I’m usually introduced as Casey’s wife. I’m also known as Cash’s, Guy’s, Ray’s, and Blake’s Mom.
I’m Lexi Patterson.
Casey and I met at Brigham Young University in our Food Science Nutrition Class. I approached him and asked him if he wanted to be in our group for a class project. I was on the women’s volleyball team and he was on the men’s volleyball team. We were friends for a couple of years before we actually started dating. It took a game of ‘Spin The Bottle’ to take our friendship to the next level.
I can’t wait to tell my kids that some day.
Casey told me he wanted to be a professional beach volleyball player when we were dating. I was fully supportive. It was his passion and his dream, and I wanted him to reach for the stars. We got married our senior year of college. After graduating, we played one year of professional volleyball together in Sweden. We moved to California when we were done playing to give Casey the chance to pursue his beach career. I gave up volleyball to work and support us financially. I was ready to move on from playing because I wanted to be a Mom more than anything.
14 years and 4 kids later and here we are.
People always ask me, “How do you do it with him being gone so much?” I never really know how to answer that question. My response is usually, “We’re used to it now.” Behind the scenes, it’s never easy. It’s 5 PM and everyone is melting down and wants my attention or help. Casey to the rescue. He FaceTimes in from Poland and keeps the kids entertained on the phone, so I can finish making dinner. It’s not ideal. But it keeps him involved and present for our family. Even when Casey is in town, he has commitments to his craft that take him away from home. He wakes up at 5 AM four days a week and commutes over an hour one way to Hermosa Beach to train. Followed by lifting, therapy, meetings, coaching, phone calls, and hustling to provide for our family.
When he’s done, he comes home exhausted.
Dinner, bedtime, repeat.
When he leaves town, we’re lucky if it’s only one week at a time. Most often it’s longer. I have to be both Mom and Dad for every practice, game, dance recital, and milestone. There have been so many firsts with our kids that he’s missed. A photo or FaceTime session seem to help ease the pain of his absence. For now, I’m doing my best to help our kids understand that Casey wishes he was here with us all the time and that he’s working hard for us. We need to be grateful that he gets to do what he loves because he won’t be able to do it forever.
I think coming home to us in between work trips helps Casey realize what he’s fighting for. It reminds him why he is on the road so often. He can get consumed with the grind when he’s gone. It always takes him a day ortwo to snap out of it and get his timezone figured out. But when he emerges from the pain of loss or the tunnel vision from battling through a long day of travel, he sees the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re
always here for him. Waiting for him to return. Excited to see him and hear about his travels. Ready with excited shouts and joyous giggles that Daddy has come home!
We go on dates every chance we get. When it’s just the two of us, we get back to the core of who we are as husband and wife. I love spending alone-time with Casey and remembering why I fell in love with him in the first place. After 14 years of marriage, I’m astonished by how deeply I love him and how easy our relationship is. When you take away the worries and stresses of life, and you have an enduring love and friendship that shines through, you can weather any storm together.
Now, it’s the weekend of the AVP Hermosa Beach Open.
When I watch Casey play, I’m either a ball of nerves, or I’m too preoccupied with the kids to be nervous. I usually get to watch about half of the match, if I’m lucky. Casey and Chase make it to the Finals and all of the hard work of the weekend was worth it. I’m so happy we’re here to support him. As a former player, I know the highs and lows of the game — the ins and outs. When I watch Casey play, it’s like I’m out there experiencing everything with him. I take it personally when he’s out there. He’s a part of me. A reflection of our family.
When Casey and Chase win the Hermosa Beach Open, I have tears in my eyes. Sometimes all of that hard work and sacrifice does pay off. And when it does, it’s the best feeling in the world — a manifestation of everything you’re fighting for, and it’s beautiful. We are always grateful for those rare glimpses of the payoff. Unfortunately this isn’t the NBA, the NFL, or the MLB. In those leagues, a professional athlete who just won a major event would walk away with enough money to buy a house or at least cover a year’s salary. Instead, Casey has worked himself sick and our family has sacrificed for months for just over two months’ rent on our house. That’s our reality.
He’s not doing this because it’s lucrative. He’s doing it because it’s his passion.
He loves playing beach volleyball with his whole heart. After all this time and all the ups and downs, he would still rather compete in the sport that takes more than it gives over anything else in the world. And in the end, I’m ok with it too. I love how happy it makes him. He has found his calling. And I want him to do it for as long as he can.
It’s hard. The beach lifestyle is really hard on a family. But it has also given us a family.