April 14, 2014

Toledo Tough: Final Edition

If you would have asked me 11 months ago if I would be writing this post, I would have said absolutely not! However, in this world of college basketball, I have quickly learned that one must never say "absolutely not." Before marrying Jason, my father, a former professional football player, tried his best to consult me on the life that I was embarking on. One in which entails frequent moves and living in all parts of the country. Two years ago, when we were still engaged, I kind of shrugged off my dad's comments, seemingly thinking that Jason and I would not fall into that category of "frequent movers." Well, maybe I should have read all the articles he sent, asked a few more questions, and took those conversations more seriously!

Now, I am very proud of my husband and the 10 strong years he has spent in this business, and I knew when I signed that wedding certificate on August 11, 2012, that I was embarking on the roller coaster of being a coach's wife. But, I did not know I was buckling in the Kingda Ka !

In my final edition of "Toledo Tough" I must graciously thank a few of the amazing individuals that I have had the pleasure of befriending.

I have been really lucky to meet some awesome coach's wives with the two staffs that I have been a part of, thus far. I am so enthused that I will be rejoining Nicole Phillips and Emily Ryan who I knew well while at NDSU, and the ladies at Toledo did not fall short on amazingness.

First, I have to thank Julie Kowalczyk, wife of our head coach Tod Kowalczyk. She showed an energy and enthusiasm for making all of our families feel at home. Her kindness was evident from the time we left for our trip to Greece in early August.  She should definitely be complimented for consistently dressing Race and Rose to the tee at all Rocket games!  Most importantly, she has supported the wives and shown us togetherness, which made a great season of Rocket basketball even more enjoyable.  Such a sweet lady!

A lady I knew well, prior to even meeting in person was Allie Kalsow. I have spoken fondly of Allie in a previous post, but we bonded instantly especially since our husbands have been friends for like 12 years. Allie introduced me to Renegade, and we all know how much I love Renegade. Before she had to head off to her job as the Cleveland Cavaliers Sideline Reporter, yeah she is kind of important in the state of Ohio, we frequently went on runs around the city. She introduced me to the many parks and trails that Toledo is known for. She was my workout/running buddy while we vacationed in Greece. I have fondly lived through her as she beautifies and dresses for her job! Ok, so obviously I sometimes wish I had reasons to get all glammed-up on a more frequent basis!

My game-time BFF because of her crazy, in-game commentary is hands down the lovely Rebekah Bennet! It must have been interesting this season watching the two of us during games. Rebekah accurately yelling at the refs/players for various reasons, and me just yelling complete nonsense! Ha, gosh watching games was so much fun sitting next to Rebekah! I have been quite honest to my ignorance to the sport of basketball; Rebekah was my "ace boon koon" because she knew what she was yelling/talking about! Although we were both high school cheerleaders, she was obviously way better at following the game than I. Did I also mention that she has three of the most adorable boys around! She "allowed" me to get a little parenting practice, which I am forever thankful because I am predicting my doom luck of having only boys! Oh, and she is an educator, so many conversations were had about public education, students academic progress, etc. Overall, Rebekah was my buddy for education-related conversations as well as topics about Toledo Basketball!

And last but certainly not least is the beautiful, LaTisha (Tish) Carr, wife to Jordan Mincy! I knew the minute I met this DIVA, that we would have a connection! We first met after her late night flight into Toledo for her first visit which also happened to be my first visit as well. She was dead tired, but still rocking her Louis Vuitton and Gucci! The Kowalczyk's hosted a welcome BBQ, and somehow the ladies conversation was on beauty and fashion, and Tish's expertise in this area is insurmountable. Not only is Tish a beauty, but she is also a thoughtful, caring person. We both had a few emergency situations when the husbands were out of town, and it was very reassuring that we were both able to rely on each other for support. Being a coach's wife can be stressful and lonely, and knowing you have others to assist you in times of need is wonderful.

The coach's wives impacted my stay in Toledo, but I also must thank a few additional Toledo folk for their generosity and kindness.

First, to Ed and Janet Schofield who we were introduced to by the AD at NDSU, Gene Taylor. Who would have thought that we would have had a Fargo connection in Toledo, but one was waiting for us! Ed and Janet opened their home to Jason and I, invited us to various events, and have just been simply kind. Hoping I am able to see them and their children one last time before I head south!

I too need to thank Brian Jones, Associate Athletic Director for Sports Medicine, and his family. Brian welcomed Jason and I upon my arrival, and has just been awesome this entire year. And I have a special place in my heart for his daughter Avery. Her bedroom is purple (my favorite color) and she also loves pink. Uhm, she could be my daughter, and is adorable! Zach is pretty handsome too :)

I would be remiss if I did not thank Larry Burns, Vice President for External Affairs. Wow! I have been so impressed with him from his dress, to his personality, and to his commitment to the university. Larry has such an infectious personality; I am always glad when I see him. When I first moved to Toledo, he took me on a personal tour of the university. On that tour I was most impressed with the friendliness that he showed to all the students we passed while riding in the university golf cart. We would pass students, and he would great them, ask then how they were, and even knew many by name. I was completely taken aback, and hope that the students realize how fortunate they are. And of course there is his dress, which is dapper for all occasions. If you aware about the Toledo MBB Tie One On fundraiser for prostate cancer was the brainchild of Larry Burns! He wears bow ties on a daily basis, and I always look forward to his suit and dress shirt combinations!

Thank you all for all the Toledo memories!


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