Harbaugh Wives Give the 'Skinny' on a Tumultuous Season
By: The Football Girl | Posted: February 02, 2012
‘I love you. I’m going to court you and I’m going to marry you.’ These were the words from then University of San Diego head coach Jim Harbaugh to his future wife, Sarah, on their very first date.
The brief courtship period started with Harbaugh sitting alone at a Las Vegas P.F Changs bar when he noticed Sarah walking past him.
“He immediately followed me to my car and asked if we could ‘meet up’ sometime,” Sarah recalled. “I thought it was odd. Who talks like that? Then he asked for my number, which I gave to him even though I didn’t want to go out with him.” Harbaugh called Sarah nine times that night. She ignored him with the notion of strategically calling during practice the next day, getting his voicemail and politely telling his machine it just wasn’t meant to be.
But her plan was foiled when Harbaugh surprisingly stopped practice and answered the phone. Even though Sarah stuck to her guns and began the call with a “You live in San Diego, I live in Vegas, so I just don’t think it will work out” blow-off, it took him under three minutes to convince her to grab lunch with him. Six months later, Harbaugh proposed in that same P.F. Changs parking lot.
This week in Indianapolis Sarah is teaming up with Ingrid Harbaugh, who has been married to Ravens head coach John Harbaugh for over twenty years, to get the word out about a special initiative with Skinny Cow, the low-calorie dessert company. With Ingrid and Sarah’s input, Skinny Cow has designed 25 one-of-a-kind Limited Edition Skinny Cow Candy Bowls. They are being auctioned off on eBay through February 5th with all proceeds being donated to CureSearch for Children’s Cancer. The Harbaugh wives suggest Skinny Cow’s new Dreamy Clusters and Heavenly Crisp candy as a nice Super Bowl party addition, even though their 120 calories-a-piece healthiness doesn’t fall in line with the traditional mass consumption that will ensue Sunday.
“Just like a real game, your party has to have a game plan,” Ingrid said. “Women particularly love chocolate so these make for a great fourth-quarter treat.”
Sarah Harbaugh (left) and Ingrid Harbaugh for Skinny Cow. (Photo credit: Taylor Communications)
While representing a dessert company is sweet for the wives now, this has been a particularly fascinating and intense football year for the Harbaugh families. First was Jim being hired by the 49ers last January. In an instant the public definition of “The Harbaughs” shifted from “John and Ingrid” to “John and Jim,” which Ingrid actually believes has benefitted her husband.
“It’s funny because John is fifteen months older than Jim, but when he was coaching in college he was always just the long lost brother of Jim’s,” Ingrid said. “I’m so proud of Jim and everything he has done but it’s nice to see John get some recognition as well. Jim even told John ‘yeah, people think I’m JOHN Harbaugh,’ and I just laugh because it had never been like that for 28 years in this profession.“
Then the Thanksgiving “Har-bowl” brought a special spotlight on the families. It was an especially stressful time for Ingrid, who had to juggle the game with planning a 50th anniversary party for Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, John and Jim’s parents. For Sarah and Ingrid, there were no fun side bets, just mutual support.
Two brothers coaching in the same game was historic and deserving of the hoopla, but was nothing like two brothers both coaching on Championship weekend. So how are the Harbaugh families faring after, you know, two of the most heartbreaking losses in NFL history?
According to Ingrid, “John’s still getting over it. I mean it’s not like a death or anything. But you hear the media critiquing and criticizing and they don’t really know what’s going on. It’s hard. But the best teams won and I wish them both good luck,” she said.
Sarah tried the power of positive reinforcement with Jim after the 49ers defeat. But he didn’t want to hear it.
She says that even though Jim often still drifts into what she likes to call “Football Land,” he is finally over the loss. “He recently stopped waking up screaming in the middle of the night,” she jokingly added.
Ingrid and Sarah pride themselves in the comfort they have provided their husbands, especially in the last two weeks. When asked them to name one quality they pass on, Ingrid said “poise” and Sarah said “calm.”
After a year filled with so many peaks and valleys you can imagine these women could use a vacation.
John Harbaugh has tinkered with his coaches’ schedule between now and the NFL combine so his family can spend a long weekend at Disney, as well as attend the NFL owners’ meetings.
As for the other Harbaugh, “Jim doesn’t like to vacation, believe it or not,” Sarah said. “But I’m trying. I need to get out of the house.”
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