Meet Charlene Sumlin, wife of Kevin Sumlin, Head Coach at Texas A & M University. Charlene’s motto is , “Bloom where you are planted.” She makes the decision to find blessings wherever they are and reminds us, “God truly is good, and to him goes the glory.” We have each been given a gift to be involved in football.
What are you looking forward to this college football season? “Gamedays are like holidays for football families! For us, most home games means we have company in town. I love seeing our parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends etc in maroon and white! I love having everyone working together in the kitchen to prepare for tailgates and post-game snacking. I love hearing College Game Day in the background (although I cannot watch…see the “superstitions” question). The business in my home is truly joyful. I love packing up and driving to Midnight Yell the night before. I love seeing my team in uniform, so focused and ready to do battle. I love watching my husband do what he loves. And I LOVE being at Kyle Field; the fans swaying, the Yells, the 12th Man, the towels waving, the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, the touchdown kissing….It’s kind of hard to not look forward to football season at Texas A&M.”
Your passion: “My first passion is my family. We have four really neat kids…and they are so much fun. I also love to read, cook, shop, create…I wish my passions were things like running, crossfit, and paleo diet etc, but right now they seem to be things that don’t burn many calories. Truly though, I enjoy time with my friends and my family. And as my children are getting older, I realize time is going fast and I try to hold on to these moments of being a mommy.”
Latest book you have read: “I just completed a book called The Spark by Kristine Barnett. It is a beautiful, raw, emotional memoir that details Mrs. Barnett’s journey through the diagnosis and care of her autistic son. She is a remarkable lady who truly trusts her mother’s intuition. Her tenacity helped her son break through so many boundaries that nobody, other than her, believed possible. I think it a beautiful story for ANY caregiver to read; For those entrusted with children who have special needs and even those who do not. She reminds us that EVERY child is born with a gift and it is our job to help them discover it.”
A time that definitely changed you as a person: “My first move away from my family. While at the time it was scary, the challenge of establishing MY own little family, in a new, unfamiliar place helped me grow in ways I didn’t even think I needed. I was forced to put myself out there; make friends, navigate a new town and learn to raise a family without the support network I had close to my parents. Moving strengthened my faith as well. I have such an appreciation for every move. I have grown because of each and every one. But in all honesty, I hope that I am done with moving!”
The first thing you do in the morning: “I attempt to get my mood in check. I have noticed my children take my mood on so I try to be cognizant of this.”
Three wishes: “My first would be to see my kids as grown-ups and know they are happy and healthy. My second would be for everyone to think before they speak, or write, or type. We need accountability within social media and online journalism…the untruths and hurtful things people say are just shameful. Lastly, I would wish for the gift of enjoying the moment…without the worry of what’s to come.”
Game Day Superstitions: “I am not really sure about Kevin but the one thing he does do during the season is chew gum. I don’t notice it during the off-season. I do, unfortunately, have game day superstitions. I start each game in the same seat by the same people. If I wear something and things don’t work the right way, it won’t make a re-appearance. I do not read or watch any coverage of our games…no Game Day, no radio, no blogs…nothing. My superstitions have changed over the course of his career, but there has always been something.”
Walk us through “college football Saturday”: “We start with the little boy’s football games which often get very close to our Aggie game times so I am often a bit of a mess (thank God for those visitors who I often delegate jobs to!). When we return, we quickly get ready, pack up and head to tailgate. Our staff tailgates together on our practice fields and sometimes in the indoor facility to escape the heat. The kids have so much fun. One of my favorite parts of the day is watching them form these fun memories. We typically walk in as a group before kick-off. I stay through the first half and then try to say hello to folks during half-time. After games, I like to stay and watch the taping of Kevin’s post game show. Then we go home, and crash on the couch….watch lots of highlights and later games and eat! It is fun for all of our family and friends to get to visit with Kevin because typically this is the first chance they get to see him.”
Your game day fashion: “I love, love, love getting dressed up for games! I am always in heels. I enjoy wearing the school colors and have been really fortunate because last year, maroon was the “new black”. I enjoy shopping at little boutiques, online (shopbop is great) and larger department stores like Nordstrom. I am fortunate to have a style savvy friend who puts beautiful game day portfolios together for me as well. You can’t go wrong with a personal stylist! My personal favorite is Julia Browning with JA Runway.”
Motto you live by: “’Bloom where you are planted.’ This is so important; especially in our profession. We get to make the decision to find the blessings wherever we are. And there is not a football town that doesn’t have something special to offer. Home is wherever we are.”
Favorite thing about being a college football coach’s wife: “It is definitely the people. Without our football life, there is no way I would have had opportunity to meet all the individuals that I have. My family is so extended… from players to other coaches to neighbors we have met and stayed in touch with…our circle just keeps expanding, and it is really special.
I want to close the interview with a reminder that God truly is good, and to Him goes the glory. We are each given such a gift to be involved in football. And I hope, above all else, I convey my gratefulness for this amazing blessing. I know sometimes it easy for that blessing to be over-shadowed by the massive responsibility of raising our kids without the help we would like, the pressures of winning games and the negativity that can sometimes creep in, but being married to a coach, and raising kids and having a big football family is truly a blessing.”