One of our favorite parts about working around and in professional sports for now a combined 20-years is the wide range of people you meet at games, workouts, in the gym or on the field…especially the guys who balance both “work” with fatherhood. Talking sports and the ups and downs about being a dad at the same time really doesn’t get much better, so that’s why — from sports writers, to players, stay-at-home dads, coaches, the divorced-dad, announcers, bring-to-practice-and-the-game dad, authors, the janitor and the GM’s, sports brands and sports business bros — we are rolling out this Sports Dad Series to help share those stories on the Same 8 Questions about juggling sports and fatherhood. Our hope — words of wisdom for new dads, veteran dads and the dads in pro sports to keep family first (right after you check the score of the game). Thanks for reading and make sure to stay connected with us on social (Twitter – Instagram – Facebook). – Wendell Maxey and Gino Pilato
Do your kids know what you do for a living?
Yes sir! My wife and kids are very much involved in athletics, so I think they enjoy my job as much as I do. They’ve had me come in to talk to their classes on career day. I always have enjoyed that. Love sharing my experiences with people. My son is so chill and laid back, I think his friends think what I do is cooler than he does to tell you the truth!
What is the key to juggling fatherhood and your profession?
Thats a tough one man. Nothing more important to me than my family. With what I do for a living, there is some serious travel going on. I’d like to say it has gotten easier or you get used to it, but I can’t. The older the kids have gotten, the more involved they are with sports and other activities. You really have to get used to missing some pretty cool experiences with them. I think it really makes the time you DO spend with them that much sweeter. I’ve gotten to a point where I can start saying no to some work and not have it affect me too much. Starting to do that more often now in the summer and fall so I can spend some quality time with the family. I must say that, there is no way this whole thing be possible without a strong woman standing behind me. My wife Leah is my rock. Sounds kind of cliche’, but she keeps every aspect of my life on track. When I start to think about how beat I am on a long road trip, I just remember her holding things down back home.
What’s the hardest part about being a dad?
Being tough. Being a parent and not trying to be their friend. I have an 11 year old daughter Olivia and a 15-year old son Miles. Having those tough talks that you never look forward to, but are necessary to get them ready for the real world. They know I will always have their back, but I remind them I’m not there to be buddies with them, but to prepare them for life.
What does quality time with your kids away from work look like?
You know, nothing too special. They both play sports year round. Olivia, she’s the soccer queen. 12 months a year she’s out there bringing it just like her mom. Miles does it all. Football/Hoops/Baseball. So it’s safe to say we spend a lot of time watching them out on the field giving it their all. I love it! We do enjoy family getaways to the coast. We love the beach out here!
Biggest word of advice you can give to first time dads in the business?
If they are freelance like myself it’s tough. If you’re just starting out you have to take everything that comes your way work wise in order to succeed. Everybody out there knows just how fast it goes when it comes to your children. Like myself, be prepared to miss some birthdays and holidays, but be sure to put some special time aside for them. I have to remind myself what all this grinding is for, it’s for them.
What is your most embarrassing moment thus far as a parent?
You know, it wasn’t anything my kids did, but more how I acted. I can think of a couple instances where I could of handled myself a bit better when they were acting up. They were just being kids. I take that back. The first time my son got crossed over on the basketball court. That never happened to me as a kid! #BrokenAnkles
What are some helpful tips to balancing Dad time and work time during the season?
There’s no tricks involved, you just have to do it! If you make plans with the family, you have to keep ‘em! Some work may pop up, but you just have to say no. My kids know I won’t be there for some events, but if I tell them I’m going to be there, I’m going to keep my word! That said, you still gotta’ pay those bills! You have to make sure they understand you are putting in those hours for a reason. Balance!
Bonus: What is your favorite pair of kicks you own?
There are some questions that there is no correct answer to……..and this is one of them!
How dare you ask such a personal question! I’d rather pick a favorite child than make me choose only ONE pair of kicks!
About John Lukrofka
A proud alum of Grant High School and representing Northeast Portland, John Lukrofka currently serves as EVS Operator for Portland Trail Blazers Broadcasting and also works with HBO Sports and the Golf Channel. You can follow John on Twitter at @bigjohnNEP, where he regularly comments on hoops, hip-hop and the shoe game.