Saturday, April 24, 2010

When a Husband Hits a Slump

By Nicole Johnson, Wife to Elliot Johnson

The first year I was married to Elliot was his first year in AAA.  My experience with his baseball before this year had mainly been his last season in AA (2006) which he rocked.  2007 was a little different.  We both faced many transitions that year.

Elliot faced the transition to AAA, and it was tough.  This was his first year being on the 40 man roster, and after being the Montgomery Player of the Year in 2006, there were high expectations for him.  He came into the season expecting to play as well as he had the season before, but was kind of let down.  It was hard on him to struggle like that, because as far as I can tell, he hadn't really struggled at baseball like that ever in his life.  He also faced the transition into being married.  It was completely different than any other season because he had someone else to worry about.  The past year, when we were engaged, I stayed in Arizona to finish school while he went away for the season.  It had been seriously different because I had my own life back in Arizona.

I faced the transition into baseball life.  I had graduated from college the previous summer, and was gung-ho on getting into a career and found the move to Raleigh to be very hard.  I was away from friends, I was away from family, and half the time, I was away from the only person in the city I really knew because my husband had to travel with the team.  We didn't have money for me to travel, and I remember a couple trips that literally lasted 2 weeks.  That's a long time to be apart when you're trying to start a marriage.

On top of all this, Elliot slumped, pretty much all season long.  It made everything so much worse.  He was constantly being asked what happened to his hitting, and was constantly being told "It's just a game."  I will tell you from what I've seen, that baseball is NOT just a game to these players.  It is their career, and it is how they support their family, and when they slump, they freak.  They freak because every man wants to be able to take care of his family, and they get worried when things aren't going right.  Plus, when their numbers start to go down, everyone  is calling them, trying to figure out what is wrong.

As a wife, I had no idea how to handle this at all.  Nowadays, I know my husband much better than I knew him back then, and how I handle these things is way different than I used to.  I was insecure, and trying to figure out marriage, and I didn't understand why on earth my husband wouldn't want to talk to me when he got home, and why he was acting so mean.  I hated baseball for what it was doing to us, and I hated that it seemed that a lot of the same people who said I positively effected his career in 06 were saying I was negatively effecting it in 07.

We fought a lot, and figured out each other and how this baseball thing was going to work on our own.  The hardest part of this lifestyle is figuring out what works best for you.  Many people (everyone) will have opinions on what is the best way to do things all season, but really it comes down to the choices each couple makes for themselves.  Once we learned how things worked best for us, and stopped worrying about everyone else's opinions, things started to go a lot more smoothly.

It was a hard season.  I think making it through that season made us stronger, but it was a long tough road, and I wouldn't wish it on any other couple.  He slumped for most of that season, and it was hard to see, and hard to deal with.  Baseball isn't all fun all the time.  It's ups and downs, and it's hard, but it's worth it.  While that was a tough year, it was probably the toughest we'll have to go through.  If you aren't faced with challenges, both on and off the field, you'll never become stronger.

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5 comments:

  1. I'm finding it fascinating to see baseball from a different vantage-point... that of the baseball wives. Thanks for the unique perspective each of you shares with those who love the game and the players for very different reasons and in very different ways.

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  2. Hi There, I followed a link from the "Meetup Monday" on "Just Another Manic Momday" and I have to say reading these entries have been fascinating. My husband is in IT, so you guys obviously live a WAY different life than me. I'm hitting the subscribe button so I can follow you all.

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  4. very interesting article! I will follow your themes.
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