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 (daughter/son) know what you do for a living?
Yes, three boys. They all think it’s pretty cool. Well, except the newborn. He still doesn’t even know what ice cream is, and I suppose that will be a priority for him before basketball or writing is.
What is the key to juggling fatherhood and your profession?
Prioritizing. I’m in a unique position in that I run my own website and am only required to work for FOX Sports as a broadcaster a few times a week. So I often make my own schedule. But when I was a beat writer, things were a lot different. Games are weekends, nights, holidays. So for me, it’s always been about making the absolute most of the time that you do have with the kids.
What’s the hardest part about being a dad?
Oh, man. They have so much more stuff than I had, obviously with technology. Monitoring all of it can be a chore, but you have to do it. That said, the most difficult thing, for me, has always been balancing being kids’ best friend, and being someone who is in charge of disciplining them and keeping them in line. That’s easier for my wife, she’s great at it. But I struggle with that aspect of parenting. I just want to be their big buddy most of the time.
What does quality time with your kids (daughter/son) away from “work” look like?
Well, the boys are obsessed with basketball, so we’re usually at a park or gym playing even when I’m not working. Aside from that, we have family movie nights, where we usually watch at home, but will sometimes go the theater. We all love eating out, too, and frequently do that as a family. Mostly, we just all hang out and relax and goof off for quality time.
Biggest word of advice you can give to first time dads in the business?
Again, make the most of the time you do have with the kids. I know the older boys can get bored and sick of me during the offseason when I’m always around. But, like, 80 percent of fatherhood is just showing up. Just be there for them, be focused on them and their needs when you are together. If you work in sports, you’ll miss enough of their stuff to be anything less than attentive during the times you spend with your kids.
What is your most embarrassing or funny public moment thus far as a parent?
Well, some guy wore a Speed-o at a crowded public pool and my son, who was 5 at the time, kept repeatedly screaming and pointing: “Hey, Dad! Look! That guy is only wearing underwear!” I mean, he was yelling at the top of his lungs. I had to dunk him in the water to keep him quiet. But every time he came backup, he’d yell it again. That said, it may have been more embarrassing for the guy in the Speed-o, I don’t really know?
What are some helpful tips to balancing Dad time and work time during the season?
A lot of it depends on your exact role in sports. But whether you’re a coach, writer, webmaster, broadcaster… it’s all pretty much the same. You work odd hours, and most humans also need to work in eating and sleeping. But if all you get is an hour a week with your kids during the season, use that hour to focus on them. Don’t look at your phone, Twitter, etc. That stuff is fleeting. Time with your children is a memory you both will have forever.
How are you like your Dad?
Oh, I’m totally a big softie, just like he was. On the bright side, when I get mad, the kids know it’s no joke. If you make ME mad, you KNOW you’re doing something wrong. My dad was the same way.
Bonus Question…If you could be in an all-time NBA starting 5…who would be the 4 players surrounding you?
In no order: Larry Bird, LeBron James, Bill Russell, Dennis Johnson. With that lineup, I could just stand on the perimeter and shoot. Russell and DJ would handle the defense, and Bird and LeBron would set me up. Please let this happen in heaven.
About Sam Amico
Along with running his website amicohoops.net as a full-time job, Amico serves as an NBA insider for FOX Sports Ohio. He co-hosts the weekly Cavaliers in the Paint show (with Jeff Phelps), and makes regular guest appearances on FSO’s other basketball programming.
He is the author of three books and his coverage of the NBA has appeared on ESPN, CNN and HoopsHype, as well as USA Today, the Boston Herald, the New York Post and many other news outlets. He currently covers the NBA D-League for Eurobasket.com.
Amico lives in Medina, Ohio, with his wife, Katie, and their three sons.