Football coaches often change jobs. Sometimes it is out of necessity, and sometimes a better opportunity presents itself. Whatever the case may be, it is easy to imagine coaches showing up in Tucson one day and Madison the next. The reality, though, is very different.
Joanne Thomson, in a recent interview with Heart for the Game, talked about her experiences moving with her husband, current New Mexico Highlands strength coach Ron Thomson. The two have been married for over thirty years, meeting at a Merrill Lynch beach party in Galveston, Texas.
“He’ll tell you the story and say he saved my life,” she said with a laugh. She tells it differently: “I got a Portuguese man-o-war wrapped around my arm,” and he dragged her out of the water. They were married within a year.
They moved often. As a family, they have called ten cities home. From Galveston, they “moved to Dallas, where he was at SMU. Then we went to Wyoming. Then we went to Northern Colorado. West Virginia. Idaho. Alabama. Indiana. Wisconsin. And New Mexico.”
Joanne would joke about this number, saying that each move was like “we were going on vacation with everything that we owned.” And, she found, that comes with both the good and the bad.
First, the good: “Every place that you go you get to meet different people. … When you meet people, you learn things from them, you get things from them, and you leave something of yourself with them when you leave. You take them with you.”
But, then, the bad: “I went through a period where I didn’t get involved with people because I didn’t want to get hurt when we moved. I just had to let that go, because you invest yourself in a place, you become part of that place, you learn as much as you can, you make friends, you make real good friends sometimes, and sometimes you have to say goodbye to them, and that’s hard.”
Ultimately, though, it is the relationships that count, the ones that are made. “You can leave your mark on each place, hopefully in a good way.”
After all, “it’s what separates it from just camping, though.”