar. I spent the night chewing on my cigar, challenging people to wrestling smackdowns in Cleveland on the 25th (seemed like a good day) and having my husband put people in head locks. Good times.

What we failed to appreciate then was that having a group of friends like this was rare. Since that time we have never had the pleasure of spending time with people with whom we felt so comfortable or with whom be had so much in common. They know who they are and if they read this. I miss you.




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