You are a basketball play-by-play broadcaster. You’re married and you have at least one child who would love nothing more than for you to be at home to play with tonight. The team for which you are broadcasting is playing on the road in a post-season tournament. Lose and you go home. Win, and you are spending another night in a Holiday Inn.
Your team won. What do you hear in your child’s voice when you tell him you aren’t coming home for at least another day?
Sports broadcasting can be an incredible and fulfilling career. Like anything, though, there are challenges. Days, or even weeks, away from family are difficult. Feeling like your spouse might think you aren’t pulling your weight around the house, or with the kids, can strain a marriage.
What are you doing to cope?
The premise of this post comes from experiences shared with me by a friend who is the voice of an NCAA university. They were similar to comments I have heard from other sportscasters. My friend also shared some of the strategies that have kept his household happy for many years.
Here are six tips for maintaining a happy sportscasting home:
1. Establish a pre-road trip ritual
Before leaving for an extended trip, do your family’s laundry and make sure the dishes are caught-up. Take those tasks off your spouse’s plate so they can just parent while you are away and not have those menial tasks hanging over their head. Plus, Dr. Laura Schlessinger says nothing makes a man more attractive to his wife than easing her burden. (Hey babe – where’s the dish towel?!?!)
2. Establish a return ritual
Agree with your spouse that, upon returning from a road trip, they will give you a morning to veg out – play with the kids, relax, sleep late – whatever you want and need to ease back into home life.
Your spouse and kids sacrifice considerably in their loving support of you. Pay them back by giving them your time and undivided attention, even when you are tired.
4. Date night
Make time for your significant other. Date nights are valuable to all couples – even more so when one half of the couple is often away.
5. Unwind together
Find things to do with your significant other – running, puzzles, movies, board games. It doesn’t matter what, just so long as it’s something.
6. Bring ’em along
Invite your family to accompany you on a road trip. Some athletic directors will allow an entire family on the charter to bowl games. Others will allow you to take a child to one road game per season. If that isn’t the case, bring your family along at your expense once-a-year. (Be smart about where you invite them. The roadie to San Diego State is better than the one to Iowa State).
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I would love to read your suggestions for keeping your sportscasting home a happy one. Please share your advice in the comments sections below. I promise I will read and respond to each of them.