It was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make.
As a team captain, I left my team with two months remaining in the season.
I took pride in showing up everyday, giving my best effort, and being a great teammate, but in March of 2017, I told my team I was done for the season. We packed our bags and went home.
Some background… My wife and I spent the majority of the previous year in the hospital. She had a high-risk twin pregnancy in which she was hospitalized weekly for her first trimester…My team won the French Championship that June, but there was no celebration or flying home to the States in the offseason. By the end of Theresa’s second trimester, she was then on strict bedrest in the hospital where I slept on a cot next to her for the rest of the Summer.
Andrew and Malachi were born on August 5th, 2016. They arrived about 7 weeks premature and at just over four pounds each. Theresa checked out of the hospital ten days after birthing the boys. She drove herself back to our apartment in Lyon, France to the welcome of…nobody.
No babies — they would be in the NICU the next 2 months.
No extended family — we told them not to visit because they weren’t allowed in the NICU.
No husband — I was away at training camp…major fail on my part 🤦🏻♂️! Let’s just say hindsight is 20-20 on my decision to go to camp.
Nearly two months after birth, Andrew was released from the hospital. The next day I left for a road game. My season had just begun, and I would be gone weekly for the next five months. We were playing in two competitions, our domestic league in France and an international league throughout Europe.
Fresh off a year spent largely in the hospital, we were first time parents trying to keep two little humans alive. With very little help. In a foreign country. And a father (me!) who was gone a lot. It became too much, and it became clear — the best thing for us was to go home.
Professional basketball overseas may have been working for me, but it wasn’t working for our family. Some may have handled it differently or possibly better — but the most important thing for us was that we made a decision to go home and that we did so together.
Sometimes the best decisions don’t make career sense. Sometimes the best decisions don’t benefit the bottom line.
About 5 months later, I decided I wanted to play again — but it had to work for everyone. Our boys had just turned one. Theresa and I had our heads above water. I told my agent I’d only go to a team playing in one competition (far less travel). The season had already started, but I got picked up by another French team at the end of October.
One of the most special moments in my life came during the first game my family was able to attend. I always looked for Theresa in the crowd before games, but I couldn’t find her that game. Midway through the first half, I spotted her with our double-wide stroller.
I was playing great. My team was crushing one of the top teams in our league. But neither the scoreboard nor the box score mattered. What mattered was that my family was there. No matter the outcome of the game, we were winning as a family. Hopefully my tears were disguised as sweat! 😅
Here’s what I learned: If a personal win isn’t a win for my family, then I lose. If my success isn’t success for my family, then it’s a failure.
I don’t want to just accomplish something. I want the people I care about the most to be as much a part of it as they possibly can. I don’t want to just celebrate with them after either. I want to go up the mountain together.
Blessings to you and your family as you pursue your goals!
- I didn’t leave my team out to dry when I left. They had a replacement in before our flight out of town. Believe me – in basketball, there’s always another guy willing, ready, and likely more talented to fill your position.
- When Theresa checked herself out of the hospital, she didn’t know where she was. She arrived 10 days earlier in an ambulance (another story) and had never been to that area of the city before.
- Average sleep with twins: Theresa ≈ 3-4 hours per night. Trent ≈ 5 hours per night. Trent on a road trip ≈ 12 hours per night. Except for that time I got sick and slept 18/24 hours.
- We’re thankful for the great care from the French nurses and doctors. Although, the operating bed is not the place you want to second-guess the translation!
- Athletics are incredible, but most of us only see what happens under the bright lights. Families behind the players and coaches sacrifice much. Salute!